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Ab-Normal Beauty [DVD] [2004]

Ekin Cheng , Anson Leung , Oxide Pang    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Ab-Normal Beauty [DVD] [2004] + Phone [DVD] [2002] + Premonition [2004] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Ekin Cheng, Anson Leung, Michelle Mee, Race Wong, Rosanne Wong
  • Directors: Oxide Pang
  • Producers: Oxide Pang, Danny Pang
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Cantonese Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Mar 2006
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000C05YHW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,899 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Disturbing psychological drama from Hong Kong writer-director Oxide Pang and his brother, producer Danny Pang. Jin (Race Wong) is a talented art student who frequently wins prizes for her photography. Witnessing a car accident one day, Jin impulsively takes pictures of the victims and finds herself becoming increasingly obsessed with photographing images of death. At the same time, Jin is being pursued by fellow student Anson (Anson Leung), who persists in filming her with a camcorder. As Jin begins to confront the nature of her obsessions, she begins to experience flashbacks to a childhood of sexual abuse, and when she receives an anonymous tape in the post that apparently shows a young woman being tortured to death, her obsessions are in danger of leading her down even darker paths.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Promised so much, but didn't quite deliver 2 April 2006
Up until just after the half-way mark in this film I was riveted. I felt myself pulled into the downward spiral of a damaged mind, a girl abused and ridiculed as a child whose suppression and guilt has led to a morbid fascination with death. And as she gives full reign to that fascination reality starts to unravel for her, she becomes more than fascinated, she becomes obsessed and psychosis sets in. This film is a masterful study of that damaged mind and how fragile our grip on reality can be. How seductive escapism is, whatever shape it takes. How many of us yearn to disappear into the dark places we hide inside ourselves? And Jiney goes there, only to be dragged back, kicking and screaming, by the woman who loves her. A fantastic portrait of a distressed mind.
But, sadly, after this point the film reverts to type. Not to say that what follows is not well made - it is and I was enthralled by it, but the opportunity to make a really powerful film about obsession and mental fragility and escapism was lost. A serial killer storyline, not unlike Saw or elements of Millennium (TV not film), appears and although well made and gripping, turns what was an outstandingly accomplished piece of psychological insight into a very well made genre piece. It's a shame. The same director's film 'The Eye' transcended the Asian ghost film genre to make a story that was truly horrifying, but because of what Mun could see and what that meant to her, rather than because of the innate scariness and terror of what was going on. In many way Pang used the ghost story genre to make his character-driven point, but in this film the last half-hour seems to run at total odds to the powerful dynamic created in the first hour.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
As the previous reviews might suggest, Ab-normal Beauty (2004) is something of a difficult film to pin down; both in terms of its abstract visual style and the actual presentation of the plot. In terms of appearance, the film is a visual labyrinth of warped neon colours, moody lighting and the occasional splash of cold, stark monochrome, all added to further reflect the inner world of the central character; in this instance, a young, misfit photographer becoming obsessed with the notions of sex and death. Further complications are created by the interesting use of narrative; with the film starting out as a kind of sinister art drama with a serious psychological subtext, before eventually changing gears in the second half and becoming an altogether more unusual experience. In this respect, I would draw a natural comparison to two very recent Japanese films, Takashi Miike's Audition (1999) and Takashi Shimizu's Marebito (2004); two films that use the conventions and, to some extent, more recognisable iconography of the horror genre, without ever really becoming horror films in the traditional sense. Also, like those two particular examples, Ab-normal Beauty tends to surprise - and perhaps even infuriate? - its viewers with the bold switches in narrative texture and the occasional disregard of logic.

The first half of the film is slow, subdued, beautifully shot with sporadic moments of surreal violence presented in a distant, dreamlike manner that stresses the characters' disconnection from society. The scenes in which she sets up and photographs various monstrous, decaying objects is masterful; creating a warped sense of beauty that seems as far removed from the horror genre as you could possibly get.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A film of Beauty or Abnormity? 21 July 2008
By Nico
Ab-Normal Beauty is directed by the Pang brothers who also directed the movie "One Take Only." The protagonist is a female art student who becomes a witness to a car accident which is a catalyst to her starting obsession with photographing death up close. She also becomes obsessed due to her somewhat marked past thus leading to some actually very satisfying psychological moments though not too complex at all.
The mood in the movie has a certain charm and the cutting keeps true to the story's progression. The use of flashbacks is also very effective though this is far from a new technique. They are necessary elements though because they add to the overall experience of the story and some actions of the protagonist would be kept in the dark or unanswered without them.
The movie is actually quite good seen in the light of the pscyhological themes that are presented in the movie as well as the emotional scenes in which one witnesses a young woman's vulnerability due to a stained past which is acted out pretty well and seems believable. One of the things that pulls the grade down is the somewhat dissatisfying ending which could have been interesting, but is not quite fulfilling compared to the movie's overall standard. This movie is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars because it is entertaining, but fails at the end...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different to hollywood 8 Aug 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The story is of a photographer named Jiney who becomes increasingly bored with taking "scenic" shots of her surroundings and wants to experience something to inspire her. One day she is witness to a car crash that kills the pedestrian and she is torn whether this is something she should photograph or not. This is the beginning of her decent into a damaged obsessive compulsion with dying and death. She begins to photo chickens being killed in a market and goes on to photo dead dogs and birds and she rapidly descends into madness The two main characters are actually played by sisters who are famous singers in Hong Kong they play a lesbian couple though this actually comes over as a very close female friendship in the film, Jineys descending into her psychosis is very disturbing to watch as it looks so real and though it is gradual you can see it is a cumulative experience. Look for the balcony scene where Jiney tells her girlfriend she is obsessed with suicide and climbs over the balcony 10 floors up i wont spoil it but it is tense

Her lover finally gets her away from her dangerous obsession with death only to have someone send her a video of a girl being beaten to death. jiney eventually has her girlfriend kidnapped by the freak who sent her the video, i think i will end this here as it will give too much away but keep watching as there is a twist at the end and you will wonder how such depraved people could possibly exist also look at the making of as you will learn there was a lot more to the film that was cut out and you will also learn how the sisters approached the roles especially the one who played the one going insane (jiney). She even frightened the male actor who played her friend in the scenes where she tortures him as he thought she was crazy enough to seriously hurt him for real.

I thought this was a very well made and excellently acted film about obsession and madness, far better than Hollywood could ever make
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