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The Isle ( Seom ) [2004] [ English subtitles ] [DVD]

Jung Suh , Yoosuk Kim , Ki-duk Kim    DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Jung Suh, Yoosuk Kim, Sung-hee Park, Jae-hyeon Jo, Hang-Seon Jang
  • Directors: Ki-duk Kim
  • Writers: Ki-duk Kim
  • Producers: Eun Lee
  • Format: PAL, Widescreen, Import
  • Language: Spanish, Korean
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: 22 April 2004
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E8RFKG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 304,982 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Like most of his movies, Kim Ki-Duk's The Isle is very unique. It is set on an isle in which small floating rooms are set up and rented out. The lake is run by a mute woman called Hee-Jin who spends most of her time maintaining these floating rooms and offering 'services' to its visitors. One day a man trying to escape his past arrives and he immediately attracts the attention of Hee-Jin. As the film progresses the two characters start to discover that they have feelings for each other.
The Isle is basically a love story albeit a dark twisted gruesome love story. Kim Ki-Duk has a unique way of letting his characters convey their feelings for each other. Both characters find it hard to express their love for each other by conventional methods, which isn't helped by the fact that one of them is mute. So the only way they can express themselves is through action and violence, which at times can be hard to look at. I'm not going to lie to you I did want turn away at certain parts and I've sat through some pretty gruesome movies. Let's just say that there is a reason for a fishing hook being on the front cover of the box. Both actors do an excellent job playing their characters, especially Seo Jeung who plays Hee-jin since she had to portray the character without saying a single word.
The DVD itself isn't the best that Tartan has released but it is still pretty good. It's filled with your usual trailers and behind the scene extras. The only disappointment I got was to learn that the BBFC cut a few minutes out of the film due to certain animal cruelty scenes.
I have always admired Kim Ki-Duk for his willingness to explore dark subject matters that other filmmakers tend to avoid and to do so in such a captivating way.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
This is my third film from director Ki-duk Kim (II). The first one being "3-Iron" and the second "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring" both being great but close to silent films. The Isle (Seom), a deeply troubling and equally beautiful film that will shake the hardiest of souls despite a minimal body count and bloodletting. The poetic setting propels much of the storyline, which follows lost souls Hee-Jin (Suh Jung), an errand girl and occasional prostitute who services a neighborhood of floating lake homes, and new resident Hyun-Shik (Yoosuk Kim), a quiet, suicidal cop on the run from the law after shooting his girlfriend. When the despondent Hyun-Shik tries to kill himself, the young girl stops him with a well-applied knife poke. She continues to spy on him, and the two silently develop a twisted relationship that escalates when he engages in some self-mutilation involving fish hooks. Add to the mix an accidental death, corpse disposal, more fish hook mayhem, and a lyrical finale, and you have one of the more memorable art-house/shock cinema

Though filled with images of sexual mutilation, excretion, and much-discussed animal violence (mainly to fish), "The Isle" is a far cry from an exploitation film; this is deeply felt, melancholy material, a harsh love story between two people beaten down by life and unable to express themselves except through pain.

The film also leavens the somber tone with a few nicely placed sick laughs, often at the expense of the characters' outrageous behavior, and director Ki-duk Kim displays an impeccable eye for simple, beautifully composed images.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Totally Hooked ... :-) 17 Mar 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"The Isle" is the story of the relationship between a depressive male and a mute female. She runs a fishing retreat which takes the form of a number of small floating huts on a lake, and he is one of a number of her customers. Their bizarre relationship revolves around his violence both towards himself and her, and her jealousy and her equally extreme self-harming practises.
An extremely well-filmed movie, in typically beautiful oriental style with mist rolling over the lakes and deep blue hues, the film is let down by its sheer pointlessness.
In terms of the film's self-promotion as extreme perversion, whilst the viewing is certainly not mainstream, I wouldn't rate it as overly extreme. The self-harming incidents which are the main pieces of uncomfortable viewing are spread fairly far apart and between them the film can be a little slow. In fact, the 'worst' case of the woman's self-harming, towards the end of the film, is actually strangely comic in its execution.
More could have been done with the particularly interesting psychology of the woman. For instance her tendency to swim underwater at night and spy on her customers by sneaking up through the trapdoor in the huts' floors could have been pursued with great effect.
So in summary it was, for me, certainly a watchable film but neither as perversely offensive as it claims, nor does it hold a meaningful story. So despite its strong cinematography I'm giving it an average vote.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful/compelling/disturbing/hypnotic. 6 Jun 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
'The Isle' is, in turn, beautiful, compelling, disturbing & hypnotic. As a fan of world cinema, I appreciate many different qualities in a film and, in my opinion, this one has them all. At present, Korean cinema is probably at the top of tree with such excellent and original films as 'Oldboy', 'Save the Green Planet', 'Sympathy for Mr Vengeance' and 'Memories of Murder'. Kim Ki-duk's later films are great too, but I don't believe that he ever surpasses 'The Isle'. I rate this film so highly that I even own two copies: First Run Features' uncut, letterboxed R1 edition (with music video and trailer) and Tartan's more recent (cut) R2 anamorphic widescreen release! Stylistically influenced by Kaneto Shindo's 'Onibaba', the film works on a nember of level's. It charts the developing obsessive relationship between two damaged individuals with their longing for a resolution that would allow them trust and reconciliation - a trust that neither, given their precious experiences, feels that they can afford. Of course, for Koreans, this is very much the story of their two countries' joint history, something the director lets you work out for yourself rather than shoving down your throat (unlike the fishooks in the film). One caveat: the uncut film contains scenes featuring fairly extreme animal cruelty and so should be avoided by those who are sensitive to such issues.
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