Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 21st, 2014
Theatrical Release Dates: South Korea, 2010
Director: Yoon Sung-Hyun
Writer: Yoon Sung-Hyun
Cast: Lee Je-Hoon, Seo Jun-Young, Park Jung-Min, Jo Sung-Ha, Bae Je-Ki
DVD released: May 26th, 2014
Approximate running time: 117 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Korean
DVD Release: Third Window Films
Region Coding: Region 2 NTSC (UK)
Retail Price: £14.85
Synopsis: A father deals with the loss of his son who committed suicide by reaching out to those who he was closet too.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one weighs heavy on ones soul, especially when said loved one takes their own life. Trying to retrace the whys of why did such a tragic event happen rarely gives someone the answers they need to get past their grief. The cold truth of such an event is that only the person who has taken their own life truly knows the reasons why?
The plot for Bleak Night a film that revolves around a protagonist who has taken his life and the events of his life are filled in by those who were closest to him in life. Though the narrative is told is present and past tense. Trying to follow the events which unfold is not that difficult since there is a clear distinction that let you know if things are in the present or a memory from the past.
Visually this film is more interested in establishing intimacy with its audience then trying to be flashy, with the performances being the backbone of this character driven melodrama. And when it comes to the performances the entire cast is all exceptional in their respective roles, especially Je-hoon Lee in the role of Gi-Tae, the young man who took his own life. He creates an utterly tangible character with great depth. And though said character has committed such a bleak act, due to the strength of his performance it is easy to emphasize with the character and thus connect with the pain that they are going through.
With that being said, just like in life this film leaves many things unanswered. So be forewarned that this film is not going to wrap everything up in bow by the time the finale comes around. There is an ambiguity to the events which have unfolded that makes which reinforces one of this films central themes that no matter how hard ones tries find them, sometimes there are never going to be answers. Ultimately Bleak Night is an extraordinary exploration of the choices we make and the fall out that arises from said choices.
Third Window Films presents Bleak Night in an anamorphic widescreen that retains this film’s intended aspect ratio. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels fare well and though the image looks generally crisp; there are several moments where the image looks appropriately softer. There are no issues with compression and edge enhancement is minimal.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in Korean and removable English subtitles have been provided with this release. Range wise things tend to sound rather limited and there were a few moments I found myself having to adjust the volume. With that being said, dialog is easy enough to follow and the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack fare well.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 30 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles), a short film titled ‘Boys’ also directed by Yoon Sung-Hyun (31 minutes 27 seconds – – letterboxed widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles) and a Weblink extra that takes you too Third Window Films website and their YouTube trailer page. Overall Bleak Night gets a strong release from Third Window Films, highly recommended.