|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
The Narrows [Blu-ray]
(François Velle, 2008)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Olympus Pictures
Video: Image Entertainment
Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 22,357,363,392 bytes
Feature Size: 17,818,324,992 bytes
Video Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 3rd, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1836 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1836 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
English (SDH), Spanish, none
•Commentary with Director Francois Velle & Writer Tatiana Blackington
• Behind-the-scenes interviews (about 45-minutes)
Description: "The Narrows" is the story of a young man facing one of life's most important crossroads. Mike Manadoro, a 19-year-old from Brooklyn, will do almost anything to get out of his neighborhood and to study photography at a Manhattan university. The problem is Mike's father Vinny, a retired sanitation worker, does not have the financial means to support his son's dream. So when local mob boss Tony offers Mike a high paying job, he takes it. Mike enters college at the same time as he begins delivering mysterious packages for Tony. Juggling new friendships, old loyalties, a new romance and the world of small-time crime, Mike's choices begin to result in dangerous and potentially fatal consequences for himself and everyone around him.
Awfully familiar yet superbly acted, The Narrows follows sensitive bad boy Mike Manadoro (Kevin Zegers) as he reluctantly takes on a job delivering packages for a shady mobster (Titus Welliver's Tony) in an effort to pay for college tuition - much to the chagrin of his connected father, Vinny (Vincent D'Onofrio). Mike's relationship with a pretty fellow student (Sophia Bush's Kathy) only complicates matters, and it's not long before the aspiring photographer finds himself caught between two worlds. It's a pretty standard storyline that's consistently elevated by the uniformly compelling performances, with Zegers' strong work certainly matched by the efforts of his various costars (D'Onofrio's expectedly idiosyncratic turn remains a highlight).Excerpt from ReelFilm's TIFF log located HERE
It's a fairly unremarkable image interspersed with some interesting still photography by the character 'Mike'. The film starts with black and white cinematography that looked very strong but eventual the darkness brings out noise, with crushed blacks, and even chroma. The dark look doesn't always favor a pristine appearance. It's a single-layered transfer that is probably a decent representation of the way The Narrows looked theatrically. There is a bit of depth and it definitely looks HD. While fairly tame visually it won't be a disc you grab for a 'demo' night to show off your system. The production looks fairly basic and the Blu-ray transfer does an adequate job supporting the film. You can't make a silk purse...
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 1836 kbps doesn't have more than a few specific instances of defined separation. Hardly the fault of the mix - again, it's a probably an accurate, if undemonstrative, representation of the track. Violence isn't as prominent in this character drama as one might expect. This is fine - but the track won't stretch the boundaries of your Surround system. Richard Marvin's score keeps to itself - but when given the opportunity produces a appropriate 'feel' to the film. There are optional English and Spanish subtitles. and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
There are a pretty interesting group of 'Behind the Scenes' interviews that, like the commentary, will appeal more to people who saw value in the film. I admit my appreciation rose a notch by indulging. I give full credit to both director Francois Velle and writer Tatiana Blackington for the attempt of The Narrows. They pulled of something with a unique edge and while imperfect has some distinct merit. The supplements support that effort.
October 28th, 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
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze