This is so eccentric, it might have been charming. Actually, it is charming in a completely batty way, but eventually becomes absurd and lets go of that thread of sympathy that joins romance to probability.

Sun-hwa (Lee Seung-yeon) rides a flash motorbike and spends his leisure time - he doesn't seem to have any other kind - breaking into people's houses when they are away on holiday - shades of The Edukators, without the politics - and enjoying the facilities.

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He is extraordinarily respectful, never stealing anything, always remembering to water the plants and clean up after himself. Of course, eventually, the inevitable happens. The house of a rich businessman (Kwon Kyuk-ho), with a passion for golf, is not empty. His battered wife Tae-suk (Lee Hyun-kyoon) lingers fearful in a lonely room, watching Sun-hwa's sweet presence with a mixture of fascination and desire.

The romantic overtones of this strange liaison are accentuated by their silence. Sun-hwa never speaks throughout the film; neither does Tae-suk until the end when she makes a most surprising announcement to her husband.

At first, the delicacy of their mimed love affair has a dreamlike quality, but after a while the lack of verbal communication becomes more of a gimmick than a true expression of mutual understanding.

The plot, meanwhile, lurches into the long grass, introducing stereotypes, such as corrupt and brutal cops. The golfing metaphor, as expressed by the title, takes on a more menacing aspect as grown men are felled by close range iron shots.

Lee Seung-yeon is a young Johnny Depp and Lee Hyun-kyoon remains sad practically the entire time. What starts off as an intriguing mystery ends in comic dance.

Reviewed on: 15 Jul 2005
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The silent love affair between a battered wife and a respectful intruder.
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Jennie Kermode ****1/2
Anton Bitel ****

Director: Kim Ki-duk

Writer: Kim Ki-duk

Starring: Lee Seung-yeon, Hyun-kyoon Lee, Kwon Kyuk-ho, Ju Jin-mo, Choi Jeong-ho, Lee Mi-suk, Moon Sung-hyuk

Year: 2004

Runtime: 2004 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: South Korea, Japan


Sundance 2005

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