Sea Fog AKA Haemoo (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - 88 Films
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (7th April 2018).
The Film

SEA FOG is one of the Korean wave's most potent stories and a visually arresting action-packed effort. Telling of an illegal immigrant operation in South Korea, focused on bringing 30 mainland Chinese star-watchers to the hustle and bustle of Busan and Seoul, which ends in terrifying tragedy, SEA FOG is a tense thriller and a blistering viewing experience. Produced by the legendary Bong Joon-ho (THE HOST) and with a cast that includes the great Kim Yoon-seok (THE CHASER) and K-pop icon Park Yoo-chun (formerly of TVXQ), SEA FOG is an adventure on the high sea that ranks as one of East Asian cinema's most masterful recent achievements!

Video

A stunningly shot true to life drama about a hard up fishing crew who take on a job of smuggling immigrants from China to South Korea. A colourful production with a vivid colour palette shot digitally with the Arri Alexa and utilising Zeiss Ultra Prime and Angenieux Optimo Lenses. The imagery is crystal clear with a very fine grain and the director doesn’t favour the dull, desaturated palette Hollywood frequently does for dark, serious stories. This film has a generally has a mild golden cast but not as strong of all pervasive as say Huston’s preferred version of Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967).

Flesh tones are natural and refreshingly so. Blacks are vivid and deep with no crush whatsoever and the contrast is is such that it allows detail to shine through; no blown out whites in evidence. Detail is ever present in well lit sequences and only suffers in some of the darker, mistier scenes but that is natural and intended. The transfer handles those darker sequences well however with no signs of colour bleed or digital artefacts.

There is a fine layer of grain that is consistent and the encoding is of a high standard.

1080/24p / MPEG-4 AVC / 2.40:1 / 110:53

Audio

Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English (optional)

As a modern soundtrack this is well up to expectations with some thunderous use of LFE in the stormy bits and actions scenes between protagonists and antagonists. Music is generally kept to front left and right speakers with the some surround activity. Dialogue is clear and always well defined. The film as optional English subtitles. Obviously the 5.1 is the original track and the one to go for here.

Extras

“All About Bong: An Interview with Jean Noh” featurette (10:33)

Noh discusses the career of director Bong and what he means to the Korean film industry. It touches on his early life and he was always a bit of film obsessive. This is in HD.

Visual Effects Reel (2:02)

Fascinating comparison of shots before SPFX and after set to the film’s score.

Overall

This was a very grim, depressing film based on a true life tragedy in which 25 immigrants suffocated to death whilst being smuggled to South Korea. A very human story but perhaps not something to view if you are in the mood for something light. However, 88 Films have put together a great disc for those who love the film. Picture and sound are excellent. The extras are brief but interesting but we could’ve done with more in depth material. Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of cinema then this disc is well worth getting.

The Film: C+ Video: A+ Audio: A+ Extras: D- Overall: B

 


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