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This review is from: The Isle [DVD]  (DVD)
'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.