PictureA Bittersweet Life's picture is good. Flesh tones are clear and realistic, which is good considering there are a fair amount of close up's during the film's running time. The blacks are deep and rich. The film contains night and murky scenes which could have been an encoding nightmare. However, the disc handles these very well and I could see no artefacts at all. Colours are bright and vibrant. For such a violent film, there is a fair amount of blood on screen. There is no colour bleeding evident and all in all CJ Entertainment have done good in their transfer.
SoundNow for the first time in ages, I watched the same film twice in a couple of days. First time out I watched A Bittersweet Life on a Dolby Digital 5.1 set up and was blown away with simply the best 5.1 soundtrack I have heard in along time. Two days later, I experienced the film in DTS. Oh dear, my poor speakers. Firstly, the differences between the two are mainly that the DTS is that little bit louder, slightly more clarity on some of the effects and when the action kicks in, the bass shakes the room. The soundtrack constantly uses all 5 speakers (and the LFE when needed) throughout the film. Dialogue mainly comes from the centre speaker, the rest of the speakers are used for the sound effects. Gun shots fly around all the speakers, wind whistles behind you in your ears, I could go on. It's simply the most impressive soundtrack I have heard in ages. Oh yes, one more thing the film has a terrific score as well.
ExtrasA Bittersweet Life has a fantastic variety of different extras and special features. The downside is that every one is in Korean and with no English subtitles it's almost impossible to watch. The trailer and TV spots are very well edited and produced, these sell the film extremely well. It is a frustrating experience to see all the people behind what is one of my favourite films in quite a while and can't understand a word they are saying.
The documentary, Style of A Bittersweet Life is watchable as it covers the sound, action and FX of the film. You can just about make out what is going on if you are a 'veteran' of special features on DVD's however it you aren't, you won't have a clue.
There are two audio commentaries, I would assume from the director and maybe some of the cast and crew. Sorry everyone, the text is in Korean on the audio screen and I couldn't tell the two apart.
I am disappointed that I couldn't find out more about the film, well there's always the region 2 disc (I hope) that will have subtitles and bring all the special features over from Korea.
VerdictIf you have read the above, I hope you will have realised that I really do like this film. In fact whilst reviewing it, I realised I liked it even more on the second viewing, so the score is now higher then it was originally. Buy this move - it is simply quite fantastic.
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