H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Requiem For a Dream [Blu-ray]

 

(Darren Aronofsky, 2000)

 

Alliance (Canada) - Region 'A' Blu-ray vs. Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray (in RED)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Universal

Video: Alliance (Universal) vs. Lionsgate

Disc:

Region: 'A' / Region FREE (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:41:34.088 / 1:41:25.913

Disc Size: 15,994,784,719 bytes   / 37,776,372,519 bytes

Feature Size: 15,925,155,840 bytes / 32,172,263,424 bytes

Video Bitrate: 16.91 Mbps / 34.97 Mbps

Chapters: 33 / 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 3rd, 2009 / September 8th, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 / 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080P (same for both)

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video (same for both)

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3815 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3815 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
DUB: Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps

 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 4696 kbps 7.1 / 48 kHz / 4696 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

French, None / English, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• None

 

Commentary with Director Darren Aronofsky
Commentary with DoP Matthew Libatique
Featurette - The Making of 'Requiem for a Dream' (35:24 in SD)
Featurette - Memories, Dreams, & Addictions: Ellen Burstyn Interviewing author Hubert Selby (19:56 in SD)
9 deleted scenes with optional commentary by Aronofsky
Trailers

 

Bitrate:

 

 

 

Description: Employing shock techniques and sound design in a relentless sensory assault, Requiem for a Dream is about nothing less than the systematic destruction of hope. Based on the novel by Hubert Selby Jr., and adapted by Selby and director Darren Aronofsky, this is undoubtedly one of the most effective films ever made about the experience of drug addiction (both euphoric and nightmarish), and few would deny that Aronofsky, in following his breakthrough film Pi, has pushed the medium to a disturbing extreme, thrusting conventional narrative into a panic zone of traumatized psyches and bodies pushed to the furthest boundaries of chemical tolerance. It's too easy to call this a cautionary tale; it's a guided tour through hell, with Aronofsky as our bold and ruthless host.

 

 

The Film:

"Every year, there seems to be one film that kicks you in the stomach and leaves your head reeling. In 1999, it was Tim Roth's profoundly disturbing, unforgettable The War Zone. This year, it's Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream, one of the most forceful anti-drug narratives ever to be committed to celluloid. To call this movie a cautionary tale would be to apply a label that is too tame -- Requiem for a Dream presents the darkest take imaginable on a story of hopes and dreams shattered by drug addiction. There's no preaching or sermonizing here, just an almost-clinical depiction of lives laid to waste. This is not a film for the weak of mind or soul. Even in the midst of the whirlwind of a film festival, when I was seeing four films a day and the tendency was for everything to blur into a continuum, this one stuck out, demanding attention and rumination. It is a force to be reckoned with.

As he proved with his art house success, Pi, Aronofsky is not afraid to take chances, and Requiem for a Dream represents a big one. Based on the novel by Hubert Selby Jr., this movie was granted the MPAA's NC-17 "kiss of death" for its uncompromising portrayal of the depths to which some people will sink to get their fix. No punches are pulled, no images "prettied up". Undaunted by the MPAA's hypocritical and senseless stance, Aronofsky appealed the rating, rightfully claiming that cutting any portion of the film would dilute, if not outright destroy, its message. The appeal was denied, but Artisan, in a move that affirms their commitment to art over commercialism (at least in this case) has decided to release the film unrated.

Excerpt from James Berardinelli at REELViews located HERE

 

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

NOTE: ADDITION - Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - It's always fun to compare 1080P transfers but as we suspected this film could, and does, look a lot better on Blu-ray than the initial offering by Alliance. Colors are brighter, it's significantly more detailed and just looks a whole lot better via the Lionsgate transfer. There may have been some sharpening but it isn't overly obvious. More grain is visible in the intentionally coarse, gritty scenes. It's not much of a comparison in regards to image - the Alliance is blown away with far less than half the feature file size and less than half its bitrate. The Lionsgate is in the original 1.85 and is dual-layered and progressive. Detail and contrast are the most significant upgrades to the visuals.

 

ON THE ALLIANCE (written March 09'): Requiem For  Dream on Blu-ray isn't yet available on Amazon.com and this is a typical bare-bones release from Alliance in Canada (available at Amazon.ca that does deliver to the US). Unlike some other Alliance releases this is progressive (1080P) - NOT interlaced. But as with the other Canuck Blu-rays - like From Dusk Till Dawn, Good Will Hunting, Cold Mountain etc.- this is single-layered but puny in size at only around 16 Gig of space. This came out on an Artisan SD-DVD in 2001 that suffered from some boosting and other limitations of that format. We've added one matched capture below to indicate the orangey skin tones and slight contrast enhancement of the older disc. While the Artisan wasn't strong - I wouldn't say this is either. A softness remains and I suspect this Blu-ray transfer could look a lot better. There were a couple of instances of heavy noise but close-ups are the most impressive in regards to detail. Colors seem far more true than the DVD edition but seem dull at times. The image quality seems fairly flat but is consistent and at least in the correct (close at 1.78 instead of 1.85) aspect ratio (unlike Se7en).

 

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

 

1) Artisan (Director's Cut) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray grabs

 

1) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - TOP

2) Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - TOP

2) Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - TOP

2) Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - TOP

2) Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - TOP

2) Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - TOP

2) Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - TOP

2) Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - TOP

2) Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - TOP

2) Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - TOP

2) Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - TOP

2) Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Alliance (Universal) - Region 'A' Blu-ray - TOP

2) Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Audio :

There are no DUBs on the Lionsgate but the DTS-HD Master 7.1 at an enormous 4696 kbps sounds perfect. The Alliance track was strong but this has even more bass and buoyancy. The track's music benefits the most. There are optional English or Spanish subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide where the Alliance is 'A'-locked. Not as a significant an improvement as the video transfer but it's still an obvious winner.

 

We are given a DTS-Master 5.1 at 3815 kbps and a standard Dolby Digital 5.1. Where I noticed the bump of the mix most was in the music with the sharp, punctuating violins and Clint Mansell's original score. I didn't note an extensive amount of separations but overall the sound was crisp and defined. There is a French 5.1 DUB and French subtitles offered.

 

 

 

Extras :

The Lionsgate is stacked with two commentaries (original, older one from Aronofsky, a second by the DoP Matthew Libatique), two featurettes that run close to an hour and a handful of deleted scenes - plus trailers. Since the Alliance offered nothing - it wouldn't be hard to best it - but these supplements are still great... if duplicated from the previous DVDs.

 

Again - a solid nutt'in not even a theatrical trailer. To be fair the original price reflected this limitation.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:

Lionsgate crushes the inferior Alliance in every area and it's less than $10! N'uff said - a great deal, haunting film (yes Darren - okay, okay, we know - drugs are BAD!). Strongly recommended!

 
Once again this is a price-to-value ratio decision. The Blu-ray, while not ideal, is progressive and ahead of the DVD in both audio and visual departments.  At the writing of this review -  $16.99 CAD = $13.19 US which could be as much of an enticement as some people require. For the impacting film looking and sounding better than ever before on digital it seems we must recommend at this price despite the lack of supplements or English subtitle option.  

Gary Tooze

September 6th, 2009

March 2nd, 2009

 

Alliance (Canada) - Region 'A' Blu-ray vs. Lionsgate - Region FREE Blu-ray (in RED)

 


 

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 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 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:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze

 

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