New York Times - 08/23/2002
"...On the social plain, the movie is a surreal evocation of the Darwinian struggle for dominance within South Korea's lower class..."
Uncut - 10/01/2004
"The film shimmers on the surface -- it's as visually pleasing as SPRING, SUMMER..."
The eerily beautiful photography and melodic musical score of THE ISLE stand in odd contrast to the brutal horror story it tells. On the serene surface of a secluded bay float a series of candy-colored fishing houses, rented to men who seek an escape. The owner and operator of the village is a mute woman with a row boat who delivers her guests to their floating rooms, and sells them bait, food, coffee, prostitutes, and occasionally her own body. The men mistreat her, and her wounded spirit haunts the lake. At first subtle and secretive, but increasingly more bold and direct, the mute woman enacts unexpected violence upon the men. For example, when one client is leaning out over the dock to defecate into the lake, she swims up behind him, pulls him under the water, and stabs him. The blurred, partially submerged camerawork suggests that the woman is disembodied while committing these acts, as if unrealized hatred is surfacing within her to inspire her actions. Real trouble arrives in the form of a man who is hiding out from the law. He rents the yellow fishing house closest to shore and contemplates suicide. A sadomasochistic chemistry develops between this unhappy man and the mute woman and their relationship facilitates a series of extremely violent sex and mutilation scenes which ultimately bring THE ISLE to its disturbing conclusion.
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