has an average rating of 8.0 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
KOREAN DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
are over 2 hours long (in SD)
– 128 minutes
– Magnolia Home Entertainment
This uses 30.4GB for the movie out of 39.1GB total.
Overall Verdict – Recommended
— Review written by: Danielle Byington —
The Movie Itself was Directed and Co-Written by Joon-ho Bong, with the additional Screenplay credits of Eun-kyo Park, and Wun-kyo Park.
The movie centers on a mother (Hye-ja Kim), and her son, Do-Joon (Bin Won). The mother is very protective of her only child, not simply as her instinct, but as Do-Joon is also mentally handicapped to a degree. She disapproves of his friendship with Jin-tae (Ku Jin), a bit of a rambunctious local kid in the village, who is sincerely friends with the mentally “slow” boy, and watches over him like a big brother.
One night after having a few drinks and waiting for Jin-tae who never shows, Do-Joon begins to walk home, and encounters a young lady, Moon Ah-jung (Mun-hee Na), walking by as well. He proceeds to harmlessly flirt with her, and as she disappears into a dark ally, a large rock is thrown at him, making him flee for home and his mother immediately. The next morning, the dead body of the young girl is found on a roof top, and along with witnesses and other vague evidence, the lazy police, who have not had a murder investigation in many years, seek to quickly close the case, and follow-up the leads to Do-Joon as the primary suspect. Not thoroughly understanding his situation or what exactly is being asked of him in the interrogation, he unknowingly signs a confession, sentencing himself to many years in prison.
His mother is of course heartbroken, and believes with much reason that her son has been falsely accused. After hiring the most expensive (and unproductive) lawyer in their county, she takes matters into her own hands, and ultimately conducts her own investigation with the assistance of Jin-tae.
In closing, “Mother” is well-rounded in its delivery of the multiple genres it channels, from mystery, thriller, and drama. In an attempt to not disclose spoilers, I can only be vague in saying that the finale of the film’s story will most likely not be what you expect; it isn’t the most gasp-worthy Hitchcock style twist ever, but the way it is conducted within the end of the movie really completes this enigma of a parent that I think even the title is trying to create from the beginning. This film shows how the role of a dedicated parent is both admirable, and terrible, in the way that the mother’s dedication goes beyond care and regard for justice; even when she knows she is wrong. Overall, this is a must-see film unlike typical family “bonding” stories, and well worth a “4.5 Star Rating“.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. In most cases, it would not be recommendable to watch the supplements before viewing a film, as you may accidentally catch a spoiler; however, I do suggest viewing the supplement titled “Cinematography” to prevent yourself from going into this film and cursing its Blu-ray presentation (as far as the video quality goes). Through viewing this special feature that interviews with the Director of Photography, Kyung-Pyo Hong, as well as the Director of the film, it is explained that they were intentionally steering clear from what they describe as a “digitalized” and “sharp” picture quality. The two have made it very clear that this film is not supposed to scream “Hi-Def”, and the inclusion of these statements is basically a disclaimer to the following description of the release’s video quality; by all means, I am not bashing the video, but simply explaining the performance of the release.
This film is certainly composed of beautiful cinematography, with some sequences moving against what we are used to with North American films. The picture quality is tolerably soft; not terrible, but still quite plain in the definition department for the most part. The main source of evidence to refer to what exactly this film was shot on (as typical sources, such as IMDb list only the lenses and printed film format) comes from the end-credits of the film, as well as the discussion held in the above mentioned supplement; the basics of the round-up include the use of Hawk Anamorphic Lenses, and Kodak 35MM film, and presumably an Arri camera. There is evident potential of fine detail in many shots (as can be seen in a select few screenshots), especially well-lit exteriors, however, the picture retains its intended unclean look.
There are telltale signs of compression throughout the runtime, lending a murky signature at times to the color palette and fleshtones. On that note, this (the color palette) is also a topic explained by the D.P. regarding the choice to create only subtle contrast, constructing the tone of the film through the wide use of monotones, as well as the the intent to steer clear of intense sharpness by choosing what he describes as “rainy, grayer shades of black”, as the black level is certainly not solid, being often consumed by hues of blue and gray. Overall, the video quality for this release receives a “3.5 Star Rating“, only as a description of its High Definition presentation, and as no insult to the artistic impressions created by the crew.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in KOREAN DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. The Korean audio track on this release is definitely a notch above the video quality. The score, composed by Byeong-woo Lee, relays a fitting tone to the subject. Mostly comprised of orchestra strings, light percussion, and classical guitar, the music makes full use of the 5.1 setup with subtle rear channel presence, a stronger performance from the front channels, though the bass presence is not quite robust. Along with a clean presentation of the film’s original music, Foley of various sorts is striking as well, from the opening scene of Mother cutting dried herbs whose bristly crunch is rather distinct, and moving along to the moment in which Jin-tae crushes a side-mirror off of a vehicle with his foot, which does not leave the sounds of crunching glass to the imagination.
On a more convincing note, probably what is the sharpest moment of audible action involves a car crash in the first third of the film, which gives primarily the front channels a bit of a jolt with the sound effects of the impact. Environmental sound effects make for a nice demonstration as well, as a rain storm that carries on throughout a few scenes provides a more distinguished presence from the rears, and simply a believable balance from the soundscape in general. The Korean dialogue presents no issues, and is primarily conveyed through the center front channel, with occasional presence from the left and right front channels in scenarios such as the reverb of Mr. Gong‘s voice while speaking over a karaoke microphone. Overall, the Korean DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio that accompanies this release is very smooth and open, and had there been more audible content for it to relay, it would have certainly pushed a half of a star higher, however, it finals with a “4 Star Rating“.
Bonus materials are presented in Standard Definition video, using DTS 2.0 Stereo sound.
- BD-Live is included
- “Making of ‘Mother‘” (1:30:35)
- “Music Score” (15:17)
- “Supporting Actors” (14:33)
- “Cinematography” (9:12)
- “Production Design” (11:48)
- “A Look at Actress, Kim Hye-ja” (9:23)
- “International Trailer 1” (1:15)
- “International Trailer 2” (1:39)
Overall, the bonus materials are impressive as they clock-in at over 2 hours in length even though they are only in Standard Def. Folks who enjoyed the film will find there enough here to keep them entertained after they finish watching the film.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.