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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Pieta [Blu-ray]


(Ki-duk Kim, 2012)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Good Film / Finecut

Video: Image Entertainment (Drafthouse Films)



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:43:51.016

Disc Size: 21,666,846,111 bytes

Feature Size: 18,844,624,896 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.49 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: July 23rd, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Korean 1651 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1651 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit / DN -4dB)
Dolby Digital Audio Korean 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio Korean 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB



English, non-removable NOTE: When commentary is chosen feature subtitles disappear replaced by commentary subtitles



• Audio Commentary with Director Kim Ki-duk, Cho Min-soo and Lee Jung-jin (In Korean with English subtitles)
God, Have Mercy On Us - Interviews with Kim Ki-duk, Cho Min-soo and Lee Jung-jin winning the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice Film Festival (12:56)
Behind the Scenes Featurettes (5:23)
Filmography of Kim Ki-duk (2:26)
Trailer (1:55)
16-Page Booklet
High quality 720p HD Digital Download of the Film





Description: In this intensely haunting story, a loan shark lives an isolated and lonely existence, using brutality to threaten and collect paybacks from desperate borrowers for his moneylender boss. He mercilessly collects the debts without regard to the pain he causes his countless victims. One day, a mysterious woman appears, claiming to be his long-lost mother. Coldly rejecting her at first, he gradually accepts her in his life and decides to quit his cruel job and seek a decent, redemptive life. However, he soon discovers a dark secret stemming from his past and realizes it may be too late to escape the horrific consequences already set in motion from his previous life.



The Film:

A solitary loan shark working for a ruthless moneylender seeks redemption after meeting a mysterious woman who claims to be his long-lost mother in this brutal crime drama from acclaimed South Korean director Kim Ki-duk (3-Iron, Arirang). Lee Kang-do (Lee Jung-jin) is a debt collector whose brutal methods have earned him a ferocious reputation. Operating in a dingy factory district, he will cripple, main, and brutalize in order to collect insurance money, even if it means his victims will never work again. Kang-do is completely devoid of empathy or emotion when an older woman (Cho Min-soo) appears on his doorstep, and begs forgiveness for abandoning him as a child. Initially skeptical of her claims Kang-do coldly pushes her away. The more she persists, however, the more their relationship begins to grow until the cold-hearted collector begins to gain a conscience, and decides to leave his life of crime. But it may already be too late for Kang-do, because a horrific secret from his distant past may have sealed his grim fate long before he decided to take control of it. An uncompromising drama from a visionary filmmaker, Pieta was the recipient of the prestigious Golden Lion at the 2012 Venice Film Festival.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Morally cunning and with a tone as black as pitch, “Pieta,” the 18th film from the South Korean director Kim Ki-duk, is a deeply unnerving revenge movie in which redemption is dangled like a cat toy before a cougar. The beast in question is Kang-do (Lee Jung-jin), a merciless bag man for a powerful moneylender who cripples slum-dwelling debtors to collect on their insurance claims. As cold to himself as to his clients, he lives in a comfortless flat where the entrails from the previous night’s chicken dinner still decorate the bathroom floor. So when a strange woman (Cho Min-soo) begins to stalk him, claiming to be the mother who abandoned him long ago, Kang-do barely hesitates: he rapes her.

Excerpt from The NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Pieta was shot on video with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II (1080P). I thought it looked pretty good on Blu-ray from Image Entertainment.  I noted few of the weaknesses of this versatile production format. There was some softness in-motion but not a lot.  This is only single-layered with a modest bitrate but it seemed to support the film in 1080P well enough. There was solid examples of detail and colors appeared true. Daylight scenes are more impressive and I found no examples of noise. This Blu-ray exports consistent visuals and I don't doubt that it is a good replication of the original presentation. It might be the best that I have seen of this format - meaning the fewest deficiencies. It gave me a distraction-free viewing.





Commentary subtitles














Audio :

Audio gives the option of lossless via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 1651 kbps or a standard Dolby in 5.1 - both in original Korean. The film is basically dialogue, well - with a fair amount of pauses, an not a lot of effects. There is some aggression and adroit separation but I wouldn't consider it atmospheric. The subtitles for both the feature and commentary - alternate depending on which is selected - and are non-removable via the menu or my remote system. My Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Image Entertainment (Drafthouse Films) provide an audio commentary with director Kim Ki-duk, Cho Min-soo and Lee Jung-jin. It is in Korean with English subtitles - which supersede the feature subtitles when that option is chosen. It is casual with a lot of interjecting by the participants - some by Kim about the maternal concepts of the film. It is actually quite good. There is also a dozen minute featurette entitled God, Have Mercy On Us featuring interviews with Kim Ki-duk, Cho Min-soo and Lee Jung-jin at the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice Film Festival. There is a less co-ordinated Behind the Scenes piece running just over 5-minutes, a filmography of Kim Ki-duk and a trailer. The package contains a 16-page liner notes booklet and pass-code access to download a 720p version of the film.



I hate to be the dissenting voice and disagree with the jury at the 2012 Venice Film Festival but I didn't see much value in Pieta. I'd fall more in-line with TimeOut Film Guide "But so determined is Kim to shock that it’s hard to take him seriously." I found this disjointed and silly - the characters are either indefensibly passive (who happen to both owe a loan shark and run businesses that have large crushing machinery) OR unconscionable and/or revenge-seeking sadists. Anyway, I'm only one voice - if you weren't deterred by his other films you may find value in this Blu-ray. Pieta is just not to my personal tastes. 

Gary Tooze

July 12th, 2013


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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