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A Bittersweet Life  [DVD]
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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 girlfriends 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.
"Truly Thrilling" -- Empire
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
'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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My issue is not with the film. The film is one of my favourites. That's why I ordered the DVD. However, this is not the same version that I originally watched. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
I watched this and enjoyed it. If you like Korean cinema and especially Korean thrillers then this will please you. Well worth a watch and the lead is charismatic. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JPG2007
"A bittersweet life" is a stylish gangster film from Korea. It is very well acted, with a great central performance. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Chunky Monkey
Not for the squeamish, but there's a great story behind all the blood and violence. I'm not a fan of gangster violence films, but East Asian cinema just seems to surpass Hollywood... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Rootsdawtah
I found this to be pretty boring. The ending just seemed to be departing with Hollywood conventions for the sake of it.Published 9 months ago by Lesley Jones