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A Bittersweet Life [2005] [DVD]

4.4 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Hwang Jeong-min, Ku Jin, Kim Hae-gon, Kim Roe-ha, Kim Yeong-cheol
  • Directors: Kim Ji-woon
  • Producers: Lee Yo-jin, Oh Jeong-wan
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 24 April 2006
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EHPOQY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,997 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Highly anticipated revenge thriller from the director of A Tale of Two Sisters – Kim Jee-woon. A loyal worker is devoted to his crime boss who asks him to kill his girlfriend’s lover. Daring to defy him, his actions lead to terrible personal consequences and set in motion a torrent of blood and mayhem. Stylish balletic violence, but a brutal masterpiece. A pulse-racing powerhouse that serves as a Korean Point Blank., John Woo-style. Unforgettable film noir for the modern day.

Review

"Truly Thrilling" -- Empire

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Without a doubt I can say that A Bittersweet Life is one of the best revenge movies I've seen and is just as captivating as Park Chan Wook's Old Boy or Tarantino's Kill Bill. The story follows Sun-woo, a hotel manager who has managed to get where he is by carrying out certain jobs for a gang leader called Kang. Just before Kang goes out of town for a few days he asks Sun-woo to keep an eye on his girlfriend as he suspects she's being unfaithful. However when Sun-woo catches the girlfriend with another man he can't bring himself to finish the job. When Kang finds out about his defiance Sun-woo soon finds himself fighting for his life against the people he once called family.

You can probably tell by the plot that this isn't the most complex film ever made and is nothing like Old Boy where you have to follow the clues right up to the very end. In fact A Bittersweet Life is the exact opposite of this; from the beginning you know that the story is heading down a vengeful path of bullets and corpses that can only end in tears. I have no doubt that when people watch this they'll be comparing it to Old Boy but although they are both stylish Korean revenge movies I'd have to say that's where the similarities stop. Old Boy was an extreme new take on the revenge genre that mixed action with a brilliant psychological story but A Bittersweet Life has a much simpler straight forward story with slightly more emphasis on the action and a style that pays homage to classic noir thrillers. That's not to say that A Bittersweet Life isn't as good but just different.

Kim Jee-Woon (A Tale of Two Sisters, The Quiet Family) has done an excellent job at directing this and for me is his best film I've seen so far.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very rarely a film comes along that 'changes' you. I don't mean to sound melodramatic here, but 'A Bittesweet Life' grabs you by the neck, plunges your head into a sink full of cold water and then makes you have a lingering look at yourself in the mirror.

'A Bittersweet Life' is the sort of film that goes beyond entertainment and really reaches out to the core of every human. Have you given up on your dreams lately? I probably had until Jee-Woon Kim chucked this across the living room at me!

You don't need me to tell you what an exceptional director Jee-Woon Kim is, but seriously, this is a masterpiece. What I love about his work is the precision in which every frame in every scene is carefully planned and exectuted. No Hollywood laziness here!

A rip roaring action thriller on one hand, a gentle love story on the other, 'A Bittersweet Life' wouldn't be half the film it is were it not for the equally exceptional Byung Hun-Lee who plays Sun-Woo. Hun-Lee plays the seemingly emotionless lead character so well and with every subtle facial expression he slowly wins your affection and opens his soul to the auidence. What a performance.

The last twenty minutes of 'A Bittersweet Life' are its most powerful. 'Pure Class' is the only way to explain how neatly and carefully the film knits itself together and that closing message, when everything becomes clear, will linger long in the memory.

A far cry from a 'Hollywood Star', CGI cheese-fest; this is how you make a film. Stunning. If I could give 6 stars I would as I can't recommend this masterpiece highly enough.
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Format: DVD
This truly is a noodle western, as opposed to one of the spaghetti variety.

A Bittersweet life plays like a modern Good Bad & Ugly, or even Wild bunch. Long lingering shots, close pained expressions, quietly spoken anti heros. It has the lot. To me the setting of modern day Seoul is just as interesting as the American old west, and in this movie it looks even better. This film is beautifully put together, you can watch it for the visuals alone. Luckily there is also far more. The lead performane from Byun-Hun Lee is excellent. He exudes cool while remaining human. He is also very ably assisted by a multitude of character actors.

The story is simple, a man who is wronged seeks revenge, but also answers. Much of his feeling of hurt may relate to loyalty and relationships between employers, and father figures in Korea which to me seem stronger than in the UK. Still though, in this case revenge seems necessary. When you view in disbelief the terrible torture of the main character at the hands of the one he loved, and his internal torture after viewing something he could never have you will understand his need for retribution, and absolution.

This movie is at times very dark, but has enough excitement and kinetic energy to keep the action fan happy, enough depth and emotion for the intellectual and more than enough stylised cinematography for the most die hard cineaste.
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Format: DVD
I mainly read these reviews to find hidden gems that Amazon reviewers recommend. I can now return the favour. Beginning quite slowly I pondered what was so bitter or sweet? However, the pace and action picks up at a certain point in the movie and then doesn't let up. Want to learn about the Korean genre? Definately recommended but clue is in the title.
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