"The Bow's not a terrible movie, and it does have a lot going for it, it's just that after seeing many KKD movies, this one started feeling like a parody of his other films..."
The Bow (2005)
Director: Kim Ki-Duk
Writers: Kim Ki-Duk
Producer: Kim Ki-Duk
Cast: Jeon Seong-Hwan, Han Yeo-Reum, Seo Ji-Seok
Running Time: 90 min.
Plot: See review below.
EQUINOX21'S REVIEW: I thought it would be really difficult for me to be disappointed with a Kim Ki-Duk movie, but after seeing The Bow, I realize it's not that tough at all. The Bow's not a terrible movie, and it does have a lot going for it, it's just that after seeing many KKD movies, this one started feeling like a parody of his other films; What with the characters never speaking, the movie taking place entirely on the water and the strange and somewhat supernatural ending.
An old man runs a fishing business off his houseboat. He has a smaller boat that he uses to ferry people on and from the larger boat for their fishing excursions. On his houseboat is a 16 year-old girl that lives with him, who he had gotten when she was 7. He's overly protective of her because he's planning on marrying her the day she turns 17 (which he counts down on a calendar), and guards her with his bow, by firing "warning shots" at fishermen on his boat that get too touchy with the girl. In the nearly 10 years that the girl has lived with him, she's never left the boat, and she's always obedient and very respectful of the old man. Things start to change when a high school aged boy comes on the boat for a fishing trip with his father. The girl starts acting out, because of the old man's actions.
While the movie started out ok, it quickly became obvious that this film could not live up to the standards of its predecessors. The old man was an obvious greedy pervert, who had apparently kidnapped the girl for his own ends. Though he never assaulted her as a child, and was waiting for her to turn 17, it's still disturbing the way he looks at her and treats her as a child, all the while waiting for her to mature so he can nail her. It even gets to the point that he starts marking off extra days on his calendar so he can marry her earlier than he had originally intended. The film also plays far too much into the teen angst, immature relationship department. When the girl decides to leave, the old man tries to kill himself, dragging the girl back to him. It's just like high school kids might do.
The aspect of the two main characters not speaking quickly became annoying to me, because it was so out of place in this film. In other Kim Ki-duk films, like The Isle or 3-Iron, it fits the characters or situations well. In this film, the characters do speak occasionally, only they whisper into each other's ears. What's the point? In The Bow, the main characters are the only ones that don't speak, while all the minor characters talk almost incessantly. If Kim Ki-Duk's desire was for the movie to not be mistranslated for foreign markets, his goal would have failed due to the minor characters all speaking.
Again, the film isn't all bad. I absolutely loved the music. It was almost eerie in parts, and joyful in others. The music was supposed to have all come from the old man or the girl playing the bow as an instrument, instead of using it as a weapon.
Overall, I can't suggest this film over any of the other Kim Ki-Duk films I've seen. It just seemed too much like a new Kim Ki-Duk cliché, instead of a new Kim Ki-Duk film. See it only after you've seen all of Kim Ki-Duk's other films, which were much better.
EQUINOX21'S RATING: 6/10