1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Isle Region 2 DVD Review

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Seth Gecko, May 29, 2005.

  1. Seth Gecko

    Seth Gecko
    retired member

    Oct 9, 2004
    Products Owned:
    Products Wanted:
    Trophy Points:
    <P STYLE='text-align: center'><FONT STYLE='font-size: 18px'><IMG SRC='http://www.wvip.co.uk/images/dvd/TheIsle/TheIsleR2.jpg' ALT='THE ISLE DVD cover artwork' ALIGN='RIGHT'>THE ISLE</FONT><br>Reviewed April 2005 by <A HREF='http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?dvdid=Cas Harlow' target='_blank'>Cas Harlow</A>.</P><P><B>The Movie : 6</B></P><P>Tartan Asia Extreme has some pretty unusual titles in its collection: Hard Boiled – which is extreme action, Audition – which is extreme horror, and Infernal Affairs – which is… just plain extremely good. The Isle really falls into the horror category, along the lines of Audition and is another example of some pretty devious minds at work (I mean, who on earth wrote Oldboy? Although amazing, it is simply perverse). I suppose that I should not be surprised, but when the opening few minutes of The Isle gives way to a man taking a dump off the side of a pier, even I raise an eyebrow.</p><P>Set around this mysterious and isolated fishing Isle, we follow the story of a young mute girl – Hee-Jin – who spends her days renting out floating homes to fishermen and selling whores to them as well, while at night she sells herself. But this young lady has a few demons of her own, and does not take lightly to being mistreated by her clients, adopting the approach of sneaking up to them while masked by the waves and killing them in nasty ways. She’s a disturbed young lady, who finds little peace other than in her simpler, fishing-related activities. Eventually she befriends one of the guests at the floating shacks – having ‘persuaded’ him to reconsider his suicidal tendencies – and a bond is formed between them. But, as I said, Hee Jin is troubled – she even beats frogs to death and skins them to feed to her friend’s bird – and you can just tell things are going to get bad before they turn good, if they ever do turn good.</p><P>Kim Ki-Duk, the director of the equally strange Bad Guy, has crafted another very moody affair, an atmosphere besieged by rain and depressing damp. Initially you might think that this is another cast of style over substance, but he slowly weaves an interesting tale of love and rejection, jealousy and hatred – reeling you in as if you were a fish on a hook. Although I don’t recognise any of the cast, the female lead – Suh Jung – is strikingly beautiful (even if she has a pretty scary eye-brow thing going on) and she does extremely well in a role devoid of words. Playing opposite her we get Kim Yoo-Seok, as the troubled man running away from his own demons. There is also an important role for Jang Hahng-Sun, as an unfortunate young prostitute who sells herself to the men on the floats but also finds herself attracted – somewhat incredulously – to the suicidal Hyun-Shik. From an ‘extreme’ point of view, this is clearly a film without limits. Just when you least expect it, somebody will eat chunks of raw flesh out of a fish they just caught – or skin a toad – or even do some rather cringe-worthy things with fishing hooks. Ironically, though, one of the things I found really unnecessary was the overly frequent toilet activities that the characters get up to. It was just a little too much. That and perhaps a moment when a woman gets some particularly unsavoury treatment, which is something I really didn’t have to see. But if you like your Asian ‘horror’ cinema extreme, then this is just for you. For once they are not wrong about comparing it to David Cronenberg’s perverted Crash. It is basically quite an unusual low-budget moody piece telling yet another twisted tale of love with liberal use of shock-horror.</p><P><B>Picture : 6</B></P><P>The movie is presented in a rudimentary 1.85:1 aspect ratio anamorphically enhanced transfer that does not even try to hide its low-budget roots. The picture is seldom completely clear, with softness throughout and a distinct lack of detail. In fact, some shots – particularly the long shots – look positively blurry. There is a significant amount of grain, more prevalent than you would like, and the picture is generally quite low in quality. The colours seem often faded, but this is not really out of place when considering the watery, moody setting and the blacks are remarkably solid considering the rest of the state of this transfer. There are also a few too many scratches and glitches in the print for my liking, particularly considering this is such a recently made production.</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='http://www.wvip.co.uk/images/dvd/TheIsle/TheIsle_1.jpg' ALT='THE ISLE'></P><P><B>Sound : 7</B></P><P>The main feature is presented with three different audio tracks in the original language, Korean. The most significant of these is, unsurprisingly, the DTS mix but both that and the other 5.1 effort, the Dolby 5.1 track, are almost inseparable. Both present the vocals at the forefront, with the effects – most often water-related – seeping through the surrounds, and the score brooding mainly over the frontal array. They are perfectly fine mixes and even if the DTS track is slightly more potent, neither has any significant range, nor utilises any noticeable bass. The third track is a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix that is a standard if unremarkable effort.