Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 19th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: South Korea, 2009
Director: S.K. Jhung
Writer: S.K. Jhung
Cast: Dong-Hyuk Cho, Jong-min Baek, Myeong-hee Go
DVD released: May 21st, 2013
Approximate running time: 145 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Korean
Subtitles: Non-Removable English
DVD Release: Asian Media Rights
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $16.95
Synopsis: A trio of thirty something affluent friends try to overcome disorders they have been battle since adolescents.
Finally a Korean film that traverse beyond the well worn ‘Revenge’ themed melodrama’s and ‘epic’ retelling of historic events from Korea’s history. At the heart of Penthouse Playboys is a meticulously laid out character driven drama about three young men who are actually mirror images of each other, albeit that they all suffer from a different disorder.
What at first appears to be a story about excess quickly shifts into film that has much deeper intentions and the end result is so superbly realized that the filmmakers intentions resonate long after this film’s climax.
Without a doubt this film’s greatest asset are the characters which populate this story at hand and the way in which they evolve as the journey’s progress is pitch perfect in execution. Far too many film’s try to race to the moment of resolution and often neglect the events leading up to said moment of truth. Thankfully this film’s does not fall into that aforementioned trap and lets its characters have the ample amount of time they need to fully realize where they come from and where they are trying to go.
Even the three disorders that the main characters are battling are all distinctively different. These three disorders that they battle with include sex addiction, gambling and schizophrenia. With the latter one and its character providing some of this film’s most memorable and durable moments.
Besides the well defined characters. Another area that this film’s hold’s up really well and often excels are its striking choices when it comes to its visuals. This is not your average run of the mill melodrama that feels content with static cinematography. Each and very composition has been designed with the utmost care to maximizing the raw emotion of what is unfolding onscreen.
Performance wise the entire cast are extraordinary in their respective. With each of this film’s three leading men giving equally compelling performances. Another performance of note is Su-hyeon Jo in the role of a mysterious woman who befriends the character who is trying to come to terms with his schizophrenia. Trying to discern if she is real or just part of his imagination is what makes her character all the more fascinating.
Asian Media Rights presents Penthouse Playboys in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s intended 2.35:1 ‘scope’ aspect ratio. The source used looks clean. Colors and flesh tones look accurate. Though details generally look crisp, some of the darker scenes tend to look too soft. Also there are some mild instances of compression and edge enhancement.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Korean and non removable English subtitles have been provided for this release. Dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
This release comes with no extra content and a static menu that offers up two options, play movie or chapter selection. Overall Penthouse Playboys gets a good audio / video presentation.