The best mind bending movies all have one thing in common, the twist was worth the trip. There is some allowance along the way if a few things don’t quite add up, but as long as the final twist manages to satisfy, most can be forgiven. Memento, Mulholland Drive, Seven, and The Usual Suspects are some of the greats. And there’s thankfully more than enough classics to make up for the rest of the blips on the radar. In the case of Well Go USA’s recent release, Bluebeard, it’s even a far cry from the likes of A Tale of Two Sisters or Mother. It starts to lead up to what could have been a fun denouement, but ultimately you just don’t care as it heaps one twist on top of another until it’s buried in repetition.
Dr. Seung-hoon (Jin-woong Jo) is a proctologist up to his elbows in patients. Among them are his landlord’s father (Goo Shin) who is being taken care of by his son and daughter-in-law Sung-geun (Dae-Myung Kim) and Mi-yeon (Chung-ah Lee). One day, Sung-geun brings in his father who confesses to murder while under sedation. While Seung-hoon knows patients say some pretty odd things, his suspicions turn to realization after a decapitated body is found in the river and Seung-hoon becomes convinced there’s a head in a plastic bag in Sung-geun’s butcher shop below his apartment. Now, Seung-hoon must figure out if his landlords are serial killers, something his neck of the woods used to be synonymous for.
Well Go USA chops Bluebeard onto a 25GB disc with no special features. That being said, it still leaves plenty of disc room for a less than two hour run-time and a DTS:X track to breathe. With a healthy digital shine, the film looks fantastic. Detail is razor sharp with no aliasing to speak of. With such a dreary and cold color palette, colors are still natural enough with blood and raw meat looking nice and red. Crush is never an issue with blacks solid leaving visible shadow detail. Banding appears in just a few blink-and-you’ll-miss them instances.
The DTS:X track — downsampled to 7.1 DTS-HD for those without the extra speakers — is also as subdued as the cinematography. Another case of overkill as the film is extremely dialogue heavy making the audio track excessive and unnecessary. Not even most big budget action films are getting DTS:X or Dolby Atmos mixes on Blu-ray so there’s absolutely no need for it with a slow-paced murder mystery. A 2.0 Korean Dolby Digital track is also included, along with English-only subtitles.
Bluebeard is not the kind of movie you’ll want to watch again the second it’s over to fill in the pieces. Everything makes enough sense — whether you like it or not — by the last frame. Unfortunately, it’s really not even worth the first viewing. Plodding and overly plotted, writer/director Lee Soo-youn leaves nothing to the imagination by the time the credits roll so even if you decide to watch it once, you’ll never watch it again. If it shows up in your Netflix recommendations it could be worth considering. It fails miserably at trying to be the next great mind trip with an ending that leaves you thinking, that was it?