Behind the smiles and the frowns, the sadness and the joy in tears, is an emotion that no words could ever explain. Done with the ordinary days, for love could turn a normal world, upside down. Kim ki-duk’s 3-iron gave a hard grip onto reality and dream’s transportation tunnel, which made the viewers left hanging in space and shout their emotions in silence. A true sample of knowing the rules and breaking it, for the ‘absurdism’ of the film made it more explicit and one of a kind.
A homeless young man (Hyun-kyoon Lee) breaks into empty houses and lives there until the owner arrives. He sleeps, eats and even repairs broken things in return for the owner’s unknown hospitality. His life became more serious when he met a woman (Seung-yeon Lee) who is ready to leave his abusive husband and live a ‘quiet’ life. Struggles hurdled their way until they were unexpectedly, silently falling in love, and this made an avenue for noise in their soundless relationship.
Crossing between the norms of reality and dreams, the screenplay made it unable for the viewers to identify which is which. Therefore, it leaves to the audience whether it was a happy ending or not. Also, script was not visible, making it more challenging to understand; and since emotions can speak far from what words can say, it is truly an effective strategy to capture one’s heart. The film was not just understood, it was felt.
Simple shots were made, giving importance to the character’s emotions. The close-up shots of every sentiments, may it be the face or the gestures, made it possible for the audience to understand every situation in the film. The setting was just a simple place in Korea, which suggests a simple living for the young man. The title 3-iron gives a lot of indications in the film; in the field of golf playing, 3-iron is the hardest club to use, which gives the idea that life is like playing a golf using the 3-iron, it may be hard, it may be impossible to win by using it, but holding on to what you have, makes it possible to win the game of life. Sometimes, sudden stop is necessary, but holding on to the unspoken promises gave him the strength to continue. Also, the young man breaks into houses and repairs things seems to implicate an idea that his life was not better, and repairing these things represents his want of fixing his life, but was not given a chance. Lastly, the zero in the weighing scale was a very surprising element, the zero that shapes like a circle portrays that love has no beginning or end, it just happens and you’ll never know when it will stop. And in mathematical equations, zero is neutral. For in love, you’ll not know when you are right and when you are wrong.
Suggesting a ‘life less serious’ by the young man’s smiling face despite the challenges that was thrown to him, was a good idea of taking the positive sides in the midst of all the negative happenings. His stay in jail made it even possible for him to train himself just to be with the one he’s fighting for, and it is certainly worth it.
Polishing this all, 3-iron was able to express the emotions that it wanted to convey more than the words that it can express. For above all, life is not just about playing the game, it is about winning something, may it be a dream or a reality.
It may be hard to tell whether our world that we live in is a reality or dream, but what important is, we seek, we find, and we smile.