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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Concubine aka "Hoo-goong: Je-wang-eui cheob" [Blu-ray]

 

(Dae-seung Kim, 2012)

 

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Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: HwangKiSung Films

Video: Kam & Ronson Enterprises Co Ltd

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:33:54.879

Disc Size: 24,215,946,923 bytes

Feature Size: 23,507,705,856 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 18th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio Korean 2688 kbps 5.1 / 96 kHz / 2688 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
DUB:

Dolby Digital Audio Chinese 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbpst

 

Subtitles:

English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, none

 

Extras:

• Trailer (1:27)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: After her award-winning turn in The Servant, Jo Yeo Jeong delivers another alluring performance in the sexually charged period thriller The Concubine. Directed by Kim Dae Seung (Bungee Jumping of Their Own), the luscious period tale follows a concubine's tragic triangle with the king and her lover, played by Kim Dong Wook (Romantic Heaven) and Kim Min Joon (Hindsight). Her quest to survive in the palace turns into a dangerous struggle of love and lust, power and betrayal.


From the moment he laid eyes on her, Prince Sung Won (Kim Dong Wook) immediately becomes smitten with nobleman's daughter Hwa Yeon (Jo Yeo Jeong), but she loves commoner Kwon Yoo (Kim Min Joon). Finding Hwa Yeon unsuitable for her son, Sung Won's mother (Park Ji Young) arranges for Hwa Yeon to become consort to the King (Jung Chan), Sung Won's brother. To save Kwon Yoo, Hwa Yeon can only accept her fate. The King passes away soon after, and Sung Won rises to the throne through the machination of his power-hungry mother. Realizing that the matriarch intends to destroy her and her son, Hwa Yeon fights back by manipulating Sung Won, whose lust for Hwa Yeon grows by the day, and her former love Kwon Yoo, who has entered the palace as a eunuch.

 

 

The Film:

"The Concubine” sees actress Jo Yeo Jeong following her much praised performance in “The Servant” with another bodice-ripping costume drama and tale of lust and envy, this time for director Kim Dae Seung (“Bungee Jumping of Their Own”). Set in the royal palace during the Joseon Dynasty, the film is a twisted web of tangled scheming and betrayals, and also stars Kim Dong Wook (“Romantic Heaven”), Kim Min Joon (“Hindsight”), Jung Chan (“Superstar”) and Park Ji Young (“The Housemaid”) as the other players struggling for power and survival.

The film opens with Jo Yeo Jeong as Hwa Yeon, the daughter of a lesser nobleman, in love with commoner Kwon Yoo (Kim Min Joon). Sadly for the lovers, when Prince Sung Won (Kim Dong Wook) falls for Hwa Yeon, his ruthlessly ambitious mother (Park Ji Young) separates them by selecting her as the king’s consort. Forced by her father to accept in order to save Kwon Yoo’s life, she is sent to the palace and becomes queen.

Excerpt from BeyongHollywood located HERE



This point I'm about to make is probably neither here nor there, all things considered, in regards to director Dae-seung Kim's sprawling, beautiful, confusing epic 'The Concubine', but it didn't get past me. There's quite a bit of nudity and sex in 'The Concubine', no issue there, but… some of the nude women had surgically enhanced breasts and while I hear Korea's Joseon Dynasty was quite advanced, I don't think they weren't that advanced. Just saying it kind of brings one out of the time period of the drama when on sees these kinds of things. That's all.

Prince Sung Won (Kim Dong Wook) is a little wimpy, kind of whiny and not much of man but then he sees her, a vision of beautiful perfection in Hwa Yeon (Jo Yeo Jeong), the daughter of a nobleman. He would like to have this woman as his own, and as a prince you would think he'd have the inside track but there are a couple of things which will keep this from happening for the poor prince. First is that Hwa Yeon loves hardass commoner Kwon Yoo (Kim Min Joon) and secondly, and most importantly, the prince's mom (Park Ji Young) won't allow it. The Queen Mother, as they call her, is like a modern, oppressive stage mother the likes few have ever seen, and she has a plan for her son.

Excerpt from FilmCriticsUnited located HERE

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

Firstly, this is the 93-minute international version of the film with the theatrical running 1/2 hour longer. There was a Blu-ray with both versions HERE, and just theatrical HERE but both appear to be out-of-print. Nothing, in terms of nudity/sex appears to have been cut, although I can find few references of what has - except elaboration of sub-plots. Production values on this period piece are extensive with vast sets, extravagant costuming and Hwang Ki-seok's deliberate, and often stunning cinematography. This is adeptly transferred on a single-layered disc with a supportive bitrate in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Colors don't look particularly rich, or bright, in 1080P but without another Blu-ray to compare I presume they are accurate. The image is clean and consistent with depth and looks just fine in-motion. It is quite a visual film - with kudos to the art direction. I had no issues with this HD presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is given in the option of a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround at 2688 kbps (16-bit) in the original Korean or a lossy Chinese DUB. The film's infrequent effects are well supported. The score, and film's both traditional and orchestral theme music, is credited to Yeong-wook Jo (The Handmaiden, J.S.A.: Joint Security Area, Public Enemy, I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK, Old Boy, Thirst) and sounds epic in the lossless. There are optional English and Chinese subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

Only a trailer, which is a shame as so much could be said about the film, the period it represents, interviews with the cast and director...

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Once again beautiful Jo Yeo Jeong gives a fine performance while boldly exposing her naked body with graphic portrayals of sex in many scenes of the film admitting she wants to be seen as 'an adventurous and intriguing actress'. She has an interesting look - almost appearing cross-eyed at times - innocent, yet overcoming that with her expressive body language. The Concubine touches many genres; drama, history, romance, murder, revenge, eroticism with themes of betrayal, revenge and obsession. The bare-bones Blu-ray provides a strong presentation of another fascinating erotic South Korean period piece. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

July 3rd, 2017

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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)

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Gary W. Tooze

 

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