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44 Inch Chest [Blu-ray]
(Malcolm Venville, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Prescience Media
Video: Image Entertainment
Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 20,744,797,496 bytes
Feature Size: 17,726,816,256 bytes
Video Bitrate: 19.95 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: April 20th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1673 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1673 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
English, Spanish, none
• Commentary with Director Malcolm Venville
Description: How far would you go to avenge betrayal? Colin Diamond (Ray Winstone, Sexy Beast) is about to find out in this gritty, provocative thriller. After he breaks down over the dissolution of his marriage, he kidnaps his wife's lover, and his rage pushes him to the brink of murder as his motley crew of buddies urges him to exact brutal revenge. Ian McShane (HBO's Deadwood), John Hurt (V for Vendetta), Tom Wilkinson (RocknRolla) and Stephen Dillane (Spy Game) unforgettably co-star in this compelling story that contemplates the nature of love and asks what it takes to be a man.
There is a type of cinemagoer — let’s call them the sort of males who regard an episode of Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men as gripping documentary — that will be left feeling short-changed by the time the credits to Malcolm Venville’s seamy examination of love, grief and morality eventually roll. Glance at the promotional poster and it shows every sign of being a straightforward East End gangland thriller: there’s the suggestive menace of the title, the almost exclusively blokey line-up and, at the centre, Ray Winstone, looking more than ever as though he were born to shank grasses and grimly look after his own.
But when we meet his character — an underworld thane called Colin Diamond — in the brilliant opening scene he’s sprawled on his back, weeping silently and listening to the maudlin melodrama of Harry Nilsson’s Without You (“I can’t liiiiiiive, if living is without you . . .”) on repeat. And, over the course of the film, he never quite manages to pull himself together. The reason? His wife, Liz (Joanne Whalley) has had an affair. The culprit? A studly French waiter we know only as Loverboy. The solution? A kidnapping, then lethal vengeance, executed in a grimy, semi-derelict hideout.Excerpt from Ben Machel at the Times Online located HERE
Image Entertainment's 1080P single-layered transfer on Blu-ray is not particularly gripping. It's easily better than SD but there isn't a lot of depth. Detail is strong in the sporadic close-ups but nothing really jumps out at you. The film is predominantly shot in one dingy, dark room and so the visuals don't lend themselves to brilliant visuals. This is only single-layered and while probably replicated the film experience well enough - the grain is blotchy and contrast never seems to rise to an HD level. By modern standards this is fairly tame visually but as a representation of the original - I doubt too much more could be done. This modest Blu-ray presentation will suffice but don't expect anything beyond 'average' from the image.
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Like the video we have a similarly modest audio rendering with a lossless DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 1673 kbps. There isn't as much action as you might expect from the film and separations exist but aren't plentiful. It is fairly dialogue heavy as opposed to effect noises being prevalent. The Angelo Badalamenti score has a few moments but, aside from some demonstrative moments, basically plays under the surface sounding adequate but not overly noticeable - which was probably the intent. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked disc.
Extras: The supplements include a director commentary where Malcolm Venville brings up a lot of points and seems genuinely appreciative of the cast and performances as well as the script 'language'. I don't know that the film deserves excessive discussion as as it either connects - or not for the viewer. I almost preferred the 22-minute interview with Venville where he expands on a further details. There is a standard Behind The Scenes for about 15-minutes, an 'Epilogues ' piece for less than 5 where we see more impressive acting and a trailer. Nothing appears to be in HD.
April 12th, 2010
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