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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Absolute Power [Blu-ray]

 

(Clint Eastwood, 1997)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner Home Video

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:02:49.153

Disc Size: 29,686,796,850 bytes

Feature Size: 29,250,607,104 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.98 Mbps

Chapters: 35

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 1st, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 4069 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4069 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio German 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
* Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English , Danish , Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, none

 

Extras:

none

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: He was there he shouldn't have been and saw what he shouldn't have seen. Now, who will believe the word of a career thief and ex-con? Who will trust Luther Whitney when he says he saw a woman killed and that the man responsible for her death is the President of the United States? Clint Eastwood portrays Whitney and directs this crisp, finely acted thriller based on David Baldacci's best-selling novel. A stellar cast which includes Gene Hackman and Ed Harris creates well-rounded characters that intensify constantly spiraling game of cat and mouse between Whitney, local police and the highest levels of White House power. Eastwood is a master at steadily raising the stakes in thrillers. Here his mastery is absolute.

 

 

The Film:

Most thrillers depend on chase scenes and shoot-outs. Some of best scenes in ``Absolute Power'' involve dialogue. The cop immediately fingers Luther Whitney as a possible suspect (he's one of ``only six guys alive'' who could have gotten into the mansion), and interviews him in a museum dining room. Eastwood, wearing half-glasses and a cloth cap that accentuate his age, smiles laconically and says, ``Go down a rope in the middle of the night? If I could do that, I'd be the star of my AARP meetings.'' There is another good scene between Ed Harris and old E. G. Marshall, who tells the policeman the two-way mirror was installed in the bedroom at his wife's suggestion: ``She thought I might have liked sitting there. I didn't.'' His is a poignant character, a self-made man who has spent his life giving money to charity, who has elected a president and who now fears ``I'll go out as the joke of the world.'' Eastwood delivers a few nice set pieces as the suspense builds, including a rendezvous with his daughter in a public plaza while two sets of gunmen train their sights on him. And we get hard-boiled dialogue in the Oval Office as the president and his merciless chief of staff run the coverup by ordering the Secret Servicemen to do things not covered in their job description (one is willing, one has qualms). Much depends on a hypocritical speech the president makes, which Luther sees at an airport bar just as he's about to flee the country. In a classic Eastwood moment, the thief's jaw hardens and he decides to stay and fight, rather than give a pass to a heartless liar.

Eastwood as director is usually eclipsed by Eastwood the actor; he has directed almost 20 films, good enough and successful enough to make him one of Hollywood's top filmmakers, and yet his stardom overshadows that role. Here he creates scenes of pure moviemaking--scenes without dialogue or violence, that work only because we know the characters and because the direction, camera work (by Jack N. Green) and editing (Joel Cox) put them together into suspenseful montages. The opening sequence is especially effective.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

 


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

Absolute Power looks superior to SD via Blu-ray from Warner but after that it is fairly unremarkable.  Nothing really stands out as stellar in the transfer but the dual-layered disc sports a consistent and clean, but modest, appearance.  Grain is clumpy, some noise exists and a few blacks are crushed in the darker scenes (there are quite a few). While I think this might look better with a higher bitrate I don't know for sure and this Blu-ray may be representing an authentic version of the original film.  By modern standards though this is fairly tame. There aren't many striking visuals in Absolute Power but the Blu-ray gave me a decent, if not particularly impressive, presentation. Keep your expectations low.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

When the audio is called upon the DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 4069 kbps responds very well. This isn't the most aggressive soundtrack but there is some action and separations with notable depth. I suspect this sounds about as good as the original. Warner offer foreign language DUBs and multiple subtitle options and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

I don't know if the DVD had any extras - I doubt it - but this Blu-ray offers nothing.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This isn't a bad film - it has something going for it - solid performances and good direction but perhaps the overall story needed some more punch or an edge. I'd recommend something like In the Line of Fire ahead of Absolute Power. As for the Blu-ray I certainly wouldn't double-dip if you already own the DVD but for a first time viewing this is the best way to see it in your home theater. The reasonable price seems to reflect the lack of supplements.

Gary Tooze

May 23rd, 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 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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