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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Il Divo [Blu-ray]


(Paolo Sorrentino, 2008)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Indigo Film

Video: MPI Home Video



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

Runtime: 1:57:56.069

Disc Size: 22,067,839,020 bytes

Feature Size: 19,097,217,024 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.85 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 27th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Dolby Digital Audio Italian 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps



English, none



• Making Of Il Divo (31:09 in SD - Italian with optional English subtitles)

'F/X Reel' (7:18 in SD - Italian with optional English subtitles)

• Deleted Scenes (11:56 in SD - Italian with optional English subtitles)

• Interview with director Paolo Sorrentino (12:15 in SD - Italian with optional English subtitles)





Description: For more than 50 years, he has been Italy's most powerful, feared and enigmatic politician. And as Giulio Andreotti begins his seventh term as Prime Minister, he and his hardliner faction take control of a country reeling from the brazen murders of several high-level bankers, judges and journalists, as well as the kidnapping and assassination of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro. But as the Christian Democrat party crumbles in a nationwide bribery scandal, suspicion begins to fall on Andreotti himself as the center of a shocking conspiracy involving the Vatican, the Mafia and the secret neo-Fascist Masonic Lodge P2. In what is called 'The Trial of the Century', Italy's legendary Senator for Life will stand accused of corruption, collusion and murder.



The Film:

What is astonishing is that a film like this could be made about a man still living. One imagines Andreotti reflecting that it only enhances his larger-than-life image. His Christian Democrats ruled postwar Italy until 1992, by which time the party was in such disrepute that it no longer survives. Yet he prevails. He prevails, and the legend is only enhanced by the great performance here by Toni Servillo, an actor who succeeds in making him hypnotizing by supplying him with an almost cheerful lack of the slightest magnetism. Here was a man who suppressed the usual charm of a politician, perhaps aware he worked better as an enigma. Was he thinking of himself when he famously said, “You sin in thinking bad about people; but, often, you guess right.”

The film proceeds like a black comedy version of "The Godfather," crossed with Oliver Stone’s "Nixon." It assembles a roll call of figures in postwar Italian politics, society and crime, uses an abundance of names and dates in captions, and makes us despair of keeping track until we realize we’re not intended to — the purpose of all these facts is simply to evoke the sheer scope and breadth of Andreotti’s machinations. The more we learn, the more fascinated we become, as Servillo portrays him as poker-faced, hunched, impassive, observing all, revealing little, wise and cynical beyond measure. Imagine Dick Cheney without the jolly charisma.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun_Times located HERE



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

Along with the abundantly stylish cinematography this single-layered Blu-ray from MPI of Sorrentino's Il Divo produces a wonderful image presentation in 1080P. It shows remarkable clarity in the many close-ups and there is a fine sheen of consistent grain giving the canvas a pleasing texture. This is really quite an impressive looking transfer. Skin tones seem accurate and contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. There is frequent depth and no intrusive noise. This is definitely one of the better looking Blu-ray discs that I have seen in a long while. I see no DNR or edge-enhancement manipulations and I expect the image advances handily over any existing DVD renditions. Suitable to the film this is a 'powerfully strong' visual transfer.



















Audio :

Unfortunately the audio is not at the same level as the video with a choice between only a standard 5.1 at 448 kbps or a less dynamic 2.0 channel. A 'lossless' HD track would particularly benefit the poignant scene early in the film with Andreotti walking the streets under heavy bodyguard while the precise "Pavane in F-sharp minor op. 50" plays uninterrupted - dominating the aura. Actually there is a lot of great and diverse music in the film from plenty of wonderful classical (Sibelius, Vivaldi, Fauré and more) to Trio's ridiculously addictive 'da da da' as the end credits roll. There is some separation in the 5.1 and the track obviously supports some rear speaker violence/aggression. The mix is okay but the film deserved a more buoyant track. There are only optional English subtitles - no other choices - and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.




Extras :

The supplements seem standard fare - all being in Italian with optional English subtitles. We get a half hour Making Of Il Divo with input from much of the cast/crew. More specific on production is the 7-minute "F/X Reel' and there are also 12 minutes of deleted scenes that didn't seem as relevant to the narrative. I got the most out of the lone interview with director Paolo Sorrentino running for another dozen minutes. He talks with some passion about the project and covers some interesting details. It's worth a visitation.



Il Divo is an intriguing and ambitious political bio-pic done with some unique flair by the filmmakers. I was reminded of Gomorrah if only being a thoroughly engrossing modern Italian film. I loved the look on Blu-ray which produced a tremendous presentation. The style evokes a humorous quality that only further identifies the underlying tragedy. I envy those who see this for the first time and I recommend it to all!  

Gary Tooze

October 14th, 2009




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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