I'm a fan of Kim Ki Duk's films - I even liked The Isle. This one though - was hilarious. Some of it was so absurd, I couldn't contain my laughter. This one had sat on my shelf for years before finally giving it a spin tonight after watching Time.
Fuck it - there's going to be spoilers here... you don't have to read any further if you want to be surprised...
The film starts off with some animal abuse - there's a lot of it throughout the film and that's probably what polarizes people so much on this movie. I've come to expect this sort of thing from Kim Ki Duk having seen his other films... the thing people don't realise is that there's much more human abuse in his films than animal abuse and yet some people react more to the animal abuse. In any case - if you don't think you could handle watching dogs strung up and beaten to death or a puppy getting slapped in the face, then just stay away. The rest of it isn't really so bad.
As for absurd - I can't really list it all, but for example - a girl is blinded in one eye by a zip gun as a kid by her brother - it appears as a glazed eye. She is ashamed, so she agrees to let this American soldier bang her and feed her drugs if he takes her to get it fixed. They do some sort of 'surgery' on it which looked like it involved a Sharpie - the next day, she can see perfectly. Then later, she stabs her eye again to keep the solider from tattooing his name on her tit and the result is the same glazed contact lens.
I don't know - it's just a bizarre film with some really impossible behavior - especially with the American "actors" which were obviously not real actors. The only American actor that did a decent job was the boyfriend - the only problem was his character was completely retarded... abusive and insane one minute, crying for his mommy the next. It was so odd... perhaps that's how Americans are seen because we are quicker to cry than Korean men.
Anyway - this film was somewhat confusing... I think this half-breed killed his stepdad and then cut his mom's tattoo off her tit and then drove his bike off a hill and froze to death/drowned in a frozen wetland. Then his mom dug him up and ate him. Most of the characters plotlines dead ended or were left open and unanswered.
Your best guess is that everyone ended up miserable or dead... and you're probably right. Really, this film hasn't got much of a point. It's interesting, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's good. People seem to either love it or hate it. I'm somewhere in the middle. It felt like 4 hours of movie, but it was just under 2. In the end, I felt like going "what the hell did I just watch?" and I watch all of the most odd films I can get my hands on. This one was just... I don't know. I don't feel like I wasted my time watching it, but I also don't feel like I got anything out of it.