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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz

Triangle [Blu-ray]


(Christopher Smith, 2009)





Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: Triangle Films

Blu-ray: First Look Studios



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


Runtime: 1:39:00

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 2nd, 2010



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video




DTS-HD Master Audio English 3591 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3591 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround


Subtitles: English (SDH), Spanish, none



• Cast & Crew Interviews – in SD (5:55)



The Film: 7
In the 1945 British thriller Dead of Night Walter Craig becomes aware of a déjà-vu quality to his visit to a country villa. He shares this feeling with the group of strangers he meets there that he somehow knows these people, though they don’t seem to know him. He tells them that he knows things are going to end badly at the house and that somehow he is the cause of it all. Eventually the others, too, recall similar surreal instances that all ended in tragedy. The film ends where it began as Craig awakens from this same recurring nightmare. There is no explanation offered as to why Craig should be so inflicted. He has committed no crime, nor has he forgotten to turn off the gas. He merely suffers, indefinitely, for our pleasure.
Christopher Smith’s new movie Triangle owes a great deal to Dead of Night and adds an explanatory layer to the nightmare: we relive an action or inaction in order to affect a different outcome. It’s always risky to explain things in a horror movie. I don’t think we feel kindly to Dr. Richmond for explaining Norman Bates’ mother fixation at the end of Psycho. Perhaps it makes us feel safer, more removed from any contamination or identification with Norman’s insanity, but it also makes Norman less horrifying. (Having said that we observe that what makes the Holocaust so monstrous is that it was carried out by our neighbors, not by madmen.) But I digress – no doubt so as to avoid revealing how Triangle’s protagonista, Jess (Melissa George) finds herself in her own recurring and particularly bloody nightmare and what motivates her desire to do so. I shall say only this: Keep your eye on the bird. As for the nightmare itself: Jess is a single mother of an autistic boy. She absent-mindedly joins friends on a sailing adventure that leads them into an unexpected and powerful storm. The boat capsizes and all survive but one. Those that do survive take refuge on a passing ocean liner while Jess assumes a thousand yard stare alternating with fearful concern. The ship, however, is apparently unoccupied, except for one murderous person. Care to guess who it is?



Image: 8/9   NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

There appears to be nothing amiss with this image despite its overexposure during the sailing in the open seas and in the flashes of detail-free light in the deep interiors on board the Aeolus. The CGI during the storm demonstrates the movie's low budget, but a lot was done with very little elsewhere. In any case, none of this bothers the transfer any, which, when it is important to do so, sports all the sharpness, resolution and brilliance of color one could desire. Shadows in the Aoelus corridors are noiseless and dark without going all the way to black. Detail is not what the director is after in these scenes, though the eye strains to find some. Neither edge enhancement nor noise reduction seems to have been applied.















Audio & Music: 8/7
If the blu-ray image is a bit dicey to sort out, the audio certainly isn’t. The uncompressed DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix may miss an opportunity with the storm to crash through into another dimension, but it really does the trick of bringing us on board the ghost ship with its suffocating, threatening world. The various corridors offer all sorts of opportunity for footsteps, dialogue and gunfire from a few yards away to around the corner to the floor above. The verisimilitude of the clanging echoes in and around the metallic corridors draws us in as Christian Henson’s music merges perfectly with Peter Baldock’s sound design to create a ferocious, frightening soundscape whenever Chris Smith wants to give us a jolt.



Operations: 6
After loading, previews are forced, but you can skip through them easily with chapter advance. The menu is uneventful and simplicity itself.


Extras: 2
There’s not much here: In place of a commentary there is only a five minute making-of/cast & crew interview piece that covers the territory in a most concise form.



Bottom line: 7
Once we get the hang of why Jess is acting the way she does, what keeps our interest is to see how director Smith parses out her attempts to change her fate as bloody horror elements give way to a kind of mystery thriller. We also want to stick around to learn why this is all happening, which he eventually gets to. The image may seem deliberately unfriendly but it is not incorrect, while the audio grabs our attention. Extra Features are exceedingly weak. Recommended for a late night with popcorn.

Leonard Norwitz
January 27th, 2010





About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.

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