The Isle is a remote fishing ground where people go to forget their deepest problems. It’s an unearthly locale crouched in awe-inducing early-morning light. The lodgings are a series of small huts floating on an isolated lake and managed by Hee-Jin, a mute woman who lives alone…
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Enigmatic, otherworldly, at times cruel, but ultimately strikingly human. Two profoundly damaged people find communion in brutal acts of self-destruction. There is, however, a marked tenderness to their relationship that carries this film out of the mire of violence and brings us someplace strange and elemental and intensely beautiful.
A precise and perverse purpose is at play in this film that established Kim Ki-duk as a new 'enfant terrible' in the early millennium. The film is full of staggering beauty yet coupled with extreme violence and overt sexuality in its tale of broken souls, isolation and shared pain. Yet it is a love story...and a powerful one at that. Not for all tastes but the rewards are evident.
Absolutely stunning stuff, this is my kind of horror. Loaded with tragedy and symbolism, this one is a goldmine for movie buffs - there's enough substance in both of The Isle's ever silent protagonists and the stunning cinematography to keep this one etched in the memory for quite some time to come. Amongst auteurs of the Far East, very few are in Kim Ki Duk's league to be honest.
There is an odd blend of serenity and poetry juxtaposed with a violence and dark sexuality that makes for a deeply compelling watch. Only now in doing some reading the directors personal complications make this a quite unsettling and conflicting watch.