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The Scarlet Letter (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
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Customer Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6.5 out of 10 (2)
All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7.5 out of 10 (13)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Complex emotional relationships and human nature's darker sides are explored in this captivating suspense drama about a cop whose lust for love threatens to get in the way of his professional life. Ki Hoon (Han Suk Kyu) is a guy who doesn't mind an erotic adventure or two. Even though he is married to the charming and beautiful Soo Hyun, he engages in a passionate affair with his wife's friend, night club singer Ka Hee (Lee Eun Joo). As if things weren't complicated enough, he also starts to fall for murder suspect Kyung Hee, whom he believe may be involved in the killing of her husband.

Directed by Daniel H. Byun (Interview), The Scarlet Letter is perhaps now most remembered as actress Lee Eun Joo's last film. The star of such films as Taegugki and Bunjee Jumping of Their Own, Lee committed suicide shortly after shooting the film. Her co-star in the film, Han Suk Kyu, is one of Korea's most respected character actors, having previously appeared in such blockbusters as Shiri and Green Fish, which won him Best Actor awards at both the Blue Dragon Awards and the Daejong Film Festival in 1997. The Scarlet Letter also attracted a lot of attention for its explicit lovemaking scenes.

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Technical Information

Product Title: The Scarlet Letter (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) 赤色誘惑 (DVD) (香港版) 赤色诱惑 (DVD) (香港版) スカーレット・レター (The Scarlet Letter)(香港版) The Scarlet Letter (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Han Suk Kyu | Lee Eun Joo | Sung Hyun Ah | Uhm Ji Won | Daniel Byun 韓石圭 | 李恩宙 | 成賢荷 | 嚴智媛 | 邊赫 韩石圭 | 李恩宙 | Sung Hyun Ah | 严智媛 | 边赫 ハン・ソッキュ | イ・ウンジュ | ソン・ヒョナ | オム・ジウォン | Daniel Byun 한 석규 | 이 은주 | 성 현아 | 엄 지원 | 변혁
Release Date: 2005-03-24
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Country of Origin: South Korea
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen, 1.78 : 1
Sound Information: Dolby Digital
Disc Format(s): DVD-9, DVD
Region Code: All Region What is it?
Rating: II
Duration: 118 (mins)
Publisher: Winson Entertainment Distribution Ltd.(HK)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1003975443

Product Information

* Screen Format: 16:9 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
* Sound Mix: Dolby Digital 5.1
* DVD Type: DVD-9
* Extra:
- Interview 訪問
- Poster Shooting 海報拍攝
- Pusan International Film Festival 釜山電影節
- Trailer 本片預告

Director: Daniel H. Byun



  Ki Hoon (Han Suk Kyu) is a criminal investigator, intelligent and with animal instincts. He has a submissive wife, Soo-hyun (Uhm Ji-woo), and a passionate mistress, Ka Hee(Lee Eun Joo). Ki Hoon feels guilty, yet continues to move back and forth between these two women, who also happen to be schoolmates from high school. One day Ki Hoon goes to a murder scene and there he meets Kyung Hee (Sung Hyun Ah), a woman accused of murdering her husband...

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "The Scarlet Letter (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

August 12, 2009

This professional review refers to The Scarlet Letter (DVD) (Special Edition) (Korea Version)
Originally released in 2004 and now being re-issued on DVD, The Scarlet Letter is sadly best known for having been the last film of feature actress Lee Eun Joo, who took her own life shortly after production had been completed. Bearing no relation to the famous novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne with which it shares its title, the complex drama also marked the third and last directorial effort to date from Daniel H. Byun, previously responsible for Interview. Although not particularly popular upon its original domestic run, in part due to its adult themes and content, the film has since enjoyed a successful international release, and has brought in more curious viewers, no doubt mainly due to the tragic real life events which followed - a shame, since the film is a superior and mature mystery in its own right, which although flawed stands out from the crowd of the usual Korean melodramas.

