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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Identity [Blu-ray]

 

(James Mangold, 2003)

 

 

Production:

Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Video: Sony Home Video

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:30:02.397

Disc Size: 33,025,555,004 bytes

Feature Size: 30,276,532,224 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.50 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 3rd, 2007

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.4:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 4608 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4608 kbps / 16-bit
DUB: LPCM Audio German 4608 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4608 kbps / 16-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -3dB
Dolby Digital Audio German 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -2dB
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:
English SDH, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, Hungarian, Korean, Thai, none

Extras:

• Screen-specific audio commentary with director Mangold

• New Screenwriter commentary (Michael Cooney)
• Deleted Scenes with optional director commentary (in 1080!)
• Storyboard comparisons (in 1080!)
• 'Making Of...' Featurette: 'Starz on the Set' (not in hi-def)

 

Synopsis: What if every choice we ever make was already made for us? What if there really were no coincidences in life and our destinies were already predetermined? Ten strangers with secrets are brought together in a savage rainstorm: A limo driver (John Cusack), an '80s TV star (Rebecca DeMornay), a cop (Ray Liotta) who is transporting a killer (Jake Busey), a call girl (Amanda Peet), a pair of newlyweds (Clea DuVall and William Lee Scott) and a family in crisis (John C. McGinley, Leila Kenzle, Bret Loehr), all take shelter at a desolate motel run by a nervous night manager (John Hawkes). Relief in finding shelter is quickly replaced with fear as the ten travelers begin to die, one by one. They soon realize that, if they are to survive, they'll have to uncover the secret that has brought them all together...

 

The Film:

Here's a Hollywood thriller with a very capable cast, a devious script juggling a host of characters, and top level studio production values, all of which combine to launch a big twist about two-thirds through. But initial admiration soon fades into a feeling of emptiness. Michael Cooney's bustling screenplay is obviously inspired by Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians, as disparate travellers converge at a remote motel on a stormy night, only to find their number whittled away one by one. Among the increasingly fearful flotsam, limo driver Cusack, fugitive call girl Peet and hassled cop Liotta seem likely to survive longest in the face of the escalating body count. There are things to enjoy. Cusack is all nuts and bolts professionalism, as he delivers screeds of deftly disguised exposition. Spirited direction milks the isolated tumbledown setting for copper-bottomed suspense and almost masks the mechanical aspect of one inventively grisly demise following another. The scheming narrative ably marshals teasing red herrings and diversionary ruses before hitting us with a doozy of a reversal.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE.

 

 

 

 

The Video:   NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Strong image quality on this dual-layered, MPEG-4 AVC, Blu-ray transfer from Sony. The film is very dark throughout most scenes and the 1080P resolution supports the contrast and shadow details exceptionally well. This is one of the better film images I have seen in the new formats. Colors are tight and detail remarkable at times in close-up. Some textured grain is visible. If I was giving a numeric rating it would be 4.0/5 with only some very minor noise and a few crushed blacks stopping a higher score. This is a decent visual presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio:

There is an excellent uncompressed PCM 5.1 track at 4608 kbps included as an option with a standard 5.1 and some DUBs (note one of the German options gives an uncompressed PCM option as well). There are significant background sounds (it is raining through most of the film) so the separated audio presentation greatly benefits. The action and gore are fairly limited and the subtle use of jumpy sound cues helps the suspense-driven narrative. Dialogue was clear throughout and I didn't have to touch the volume control once. It is supported by a host of subtitle options (supporting the region FREE status) including English SDH, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, Hungarian, Korean and Thai. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras:
There is one major addition beyond those included from the SD version which include a screen-specific commentary from Mangold. It's not stupendous but he makes some decent points - focusing a lot of the characterizations. "Starz: On the Set" is a very brief, uninspired, 13-minute slap-dash promo-like making of with some soundbites to cap it off - feel free to give this a miss. There are 4 deleted scenes with optional Mangold commentary - they aren't particularly relevant to the final product but are in HD! - which is a nice touch. Also in HD are three Storyboard Comparisons entitled "George's Death", "Lou's Demise" and "Rhodes' Backstory." There are also some 'Coming to' trailers but not one for 'Identity'.

New for Blu-ray is screenwriter Michael Cooney's commentary and I enjoyed it more than the old one from Mangold. He makes some intelligent observations and is a guy who apparently know his stuff. A very pleasant inclusion.     

Menus / Extras

BOTTOM LINE: Director Mangold (as in 3:10 to Yuma) seems quite adept at skirting around the Hollywood brand - in this case the obvious horror-thriller dynamic elements. While at the same time retaining marketing-appeal fragments with some creativity, and in the end presenting an adept, thought-provoking and entertaining piece of work that is less damaged than might otherwise be expected because of encapsulation within the studio system. There is craftsmanship here to be sure and the writing is strong while performances are noteworthy. This is no masterpiece and has some flaws but they are easily eclipsed by the, often brilliant, formula deviations and aura. The film has an obvious darkness which juxtaposes a well-lit psychological adventure into the human mind. I really enjoyed it - even a second time. The Blu-ray is one of Sony's early high-definition forays - but a competent one. The image is the best available, audio is strong and the extras complete a great package. Yes, I strongly recommend.

Gary Tooze

 

 

 

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About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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