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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of World Cinema
Kim Ki-Duk is a very prolific director, and sometimes falls short as a result of it, but this is a perfectly realised fable. It's not a film to be approached in any spirit of realism, except Magic Realism.

I won't go through the plot which is summarised elsewhere, but its simplicity allows for a kind of poetry of composition and a wonderfully fluent deliberate...
Published on 7 Oct 2008 by Peter Scott-presland

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missed the mark
Compared to Kim Ki Duk's incredible 3-IRON, and even compared to the lesser SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER... AND SPRING -- this is a disappointment. And while the 2 main characters don't talk just like in those other movies, the supporting characters are relative chatterboxes which makes the silence of the 2 main characters seem unjustified (in fact, the writer cheats by...
Published on 21 Sep 2009 by J. A. Eyon


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of World Cinema, 7 Oct 2008
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This review is from: The Bow [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
Kim Ki-Duk is a very prolific director, and sometimes falls short as a result of it, but this is a perfectly realised fable. It's not a film to be approached in any spirit of realism, except Magic Realism.

I won't go through the plot which is summarised elsewhere, but its simplicity allows for a kind of poetry of composition and a wonderfully fluent deliberate pacing which is quite hypnotic. As mentioned elsewhere, there is very little dialogue, and the heroine's silence (and almost impossible beauty) gives her a kind of mystery and allure which resonates beyond the immediate.

I don't see the lack of dialogue as any kind of weakness. The two central characters have lived together on a tiny boat for ten years, they have gone beyond words, and so when the cracks appear with the appearance of Youth, Progress, "Civilisation", at the time they might need words, they can't find them. This fuels the tragedy.

Kim revisits themes and situations he had previously used in "The Isle" The Isle [2000], a more extremely violent movie, but there are arbitrary plot elements there and a kind of glib pessimism about the impossibility of love. Here love and growth are painful, but possible, and the final renunciation by the old man is - yes - magical, as Age gives way to Youth, as it surely must.

A beautifully crafted and coherent vision, made with the most economical of means, a handful of actors, a single location. The images will stay with you.

This went straight into my personal Top Ten Best Films ever, replacing Kurasawa's "Throne of Blood". Yes, it's that good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful film with an amazing score and performances, 3 July 2013
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This review is from: The Bow [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a simple, beautiful, fairytale style film by the often controversial but always interesting Kim Ki-Duk. This particular film is not as exrtreme as any of his other work and would be on a par with 3-iron or Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter...and Spring which means you could probs watch this with your Gran.
The two main characters don't speak a single word in the entire film. When most poor Hollywood movies have characters speaking loads of uninteresting exposistion because they don't trust the audience to be smart enough to follow along this is very refreshing. The tale is deceptively very simple but very deep and is about love and control.
Although the leads never speak the film is far from quiet thanks to an amazing score that is really beautiful. Set pretty much on a single location of an old boat it is amazing how much colour he brings into the film. There are loads of bright primary colours all over the place and the cinematography is top notch and absorbing creating a film that is both very real and very fairy tale like at the same time. The performances are great as well as every other aspect of the filmmaking.
It's not my favorite Kim Ki-Duk and it wouldn't even be in my top 3 of his but it's still a very interesting and captivating film. The reason for this is that it doesn't pack the punch of many of his other works, which although may be `extreme' are certainly unforgettable. In comparison to Kim Ki-Duks other films it would only be 4 out of 5 as it is not as bold or striking as his other works. However, although the story is simpler he still puts all his talent into what is a captivating and mesmerizing experience. Judging the film purely on its own merits it is a solid 5 out of 5 and highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasing piece of film-making, 8 Feb 2009
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Stefan Brenner "qbalber" (Cambridge, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bow [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
As a piece of cinema, "The Bow" stands somewhere between two of Ki-duk Kim's other water-based films, "The Isle" and "Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring" ... Beautiful cinematography, intense emotional conflict and the gradual unwinding of an unexpected resolution link all three films. "The Bow", however, lacks a certain punch in comparison to the dark menace of "The Isle"; and whereas "Spring, Summer, Autumn and Spring" follows a reasonably conventional (Buddhist?) plot-line, "The Bow" has a certain tendency to meander along without seeming to know where its going. In the film's favour, it's exactly the right length: the final denouement comes just as one might have become impatient. And "The Bow" excels in its use of colour and contrast: in this particular respect, it outstrips just about every other cinematic offering from Korea (or anywhere else, for that matter). The soundtrack is evocative, without ever convincing - that music could never be produced by such a makeshift instrument! 'Suspension of disbelief' is one thing; taking the viewer for granted, quite another. So, all in all, I can only judge that Kim's "The Bow" pleases without really hitting the mark.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvel, 26 Oct 2008
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Mr. G. Sturdy "sakura amazon" (Yarm, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bow [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
Kim Ki-duk continues to prove himself one of the most daring directors around. A truly wonderful, evocative movie. For much ofits running time it's silent, the 2 main characters don't even speak for the length of the movie. A classic example of 'show-don't tell.' Daring and imaginative but with a coherent story to tell. An adult fairytale. Buy, watch and then watch again. Easily one of the best movies of the 21st century so far....A good companion piece to Ki-duks equally amazing '3 Iron'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a breath of fresh air, 16 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Bow [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
this is one of those rare films that seem to flow from the beginning to the end like a well read piece of poetry, a simple & elegant storyline from a seasoned director a film I am sure you will watch over & over again. I will definitely place this one in my top 25 of Asian films.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hits the Mark, 23 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Bow [2005] [DVD] (DVD)
I must admit I like this film a lot. The directors habit (in most of his films) of using minimum dialogue is handled as well as ever in this film. I also enjoyed the girls expressions-she was adept at conveying emotions without using words. Not quite as good as "Spring, Summer, Autumn Winter" - but still beautifully directed.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missed the mark, 21 Sep 2009
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J. A. Eyon "Little Raven" (Seattle - USA) - See all my reviews
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Compared to Kim Ki Duk's incredible 3-IRON, and even compared to the lesser SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER... AND SPRING -- this is a disappointment. And while the 2 main characters don't talk just like in those other movies, the supporting characters are relative chatterboxes which makes the silence of the 2 main characters seem unjustified (in fact, the writer cheats by having them whisper in someone's ear).

Like Kim Ki Duk's other movies, the heart of the plot integrates very questionable ethics with hardly any guilt. This is more noticeable in this film. As are the implausibilities. Ultimately, this film was too vague and the final act too mystical and symbolic to be satisfying for me.

While the acting by the old man is good, the the young actress had no depth.

I'll give it 3 stars cuz it kept my interest up by successfully conveying the emotional struggle -- and it was imaginative. That'll be enuf to keep me interested in Kim's other works.
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The Bow [2005] [DVD]
The Bow [2005] [DVD] by Ki-Duk Kim (DVD - 2007)
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