The Isle Reviews

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Jason Gorber
Film Scouts
June 21, 2007
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...
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Nick Schager
Lessons of Darkness
May 4, 2005
A creepy, gruesome, gorgeous and flabbergasting treatise on romantic obsession and violent, nasty male-female relationships.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Harry Guerin
RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)
October 8, 2004
It's the safest of bets that this is one Asian film that won't get a Hollywood remake.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Anton Bitel
Movie Gazette
September 25, 2004
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
Top Critic
Mark Jenkins
Washington Post
May 21, 2004
Spring, Summer fans should only have their appreciation of that film expanded by seeing this rougher take on similar themes.
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
June 29, 2003
Sushi for the connoisseurs of the macabre.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Rich Cline
Film Threat
May 13, 2003
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Robin Clifford
Reeling Reviews
March 20, 2003
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.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Laura Clifford
Reeling Reviews
March 16, 2003
Ki-duk Kim has created a provocatively violent and sexual film with an oddly idyllic sensibility. It's a mysterious but ultimately rewarding experience.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Joshua Tanzer
March 11, 2003
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Jon Popick
Planet Sick-Boy
February 12, 2003
Equal parts Takashi Miike and Shohei Imamura.
| Original Score: 7/10
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 31, 2003
Beautiful, angry and sad, with a curious sick poetry, as if the Marquis de Sade had gone in for pastel landscapes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
January 16, 2003
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Joe Leydon
San Francisco Examiner
January 6, 2003
The vivid lead performances sustain interest and empathy, but the journey is far more interesting than the final destination.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Carla Meyer
San Francisco Chronicle
January 3, 2003
A gorgeous and grotesque Korean film by director Kim Ki-Duk, who seems torn by his artistic and exploitive impulses.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Ed Scheid
Boxoffice Magazine
December 29, 2002
A continually fascinating exploration of the physical and psychological pain and pleasure of a bizarre relationship.
| Original Score: 4/5
Rod Armstrong
December 27, 2002
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.
| Original Score: 3/4
Eric Campos
Film Threat
December 8, 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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Jeremiah Kipp
August 26, 2002
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
Top Critic
Jan Stuart
August 23, 2002
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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