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Askew Review 15

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THE ISLE (First Run Features) 2001. Drama. 89 minutes. Korean with English Subtitles. Not Rated, violence, nudity. Hee-Jin, a hot Korean woman, lives on a secluded lake selling coffee and worms to the tenants of her floating cabins on the water during the day, and her body by night. Taking refuge in one of these cabins is Hyun-Shuk, a depressed and suicidal cop on the run. Finding herself extremely attracted to Hyun, Hee-Jin soon becomes jealous after a prostitute visits Hyun a number of times. Eventually, all these negatives merge and, well, bad things happen.
Director Kim Ki-Duk does a masterful job of injecting human ugliness into the idyllic surroundings of a beautiful lake. The setting of The Isle is soothing and calming, but the ugly side of human nature twists that atmosphere into sheer nastiness. Since, the main character doesn’t so much as squeak a single word, the dialog is minimal with the subtitles far and few in between. Since all of the female characters are either crazy or prostitutes and are the recipients of several smacks, misogynists will certainly get all worked up while viewing The Isle. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the females for their complex character..and hottiness! And boy-oh-boy, trust me when I write that I shall never look at a fish hook the same way ever again. Along with NOW members being thoroughly disgusted with the portrayal of women in this movie, I trust that members of PETA will be just as disgusted with the few shots of animal butchering.  Chop chop. DVD extras include interviews with the director and actors, making of featurette, and a music video. Lots of cool stuff going on here, check it out. – Denis Sheehan



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