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Seom (The Isle)

Seom (The Isle) (2000)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 8

A compelling and oddly haunting combination of brutal and beautiful imagery.


Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 2

A compelling and oddly haunting combination of brutal and beautiful imagery.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 5,821

My Rating

Movie Info

Recalling both the erotic tension and the surrealist imagery of Woman of the Dunes, Kim Ki-duk's film is set near a remote lake where men come far and wide to fish on anchored rafts. Running a little bait-and-tackle shop is the earthy -- almost feral -- young lass Hee-jin (Seoh Jung), who sometimes sells herself for a price to horny fishermen. On one raft is the morose youth Hyun-shik (Kim Yu-seok), who Hee-jin has quietly taken a shine to after saving him from a suicide attempt. His ham-fisted


Art House & International, Drama

Ki-duk Kim

May 20, 2003

Myung Film

Watch It Now



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All Critics (38) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (8) | DVD (8)

Spring, Summer fans should only have their appreciation of that film expanded by seeing this rougher take on similar themes.

May 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beautiful, angry and sad, with a curious sick poetry, as if the Marquis de Sade had gone in for pastel landscapes.

January 31, 2003 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There is little question that this is a serious work by an important director who has something new to say about how, in the flip-flop of courtship, we often reel in when we should be playing out.

January 16, 2003 Full Review Source: San Jose Mercury News
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A gorgeous and grotesque Korean film by director Kim Ki-Duk, who seems torn by his artistic and exploitive impulses.

January 3, 2003 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Once [Kim] begins to overplay the shock tactics and bait-and-tackle metaphors, you may decide it's too high a price to pay for a shimmering picture postcard.

August 23, 2002 Full Review Source: Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Daring, mesmerizing and exceedingly hard to forget.

August 23, 2002
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In the (genius) Coen Brother's film The Big Lebowski, Julianne Moore's character Maude is an avant garde artist who describes her painting as "strongly vaginal." Until The Isle, I thought that was simply a funny joke...

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

A creepy, gruesome, gorgeous and flabbergasting treatise on romantic obsession and violent, nasty male-female relationships.

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

It's the safest of bets that this is one Asian film that won't get a Hollywood remake.

October 8, 2004 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

If you have a strong stomach, then this deceptively calm tale of self-imposed isolation, extreme emotions and fishing will quickly reel you in, and leave its hooks in you long after you escape the cinema.

September 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Gazette

Sushi for the connoisseurs of the macabre.

June 29, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The evocative imagery and gentle, lapping rhythms of this film are infectious -- it gets under our skin and draws us in long before the plot kicks into gear.

May 13, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

If you can get past the fantastical aspects and harsh realities of "The Isle" you'll get a sock-you-in-the-eye flick that is a visual tour-de-force and a story that is unlike any you will likely see anywhere else.

March 20, 2003 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Ki-duk Kim has created a provocatively violent and sexual film with an oddly idyllic sensibility. It's a mysterious but ultimately rewarding experience.

March 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Made me unintentionally famous - as the queasy-stomached critic who staggered from the theater and blacked out in the lobby. But believe it or not, it's one of the most beautiful, evocative works I've seen.

March 11, 2003 Full Review Source: Offoffoff

Equal parts Takashi Miike and Shohei Imamura.

February 12, 2003
Planet Sick-Boy

The vivid lead performances sustain interest and empathy, but the journey is far more interesting than the final destination.

January 6, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

A continually fascinating exploration of the physical and psychological pain and pleasure of a bizarre relationship.

December 29, 2002
Boxoffice Magazine

Though the controversial Korean filmmaker's latest effort is not for all tastes, it offers gorgeous imagery, effective performances, and an increasingly unsettling sense of foreboding.

December 27, 2002

Be forewarned, if you're depressed about anything before watching this film, you may just end up trying to drown yourself in a lake afterwards.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Too restrained to be a freak show, too mercenary and obvious to be cerebral, too dull and pretentious to be engaging...The Isle defies an easy categorization.

August 26, 2002 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Seom (The Isle)

A mute woman who runs a fishing resort becomes obsessed with a suicidal fugitive hiding out in one of the floating cabins. A bizarre, perverted sadomasochistic love story in a unique setting; animal lovers may feel like boycotting this one, though.
January 20, 2013
Greg S

Super Reviewer

Kim Ki-duk serves up another dark and twisted love-story themed film set on a fishing lake where a mute woman and a man with a troubled past find attraction with eachother. The movie is very picturesque and beautiful to look at at times, then we have some rather unpleasant scenes that add the disturbing quality to it all. There's a couple of very nasty moments of self-harm involving fish hooks and moments of animal cruelty - fish mutilated, a drowning finch, a dog takes a beating and a frog gets ripped apart. I wouldn't really describe this as an erotic film at all, yes there are sex scenes but they are not romantic and the majority of them are done fully clothed without any titilation. The acting was very good all round, especially by the mute woman, a little bit more background on the male character would have been nice though. But I was really hooked from the start with this one despite the slowness of it all and the very little dialogue. I enjoyed it more than "Bad Guy".
November 10, 2011
Lee ?

Super Reviewer

Unforgettable quotes and dialogues... No, no, wait. The movie speaks volumes through its silence... Damn it. FML that I happen to stumble upon such films these days around.
April 14, 2011

Super Reviewer

A suicidal young man who is on the run from the police enters into an obsessive relationship with the woman who services the small fishing community in which he is hiding. The Isle is one of those "arthouse" films which relies far more on a keen visual eye and twisted sexual character study than plot and narrative momentum. It is strikingly shot, full of arresting images and visual analogies and the beautiful Jung Uh is a formidable presence, especially since she does not utter a single word for the duration of the entire film; she is somewhat reminiscent of Asami from Audition if she were a few sandwiches short of a picnic instead of the whole hamper. It also reminded me of Betty Blue for its obsessive and self destructive overtones, showing a relationship that is sado-masochistic but not in the usual gimps and bondage sense of the word. Some of the metaphors are a little clumsy and these damaged characters don't make for the most engaging protagonists but it is certainly an interesting character study that is lovely to look at.
August 10, 2010
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • The Isle (DE)
  • The Isle (Seom) (UK)
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