The Isle Reviews

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Jeremiah Kipp
Filmcritic.com
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
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
June 29, 2003
Sushi for the connoisseurs of the macabre.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Jan Stuart
Newsday
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
Top Critic
Mike D'Angelo
Time Out
August 19, 2002
Its juxtaposition of overwrought existentialism and stomach-churning gore will have you forever on the verge of either cracking up or throwing up.
Full Review | Original Score: 29/100
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
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
Richard Falcon
Sight and Sound
August 8, 2002
Kim Ki-Deok seems to have in mind an (emotionally at least) adolescent audience demanding regular shocks and bouts of barely defensible sexual violence to keep it interested.
Greg Muskewitz
eFilmCritic.com
February 27, 2002
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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
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
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-
Cole Smithey
ColeSmithey.com
June 1, 2007
| Original Score: 4/5
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
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+
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
Top Critic
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
August 20, 2002
I don't think I've been as entranced and appalled by an Asian film since Shinya Tsukamoto's Iron Man.
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
August 22, 2002
As gory as the scenes of torture and self-mutilation may be, they are pitted against shimmering cinematography that lends the setting the ethereal beauty of an Asian landscape painting.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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
Joshua Tanzer
Offoffoff
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
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-
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
June 24, 2006
Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall
February 27, 2002
Top Critic
Derek Elley
Variety
October 18, 2008

Empire Magazine
September 11, 2004
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