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A Prophet [Blu-ray]
(Jacques Audiard, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: UGC Distribution
Video: Sony Pictures
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 49,955,087,812 bytes
Feature Size: 44,149,850,112 bytes
Video Bitrate: 28.49 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: August 3rd, 2010
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio French 3906 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3906 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 2936 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2936 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
English (SDH), French, German, Turkish, none
Commentary subtitles: English, German, none
• Commentary with Jacques Audiard, actor Tahar Rahim and co-writer Thomas Bidegain
•Deleted Scenes (10:34 in SD)
• Rehearsal Footage (8:38 in SD)
•5 Screen Tests (5:00 in SD)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:02 in HD!)
Description: "As epic as The Godfather." -Kevin Maher,The
Jacques Audiard is a film-maker who understands the dramatic – and sometimes comic – thrills of self-invention. In A Self-Made Hero (1996) Mathieu Kassowitz played a man who counterfeited a glorious past as a Resistance fighter. In Read My Lips (2001) a put-upon secretary turns her deafness to account in an elaborate plan to rip off her boss. In The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005) a small-time Parisian hoodlum puts aside his thuggish tendencies to explore his potential as a classical pianist. Audiard's characters are schemers and strivers: by dint of graft, wit and endurance they make a journey of transformation before our eyes. It is precisely what great drama should be about.
Malik El Djebena, the Arab teen protagonist of his latest film, A Prophet, faces the toughest trial yet: a Darwinian struggle for survival inside a brutal French prison. Sent down for six years, 19-year-old Malik can't read or write, hasn't a family on the outside nor a friend on the inside, and on his first day in jail is violently mugged for his trainers. If only that was the worst of it. We don't know what crime Malik was sentenced for, but it obviously wasn't murder, because he almost combusts with panic when the prison's Corsican gang boss Cesar Luciani (Niels Arestrup) coerces him into bumping off an Arab inmate who is due to testify against his interests. "I can't kill anyone," Malik mutters forlornly to himself – but he must, and soon, otherwise they are going to kill him.Excerpt from The Independent (UK) located HERE
Visually the transfer of A Prophet to Blu-ray by Sony appears perfect - supporting the various cinematography - hand-held kinetic shots, static and tracking motion all utilized in different sequences. Some shots are much grainer than others giving some important texture to the image canvas and colors are vibrant once venturing outside the prison confines. The tight gritty nature of the narrative carries over from the adept image quality with limited instances of depth. This is dual-layered with the 2.5 hour, 1.85:1, feature taking up over 44 Gig of space on the disc. The healthy bitrate produces and image free of undue noise or artifacts. Predictably, it is clean transfer free of any damage or marks. In fact it is very hard to find flaw with the way A Prophet looks in 1080P. I strongly expect it looks exactly as the filmmakers intended and the Blu-ray produces a highly rewarding viewing experience.
The DTS-HD Master 5.1 in original French at 3906 kbps doesn't take a backseat to the image. The transfer has subtle moments in day-to-day functions in lonely cell as well as some highly aggressive moments with punchy bass-pounding violence coming in many forms. Like The Ghost Writer we have another excellent score by Alexandre Desplat. The lossless track suports it well and there is a German DUB available as well. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
We get the French language audio commentary with Jacques Audiard, actor Tahar Rahim and co-writer Thomas Bidegain that appears on European discs. It is offered here with optional English or German subtitles in the same font as those available for the feature film. It covers a lot of ground with each participant discussing their area of expertise. After that is a kind of mish-mash of deleted scenes, rehearsal footage, and 5 interesting screen tests running about 23-minutes in total for all in SD. There is also an HD theatrical trailer and some Sony Previews plus the disc is BD-Live functional. The commentary is certainly worthwhile for those as keen on the film as I was.
July 31st, 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