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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


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)

Runtime: 1:46:11.114

Disc Size: 22,357,363,392 bytes

Feature Size: 17,818,324,992 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

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.



The Film:

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



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

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...
















Audio :

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.



Extras :

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.



There is a lot of 'good' about the The Narrows - although even the fine performances don't pull it off with complete satisfaction. I'll admit I was entertained and I think it's worth a spin if you keep your expectations in check. The 'gangster' aspects are pretty passive with a couple of exceptions and the Blu-ray is competent, if not stellar. I don't give it a full endorsement but there are many who will get more out of it than I. 

Gary Tooze

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 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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