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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz

Confession of Pain [Blu-ray]

(aka "Seung sing")


(Andrew Lau & Alan Mak, 2006)




Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...


Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: Basic Pictures

Blu-ray: MegaStar (Hong Kong)



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:50:56.000

Disc Size: 23,773,443,719 bytes

Feature Size: 22,053,378,048 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.97 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 17th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video




Dolby TrueHD Audio Chinese 2015 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 2015 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio Chinese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Chinese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps



English, Chinese (traditional + simplified), none



• Making of (15:00)

• Trailer



The Film: 6
Part Gaslight. Part The Big Clock. Part Kill Bill.

Detective Bong (Takeshi Kaneshiro) comes home one night to find his girlfriend had taken her own life. It had been a particularly grueling day at the office to start with, culminating a few hours earlier in a bloody stroke of vengeance on a murderous killer of hookers by his boss, "Chief" Hei (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai). Hei goes on with his life and marries Susan (Xu Jinglei) the daughter of a wealthy businessman. But Bong, consumed with the seemingly unanswerable question of "why", resigns from the force to become a second class private detective and a first class drunk.

Bong and Hei remain friends, however, exchanging bits from their various cases until the day when Susan's father is himself brutally murdered. The police investigation seems to be going nowhere and Susan asks Bong to help. By this time the audience knows the identity of the killer, so the movie is not so much a mystery as it is a study of unrequited remorse. In the one case, the man is obsessed with answers; in the other, with revenge. The two paths converge as Bong uncovers clues that take him to unexpected places.

Excerpt of review from Twitch located HERE

I tend to agree with Peter Martin's assessment at when he says "Confession [of Pain] never ignites from its slow boil. It's not a bad movie, per se, it's just kind of lumpy and undercooked. . . Neither Tony Leung Chiu-wai nor Takeshi Kaneshiro are able to get a handle on their characters -- also a reflection upon the co-directors -- and both Shu Qi and Xu Jinglei are pretty much wasted. As a whole, the movie evaporates from memory rather quickly."

Image: 8/9   NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

A generally shadowy picture that displays minor edge enhancement in some of the brighter scenes. The occasional normally exposed scene catches the eye with its sharpness and resolution. Despite the darkness and barely lit shadows, noise is not in evidence, nor is digital noise reduction. The source elements appear pristine, as expected. There is one curiosity: the left side of the image is cropped, or not, from scene to scene creating a change in actual aspect ratio changes from 1:2.36 to 1:2.33. It probably isn't enough to notice during playback, but my computer screencaps tell the tale. I don't know if this is an error on anyone's part at Media Asia or elsewhere, but I took a point off on its behalf. My apologies if the cropping is intentional.
















Audio & Music: 9/9
The music, as is often the case with Hong Kong crime dramas from A-List directors and production companies, is superb, especially in its choice of melancholic ballads. The delicacy with which these numbers is drawn is surprising even in the context of a well-designed audio mix such as this. Effects, foley, dialog, surround immersion is all first class. The movie doesn't indulge in shoot 'em ups or car chases, just the occasional eye-averting head bashing and tearing slice with a long knife.



Operations: 6
A word about the subtitles and English translation: The subtitles, as is usual on Blu-rays regardless of country of origin, are rendered in a clear and easy to read font, unobtrusively placed at the bottom of the frame. Though spelling errors are rare, the English translation does have more than the usual number of usage mistakes, such as the one in the screen capture. Such mishaps interfere with our understanding of what's going on for only a moment. MegaStar's menu design is simple and easy to read with ready access to its various windows.


Extras: 2
Besides a trailer there is only a clearly presented fifteen-minute making-of featurette - alas, minus English subtitles - that we can see touches on the usual major production points.



Bottom line: 7
Whatever you do don't read YesAsia's summary of the plot, since it gives away a not insignificant piece of the ending. The movie looks and sounds great on Blu-ray, but I'm not willing to urge purchase, though I think it's worth a looksee if you can find a copy for rent.


Leonard Norwitz
February 7th, 2010




Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.

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