A TALE OF TWO SISTERS
Directed & Written by Kim Jee-woon
Music by Byung-woo Lee
Cast: Im Su-jeong, Mun Geun-yeong, Yeom Jeong-ah & Kim Kap-su
2003/114 mins/Color/DTS ES
1.85:1 anamorphic/Korean/Korea/NTSC Region 3
Review from the Metro DVD
Before I go on with my review of Kim Jee-woon's A TALE OF TWO SISTERS, i'd like to say that it is by far one of the best if not the best film I have seen this year and that i'll try as hard as I can not too spoil to many things for those who haven't seen it. The film starts at the end... Su-Mi (superbly played by Im Su-jeong) is in a mental institute where she is about to tell to a pathologist what happened before she had to enter this place...
Su-Mi and her sister, Su-Yeon (Mun Geun-yeong), are back to the house of their father (Kim Kap-su) which is located in the moutains near a lake. Its a creepy and isolated Victorian-Korean mansion. Both seems kinda happy to be back to the house were they grew up but things turns sour when they meet their mother in law, played by Yeom Jeong-ah. The first night they spend sleeping there, Su-Yeon feels the presence of someone in her room, she is too afraid to take a look so she goes deeper into her bed sheets. Strange things are starting to happen in and around the house, like the birds of the stepmother are found death, a guess has an epileptic attack and sees something under the kitchen sink... and the tension really begins between the stepmother and the two sisters making things all the more confusing for the neglected father.
If you haven't seen the film and want to you should stop reading this review right now as it like impossible to review this film without giving away some vital and important pieces of the story. What first looks like another post RING film turns itself into a demented and confusing world of psychiatric sickness. The audience is forced to reconstruct various time sequences and scenes to figure out which one were real and/or imagined... confused?! Well you should be, this is the kind of film that is worth multiple viewing to find out all the little details that first slipped us by.
The film has three climatic scenes; the first one shows us that some of the characters are not really who they are, the second climax is a creepy and haunting sequence for the character of the stepmother and that intriguing closet and the third one let us know the origins of the psychological trauma from the main character.
The film is more or so a retelling of a famous Korean story about Janghwa and Hongryun, which tells how two sisters ended up dead because of their stepmother. This is Kim Jee-woon's third film, he previously gave us the brilliant THE QUIET FAMILY. A TALE OF TWO SISTERS is a work of art like no other film. Everything in the film is pure magic... or madness. The story is involving and intriguing, the acting is flawless, the set and costumes are pure eye candy and the mood and atmosphere gets creepier and more haunting as the minutes goes by.
Metro DVD have given a special edition treatment two DVD set for this new masterpiece. The discs are coded NTSC Region 3. The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and it is anamorphic. The image is simply flawless and features rich and solid reds and blacks that takes us even more within the dark tone of the film. We get two audio tracks, a DTS ES and a 5.1 Dolby Digital. Both tracks are crisp and clear giving the film's audio all the atmosphere it needs. The film is in Korean but there is easy to read removable English and Korean subs. The film is separated in 16 chapters, there's a commentary track with the director, lighthing director and cinematographer and another one with the director and cast members. We also get the theatrical trailer which spoils too many elements of the film, so don't watch it before watching the feature.
The second disc is separated in three section. The first one is called 'IN THE FRAME': In "Story Of" we learn about how the story came to be, lots of behind the scenes footage, storyboards, interviews, how the girl under the sink was created and the musical score. "Interviews" consist of four interviews, one with the actor playing the father, one with the stepmother who's actually quite beautiful in real life and the other two with the actress playing the sisters. These are lengthy interviews but like all Korean DVD, there is no English subs which is a shame... In "Deleted Scenes" we get 15 of them (!)... most of them were completely cut or some were shorten for the final cut. There is commentaries by the director over all of them. We also get a montage scenes with the two sisters and the same scene with only one, same with the stepmother/Su-Mi relationship alter-ego is done which is interesting.
'OUT OF FRAME' features even more extras: "Production Design" takes a look at how the beautiful but haunting house was created through sketches, paintings and all the small details that went into every room... crazy stuff! "Music Score" is exactly what the title means, a look at how the music was composed, an amazing score I must say. There's also an interview with the composer. "CG" show us how the computer generated fx were created for the film like for the title sequence, the rooms, the "ghost". Finally "Poster" takes us behind the photo shoot of the now infamous poster that was banned in Korea from Billboards.
'TO THE VIEWER' features an interview with the director, "See The Movie With Psychiatrist" is exactly what it means it is, the "Still Gallery" is big and features lots of cool behind the scene pix with the score playing in the background. Take note that an easter egg can be found on the 'TO THE VIEWER' page, highlight the "Main" choice and press left on your remote control.
The DVD comes in a very nicely designed digipack along with a card with notes from the director and a film cell! This is an amazing DVD edition which everyone should get, there's also a single disc edition that was released in Hong Kong by Panorama Entertainment but I can't compare it since I haven't seen it.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©
You can purchase this DVD at our official sponser by clicking on the image above.