Tae-suk spends his days roaming about town placing leaflets on people’s front doors. What at first appears to be just another crummy job ends up being a crafty way for this homeless young man to pinpoint which household’s occupants will be gone long enough for him to break into their home and just hang out for a bit, eat some food, get cleaned up, maybe watch a little TV. He doesn’t take anything from these homes, in fact, he spends a good part of his time in these residences cleaning, doing laundry and fixing little things that need to get fixed. Ever have that pesky remote control start working fine for you all of a sudden? Perhaps Tae-suk paid you a visit while you were out at work or away on vacation. Something to think about, isn’t it?
But, shortly after we’re introduced to Tae-suk and his phantom-like ways, he unknowingly breaks into a home with a resident still inside. This resident is a young woman, Sun-hwa, bruised and beaten by her husband who is away on business. The two bump into each other and realize that they’re kindred spirits, so Sun-hwa splits on her husband to go wandering about town with Tae-suk, breaking into homes and living amongst other people’s stuff.
The first thing that comes to mind while watching this Korean made love story is that the character of Tae-suk smacks a whole helluva lot like the mute from Wong Kar Wai’s “Fallen Angels”. He’s a young, good looking guy, drives a motorcycle, breaks into places and operates them as his own and never speaks a single word. The similarity is a little troubling at first, but the entire set-up for “3-Iron” is unique, so you’ll wind up just shrugging it off. Besides, it’s a bonus if you like that character from “Fallen Angels” – you get to see more of that type of person, while the movie is offering its own story and special treats.
The biggest thing here is, if you love quiet movies, where the characters don’t need to speak to each other to establish relationship, carry the story and initiate action, then “3-Iron” is exactly what you’re looking for. Throughout Tae-suk and Sun-hwa’s interesting relationship, it’s not shown that they say word one to each other, however, you bond with them as they bond with each other through their charming, if somewhat detached, interaction. It’s a love story without all the verbal hooey and it hits harder than most.