The plot revolves around a temptation-prone cop called Ki Hoon (respected actor Han Suk Kyu, also in Shiri and Green Fish), who likes to play the field despite being married to the lovely beautiful Soo Hyun (Uhm Ji Won, Scout, Mutt Boy), carrying on an affair with her best friend, nightclub singer Ka Hee (the tragic Lee Eun Joo, who had previously starred in Taegugki and Bungee Jumping of Their Own). As if things weren't complicated enough, he finds himself falling for murder suspect Kyung Hee (star of Hello and Kim Ki Duk's Time), who may or may not have murdered her husband. His investigation unearths not only secrets about the case, but also about himself and the women in his life, and he is forced to face up to a series of uncomfortable, not to mention potentially deadly revelations.

With its dark mixture of cop thriller, murder mystery and character drama, The Scarlet Letter can be seen as a forerunner to the recent trend of modern noir films. The film certainly features a twisted and complex plot, which packs in plenty of ambiguity and hidden motivations, with director Byun doing his very best to toy with the audience. Even experienced and genre-savvy viewers may find themselves surprised by some of the developments during the final act, and although many of these do verge on the ridiculous, the film is gripping right through to the satisfyingly dark ending. The tone is pretty grim throughout, and the film is pleasingly devoid of the usual melodramatic copouts which tend to blight so many Korean genre films, with Byun keeping his nerve and managing to make a few nihilistic statements about temptation, obsession and human weakness.

This having been said, the plot does meander somewhat, and frequently heads off on odd tangents, and Byun does seem more interested in his characters than in the actual murder itself. This is by no means a bad thing, and the film actually benefits from this approach, with Ki Hoon making for a fascinatingly flawed protagonist who is by no means a traditional nice guy, being thoroughly amoral and vain, and only really having himself to blame for his many woes. Lee Eun Joo turns in a solid performance, though it's hard not to relate her role with the personal pain she may have been going through at the time, and this gives her character an unavoidably haunted feel which pervades much of the film.

The film is visually polished with a handsome look, and Byun again goes for a distinctly noir feel. Many of the scenes are under-lit, and the dark and smoky locations make for a suitably moody atmosphere that fits well with the themes. The film is an adult affair, being quite violent and grisly in places, especially towards the end, and featuring some graphic nudity and sexual content. None of these scenes are gratuitous, and if anything the film veers towards the art house rather than the exploitative, with sexual politics and confusion playing an important role. The Scarlet Letter may disappoint viewers lured in by the promise of its visceral content, as its focus is firmly on its tangled web of psychological intrigue rather than cheap titillation. Dark and twisted, it still stands as one of the more ambitious and interesting mystery thrillers to have come from Korea in recent years, and provides a sad reminder of the talent that was lost in Lee Eun Joo.

by James Mudge -

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Customer Review of "The Scarlet Letter (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for this Edition: Customer Review Rated Bad 6 - 6.5 out of 10 (2)
Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7.5 out of 10 (13)

cuddley bear
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September 28, 2009

clever script Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
I wrote a very bad review three years ago. Then I heard that one of the main female characters committed sucide because she couldn't get herself out of the role. That was when I decided to watch again. Second time round I had a complete different view. Perhaps I was very confused with the girls who all look alike the first time I watched. Once you sorted out who's who, you will begin the appreciate all the clever twists and it will leave you speechless towards the end. So just get yourself a copy and sit back to enjoy this sort of brilliant film.
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July 25, 2007

This customer review refers to The Scarlet Letter (DVD) (Special Edition) (Korea Version)
3 people found this review helpful

A Scar-let 'Car Crash' Customer Review Rated Bad 9 - 9 out of 10
An interesting thing I read on a web site (although I couldn't cross reference this), was that due to Eun Joo Lee having anxieties about the singing of the Corr's song "Only When I Sleep" which features in the night club scene in the movie, her close friend Bada had helped her with her interpretation of the song and even attended on set to give her solid support when she finally came to shooting the scenes - as Eun Joo was quite nervous about having the exposure of singing like this and got support from Bada. And sing well and perform excellently she did, not only with the song, but with the performance of her character as a whole. But with Bada, that was one really positive and wonderful thing to read about and shone a light on, so to speak, this unfairly merited movie, due to the tragedy regarding Eun Joo's death and this film's possible influence.

