Corruption, Revenge, Redemption: Two From Drafthouse Films On July 23

Two hard-hitting thrillers hit DVD + Blu-ray this month from Drafthouse Films: Ron Morales' seedy crime thriller GRACELAND and Kim Ki-duk's Golden Lion-winning PIETA.

The flipside to Drafthouse Films' more outrageous (Klown) and face-ripping (Miami Connection) sensibilities is our fascination with the darker truths of the human condition. Michael Roskam's testosterone-fueled Bullhead explores the inner bruised masculinity of a man haunted by his tramatic past. Wake In Fright, an existential "horror" masterpiece set in the Australian outback, follows a schoolteacher's demoralizing descent into self-discovery at the hands of drunken, deranged derelicts. Ron Morales' Graceland (spine No. 10) and Kim Ki-Duk’s Pieta (spine No. 11) explore some of those themes and their arrival on home video perfectly timed to counter the sunny weather.

Graceland, a “nerve-shredding” (NYT) Filipino neo-noir, showcases the seediest elements of Manila and the desperation of a working class family man as he attempts to rescue his wrongly-kidnapped daughter. Morales’ second film proves himself as a burgeoning directorial talent as he evokes moving performances from his actors, namely the tortured protagonist Marlon Villar.

With Graceland’s portrayal of the corruption of the Manilan upper-crust and its effects on the lower classes, Variety’s Richard Kupiers describes the film best: “A potent combo of hostage thriller and high-impact morality play.” From corrupt politicians to seedy underage prostitution, there’s a complexity to the unraveling of morality - the structure goes beyond a simple downward spiral, as the film eventually indicts almost each of its characters. While Hollywood films spin such ambiguity as a gimmick, Graceland treats it as an absolute, brutal fact of life.

Winner of the Golden Lion at the 2012 Venice International Film Festival, Kim Ki-Duk’s eighteenth feature Pieta fits thematically with the rest of his oeuvre. Kang-do (Jeong-jin Lee) is a nihilistic loan shark with no purpose in life besides his sadistic work, until a woman claiming to be his mother (a powerful Min-soo Jo) appears at his doorstep. What initially seems like a story about the relationship between mother and son, the film is equally about the cruel relationship between money and life.

Pieta is certainly not for the faint of heart. At a screening of Pieta at the Smithsonian Institute, we were informed of a couple of fainting incidents: “Both people apparently just stumbled out into the lobby and collapsed. One guy said something about the intensity of the images causing all the energy to drain out of his body.” 

Both film are likely to stick with you for a long after your initial viewing. Pre-order both hard-hitting thrillers here: Pieta here and Graceland here. Or if you sign up for The Drafthouse Alliance membership program today you will receive copies of both. 

And check out both reversible sleeves designs, Graceland by Jay Shaw and Pieta by AllCity Media:

Special Features include: 

  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Ron Morales, Producers and more
  • A Life For Every Lie: The Making of Graceland
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Ending
  • 16-Page Booklet
  • High quality 720p HD Digital Download of the Film

Special Features include:

  • Audio Commentary with Director Kim Ki-duk, Cho Min-soo and Lee Jung-jin
  • God, Have Mercy On Us - Interviews with Kim Ki-duk, Cho Min-soo and Lee Jung-jin
  • Winning the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice Film Festival
  • Behind the Scenes Featurettes
  • Filmography of Kim Ki-duk
  • Trailers
  • 16-Page Booklet
  • High quality 720p HD Digital Download of the Film