Hee-Jin (Suh Jung) is the solitary groundkeeper of a fishing isle. She never speaks and rarely shows a flicker of emotion... until ex-cop Hyun-shik (Kim Yoo-Suk) arrives and tries to commit suicide. The two begin an obsessive, frighteningly intense affair to try and heal each other’s pain, but their compulsive lovemaking soon lurches from needy to destructive with devastating results.
Korean director Kim Ki-duk refers to himself and Japanese shock-master Takashi Miike as “two of a kind”, and The Isle bears many similarities to Miike’s Audition. Both begin slowly, lulling the viewer into a false sense of security, and both focus on relationships that skeeter dangerously out of control. What’s more, both climax with almost unwatchable scenes of mutilation, with Ki-duk doing for fishhooks what Miike did for needles.
The Isle isn’t for the faint-hearted and its murky, somewhat bizarre conclusion is determined to confuse – but this is still a powerful work from a burgeoning talent.