I do like Eun Joo so much and, I admit, considering her loss and this movie's relation to that loss, I could at times want to smack it, but I still think that its so unfair for this film to be thought negatively, such that it has been. Its unfair on the other people who helped make it - Daniel H. Byun, Suk Kyu Han, Hyun Ah Seong, Ji Won Eon and everybody really - and I am sure that this film isn't on its own a causation of EJL's death. Eun Joo apparently couldn't come out of her character role and, in hindsight, wasn't exactly happy with it, but her insomnia and depression wouldn't have been due to a negative character persona alone, more a commixture of stresses and frustrations of not being able focus on her career (she didn't want to enter into anything other than films, really) and couldn't feel she could move on - it was her indecision in the main.

The movie is strong and hard though. When I first saw Suk Kyu in the opening scene as the police captain driving hastily along listening to the operatic aria by Verdi (from "The Force of Destiny") and the impactive abrasion of his brittle character has as he drives angrily towards a murder scene, I anticipated all this to be one extreme ride also in a metaphorical sense, that his life and the lives of the other protagonists in "TSL" were going to 'crash' disastrously by all their actions - and with an unforgettable consequences at the finish. Its a dark thriller with a focus on highly emotional and destructively charged characters, crossing social and forbidden emotional barriers. Ki Hoon is married but as an affair with a night club singer Ka Hee (Eun Joo) and both become pregnant by him. Its all a commixture of affairs in a dark ambiance of deceit, lies, jealousies and adultery, but in ultra self destructive impassioned sexual relations. It is a police procedural drama, too, but only as a back drop to the partial character study of Ki Hoon's nature - the murder investigation isn't the main plot. (Don't have enough room to go on about Kyung Hee here) His wife, a cello performer is a docile wife who cannot give the type of love that Ki Hoon requires and his liaisons with Ka Hee (Eun Joo) is what fires his emotional desire to have an affair. Its not a romantic film in any way at all, its all negative love / needful want and lust and touches on sexual ambiguity, lesbianism as well as an adulterous affair, and the final tragedy (that 'car crash' scene) is one not to forget easily after the movie concludes.

The production values are again impeccable and the cinematography is what you would expect from Korean technical skill. Acting is well performed and this is one of Eun Joo's best performances although I do get niggles that somehow her mistress character was slightly out of field for her. I do think that Hyun Ah and Ji Won have shone better in other later movies, as their roles are much sparser than Eun Joo's and Suk Kye's, and they don't get really much scope here. They may seem robotic - but they don't get enough rope. Suk Kye is excellent and although a difficult character to appreciate, that role is well played. Overall, the characters here aren't going to be very likable, apart from maybe Su Hyun (Ji Won) as Ki Hoon's pregnant wife and the whole tragedy is a multi layered bitter pill to swallow. Its well written, but its so dark to be likened to a poisoned chalice, the apple from the garden of the fall depicted in a bunch of sordid characters representing dark emotional destitution. Well, apart from Su Hyun. If a 'car' is the correct metaphor for people here on the edge, they all crash disastrously. It could be harsher than some of Park Chan Wook's movies and certainly one of the darkest Korean movies I have seen. In a way, do I wish Eun Joo hadn't made this film?...absolutely 100% Yes. But could her Achilles heel have been something else?
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cuddley bear
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June 12, 2007

This customer review refers to The Scarlet Letter (VCD) (Hong Kong Version)
1 people found this review helpful

forget it Customer Review Rated Bad 4 - 4 out of 10
Sex, blood, infidelity - all there except that this is by no means a good movie. I am not sure if the writer knows how he wants the movie to develope either. It is indeed weird. I suggest you pick another film.
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August 31, 2006

This customer review refers to The Scarlet Letter (DVD) (Special Edition) (Korea Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Different Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
Quite different from the other movies i've seen. Thrilling and grossed at the same time. But this is quite a challenging role for the actors who find themselves imprisoned inside the car trunk. Very convincing that i felt too frightened. Don't fail to watch this movie.
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February 4, 2006

1 people found this review helpful

sexual, twisted & boring Customer Review Rated Bad 5 - 5 out of 10
this movie most definitely included sex scenes thus the earli rumor about eun joo's reason for suicide..but overall, i found this movie PREEETY boring :T ill admit that there were parts that just jumped out @ me that i never expected, but overall, the movie was pretty boring. i dont think i got the meaning of the ending real well either, it was just...weird. :T
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