Moss Blu-ray Review
Moss comes to Blu-ray courtesy of Art Service with a 1080p resolution, encoded using the
AVCcoded and framed within a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The disc itself is region free.
This is a pretty punchy image due to the cinematography and general palette and the disc copes with the style very well. Contrast is strong with blacks being perhaps a shade of total inkiness and whites staying crisp. Exterior scenes in bright light are the most vibrant, with the rolling countryside hills containing a plethora of shades of green and brown, the latter being a colour that is also prevalent in many interior shots as well as the mottled effect on Chun’s leather jacket for instance. The handling of such hues is stable and skin tones also show no signs of wavering.
Delineation is generally good, not super sharp, but certainly commendable; however some sharpening is noticeable at particular points. Grain is fine but there are no hints of excessive noise reduction having been applied. Motion doesn’t smear and there is a pleasing filmic quality to the frame. Detail is pretty consistent, with the finer elements being a shade below greatness but shadow detail is maintained quite well throughout. A few of the darker, more complex scenes indicate a few negligible problems with slight crushing and artefacts but these are definitely what one would categorise as minor instances.
This is a strong image that, whilst having a couple of moments where the ball is perhaps not dropped but fumbled a little, copes with all the key areas well.
NB – for those with CIH set-ups, subtitles appear within the frame (though some of the translations are a touch flawed).
Audio is catered for with a single, Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.
It’s always nice to be presented with a clear centre channel in a thriller that relies on moments of hushed murmurings and that is exactly what we have here. Dialogue is distinct without the centre seeming out of alignment in terms of level. It integrates extremely well with the fronts and speech even gets a few nice environmental touches that draw in the other channels to good effect. It is naturalistic, smooth and frankly never misses a beat.
Bass is a bit more hit and miss, with the LFE being capable of good potency, but occasionally seems a tad underwhelming, especially in its inclusion when the score kicks in. It isn’t Jo Young-wook’s best work, sounding far too formulaic (akin to an impersonation of the Oldboy style, as it seems to be considered these days) and arguably coming in fits-and-starts, but still the bass could have lent more of a helping hand. The range is still good, with high frequencies resonating nicely, but there doesn’t appear quite the same level of polish to it that has been afforded the centre channel. Perhaps it is an unfair comparison as the former is positively exemplary.
Fronts are generally the workhorses for the score and the rears add some nice touches, they aren’t constant but do get utilised for anything from discreet noises to instruments. When it works it is extremely effective, with drums beating away from all corners and LFE underpinning the moments of drama. It has an organic feel to it with no one effect being obvious or forced, the result is a track that is natural, keeps to a good level, ebbs and flows and barring more consistent range (perhaps a better score that might have helped illustrate), would have been just about perfect.
A total of seven extras are included on this disc – two trailers, three interviews, a photo shoot and an hour-long behind-the-scenes. Unfortunately none come with English subtitles thus I am unable to adequately rate them.
Moss hints at a cerebral nature but ultimately doesn’t deliver on this early promise. The narrative is cluttered in terms of complexities that almost demand to be explored yet none are in a satisfactory manner. The wealth of ideas thrown in are far more suited to the original format of a web-comic or perhaps a TV series as a segmental approach (as well as the greater running time/episodes afforded it) to investigating the many subtle shifts in character dynamics would have facilitated a far more meaningful punch in the final revelation. It is still a slick and enjoyable creepy mystery thriller with an excellent central performance from Jeong Jae-yeong and some fine cinematography, but tighter editing or more emphasis on the human elements were needed for this to truly shine.
The region free disc from Art Service showcases the artistic style of the film extremely well with picture and sound qualities that fall just a shade below the best. Extras appear decent, but the lack of English subtitles is a pity.
A solid but slightly missed opportunity of a film on a fine disc.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £29.13
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