</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='http://www.wvip.co.uk/images/dvd/TheIsle/TheIsle_2.jpg' ALT='THE ISLE'></P><P><B>Extras : 7</B></P><P>First up there are interviews with members of the cast and crew. The producer Lee Eun talks about working with the Director on another unusual project, film critics Hwang Jin-Me and Kim Young-Jin try to dissect the concepts behind this weird tale, the composer Jun Sang-Yun talks about setting the mood and the cinematographer, Hwang Suh-Shik discusses shooting the watery affair. We also get the two leads, Suh Jung (who plays Hee-Jin) and Kim Yoo-Seok (who plays the suicidal man, Hyun-Shik) discussing their respective parts. Each interview runs for only a few minutes, but is quite informative and made more interesting by snippets of behind the scenes footage. The Music Featurette takes a longer (five-minute) look at the score, once again with commentary by the composer – this time taking you through the particular musical pieces used for specific scenes.</p><P>There is also a Behind the Scenes featurette that runs at eight minutes in length and looks at various days in the filming schedule, giving a diary account of what occurred that features a significant amount of revealing behind the scenes footage. We catch glimpses of the Director in acting, the stars taking orders and several comparison shots between the footage filmed and the final cut. Again, it is a nice featurette that does not throw information and facts at you like you might expect, but instead allows you to watch the project evolve. There is an eight-minute featurette solely about the director, with the CEO of LJ Film in interview talking about the Kim Ki-Duk and his work. It seems a little strange to have no comments from the director himself, or a more varied input with other friends and colleagues as well, but it is still quite nice to hear some background into the man behind this strange creature of a movie. We also get a six minute featurette ‘About the Movie’ which features stills from on-set, and yet more input from the verbose composer and the cast, along with all of the individuals previously interviewed. They tell us a little more about the movie, and also go into detail over some of the more graphic incidents in the movie. Finally we get a selection of Tartan Asia Extreme movie trailers, including the horror Phone, the excellent crime thrillers Infernal Affairs 1 and 2, the superbly realised comic-book adaptation Oldboy, the horror Into the Mirror and the surreal Save the Green Planet.</p> <P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='http://www.wvip.co.uk/images/dvd/TheIsle/TheIsle_3.jpg' ALT='THE ISLE'></P><P><B>Trivia</B><br>For user information we use Bitrate 1.4 to scan the disk for the video bitrate, which also calculates the average bitrate. Below is a graph illustrating the bitrate of the disk, including the average bitrate reading. This disk averaged at 7.76 Mbps.</P><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='http://www.wvip.co.uk/images/dvd/TheIsle/TheIsleR2Bitrate.jpg' ALT='THE ISLE'></P><P><B>Verdict : 7</B></P><P>The Isle is yet another in the long line of aptly named Tartan Asia Extreme movies, with a strange story, some shocking visuals and some understated acting. It is a nice, low-budget affair that is presented with slightly disappointing visuals but a decent array of solid audio tracks. The release also has a good bunch of extras, although the lack of input from the director is a little disappointing. Overall, if you like your shock-tastic Asian cinema, give it a whirl but be warned – it is not for the faint-hearted.</p><TABLE border='0' CELLPADDING='0' CELLSPACING='2' WIDTH='100%'><TR><TD COLSPAN='2'><B>THE ISLE (2000)</B></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Genre</TD><TD><A HREF='http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=exact&searchfield=genre&search_for=DRAMA' target='_blank'>DRAMA</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Director</TD><TD><A HREF='http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=director&search_for=KI-DUK KIM' target='_blank'>KI-DUK KIM</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Stars</TD><TD><A HREF='http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=JUNG SUH' target='_blank'>JUNG SUH</A>, <A HREF='http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=YOOSUK KIM' target='_blank'>YOOSUK KIM</A>, <A HREF='http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=SUNG-HEE PARK' target='_blank'>SUNG-HEE PARK</A>, <A HREF='http://www.totaldvd.net/cgi-bin/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=JAE-HYEON JO' target='_blank'>JAE-HYEON JO</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65'><B>Region</B></TD><TD><B>2</B> <FONT>(UK)</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Supplier</TD><TD><FONT>Tartan. Released Monday 23rd May 2005</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>SRP</TD><TD><FONT>19.99</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Discs</TD><TD><FONT>1</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Format</TD><TD><FONT>DVD9</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Time</TD><TD><FONT>87 mins.</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Chapters</TD><TD><FONT>16</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Picture</TD><TD>Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1&nbsp;</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Sound</TD><TD>Korean Dolby Digital 5.1<BR>Korean Dolby Digital 2.0<BR>Korean <IMG SRC='http://www.totaldvd.net/images/dts.gif' ALIGN='ABSMIDDLE' border='0' ALT='DTS Soundtrack'> 5.1</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Subtitles</TD><TD>English</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Case</TD><TD>Amaray</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Extras</TD><TD>Cast, Crew and Critic Interviews<BR>Music Featurette<BR>Behind the Scenes Featurette<BR>Featurette About the Director<BR>Featurette About the Movie<BR>Trailers</TD></TR></TABLE><P STYLE='text-align: center'>If you would like to comment on this review, please reply below.</P>

Share This Page