Bitter Sweet – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director

Mitsuru Meike

Cast

Konatsu………Shoko
Hitoshi Ishikawa………Kudo
Yumika Hayashi………Keiko
Kazuhiro Sano………Yoshida
Minami Aiyama………Mika
Takuya Fukushima………Tamura

DVD Release Date: September 25, 2007
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 64 Minutes

The Movie

Shoko is a young Japanese woman that is days from getting married. Her soon to be husband is a successful and attractive businessman that wishes to give her everything. Yet her mind is elsewhere when he goes away on a business trip. When she goes to get the application for marriage, she notices a man getting a divorce application at the same time. It would not be the last time their paths would cross.

One night when she goes out to eat with her friend Mika; the restaurant they happen to go to is owned by the same man she bumped into earlier, Kudo. Their eyes meet and later that night Shoko would return for a romp in the kitchen with him. This one incident would lead to a chain of events that’s affect both their lives and everyone associated with them as infidelity can ruin many good things.

Bitter Sweet is an abomination of a film. It is virtually the story of six people who have all caused some type of infidelity and are cheating on one another in a huge circle. There are fiances cheating on fiances. Husbands cheating on wives. Husbands that have sons that aren’t really their own. And best friends sleeping with their best friend’s men. The worst thing about the film is that it portrays all of this cheating in a way so that it wants the viewers to feel pity for everyone, especially Shoko. It displays how sad she is and how hurt and how confused she is as if she is a little lost soul. I feel no pity for her because she started this whole mess so she should end up with nothing.

Just trying to follow along with the story alone is a huge pain because it jumps around so much and is chock full of plot holes. One second a couple will be talking and the next second a random drunk guy walks in and takes a swing at one of them. Only three scenes later do we find out why, but for a while there it was downright confusing. And if the true life Japanese ways of consoling someone are what goes on in the film, then consider me confused. I just find it odd that someone is on the verge of tears with their life falling apart and fellatio is a better way to make them feel better instead of a much needed hug.

If they hadn’t come out the same year, I’d swear that this film was intended to be the Japanese version of Closer, but not done nearly as well.

The Video

The film is shown in 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and looks both good and bad. During close-ups and such, things look really crisp and clear. Yet during far away or even normal distance shots, the picture becomes quite grainy and old looking. It’s as if it was filmed half with a good camera and half with a handheld. The random moments of shaky, jumpy cam didn’t help at all either.

The Audio

The film is heard in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Sound and never has it been harder to get judgment on the audio to a film. There is virtually no music at all and at times there isn’t any sound even though plenty is happening on screen. The dialogue can be heard alright at times with well-timed English subtitles, but sometimes the volume goes really low for a line or two.

Special Features

Pink Cinema Introduction – A three paragraph introduction all about Pink Cinema which in a nutshell is Japan’s creative take on erotica when extreme censorship took place starting in the sixties. Pink Cinema decided to take the route of the sadist and show the dark and disturbing side of both romance and erotica.

Short Film: Japanese Box – Ok, this is a fifteen minute short film and I really have no idea what the hell is going on in it. Two girls are in a house of some sort with a box that seems to have evil things happen from it. Two English voices narrate, but don’t really talk about what is happening on screen. It seems like a shortened cheap version of Ringu to some extent.

Stills Gallery: Japanese Box – This feature is exactly what it says it is and consists of some still frames from the short film.

“Blood & Dishonour” Book Teaser – Still images from a soon to be released book about the dark, bloody, and perversely erotic world of the satanic sluts. Wow.

Stills – Six images from Bitter Sweet.

TrailersThe Iron Rose and Hurt

The Inside Pulse

This is just a total waste of time, money, and space. If not for the high amount of nudity and semi-interesting sex scenes, the film would get a big goose egg. From what I can gather, the filmmakers were going for porn but trying to make it have an actual plot. Well, they failed on all counts. It is softcore porn at best and the story is nothing but three affairs and jumps around so much that it doesn’t even make much sense. Never in my life has it been so thrilling to have a film end up as short as Bitter Sweet did. Not quite sure I could have taken any more of it. The special features are rather worthless too, but it’s not like I expected much. Avoid at all costs because even though the entire DVD consists of maybe two hours of stuff; that’s still two hours of your life you’ll never get back for good use.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Bitter Sweet
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

1
THE VIDEO

5
THE AUDIO

6
THE EXTRAS

3
REPLAY VALUE

0
OVERALL
1.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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