30 October 2004 | gtzam
Brilliant and frustrating at an equal measure.
This is undeniably a work of considerable formal rigor. Director Kim Ki-Duk uses deceptively simple but tellingly precise visual compositions to narrate his seemingly simple tale of loss of innocence, guilt and redemption. Initially everything seems transparent and self-evident in the story until intangible elements slowly seep into the structure causing ambiguity and bringing emotional turmoil that remains mostly subdued. The main plot premise, however, might seem a bit exaggerated or overblown to someone who cannot easily accept the depicted motivations for the actions of the two main characters (the girl and its father), especially considering the scarcity of social or psychological signifiers. Consequently, the movie works better on a symbolic than dramatic level, as its wonderfully concise final scene demonstrates. A must see.