A male protagonist who did not speak a single word but gave me the chills. A movie which was not a horror story but felt ghostly.
I watched 3-Iron (2004) with my mouth open, transfixed but not enthralled. In some scenes my hair stood on end. Events on the screen, each more surreal than the one before it… Was I dreaming them? Things are upside down or turned around… You feel a sense of violation and intrusion, and yet you can’t stop watching. 3-Iron reminds me thus of Oasis. Fascination and revulsion in equal measure.
Take the intrusion aspects, for example. From a shabby tenement to a grand mansion, it’s interesting the types of houses that Tae-suk (Jae-hee) breaks into. In one apartment you can’t even tell you’re in Korea, it looks so American. Of all the houses, the one that gives him and Sun-hwa (Lee Seung-yeon) the most emotional comfort is a traditional Korean house with its old-world furniture. This is the house that she returns to a second time, by herself. And even though what she does is so odd (lying down on the sofa to sleep in the presence of the male houseowner), yet somehow it feels right.
The houseowners (the most loving couple in the film) leave her alone, and that gesture of acceptance and hospitality speaks volumes. In this world where Tae-suk and Sun-hwa are alienated and floating around like ghosts, here is a place that they can return to for rest and refuge. Yet the reality is that it is not their home and they are still trespassing. Everything is still a farce, frighteningly so. When will it all come crashing down?