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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Disgrace [Blu-ray]


(Steve Jacobs, 2008)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Fortissimo Films

Video: Image Entertainment



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

Runtime: 1:58:16.166

Disc Size: 23,394,920,121 bytes

Feature Size: 20,165,695,488 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.99 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 27th, 2010



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3426 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3426 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), English, Spanish, none



• 8 separate interviews with actors John Malkovich, Antoinette Engel, Jessica Haines + Eriq Ebouaney - director Steve Jacobs, producer Emile Sherman, screenwriter Anna Maria Monticelli + director of photography Steve Arnold

Disgrace: Behind the Scenes (9:48 - SD)

• Trailer (2:13 in SD)





Description: In a landmark performance, Oscar nominee John Malkovich (In the Line of Fire, 1993) stars as Professor David Lurie, whose world is shattered when he is fired for seducing a college student. He finds peace at his estranged daughter's modest farm in South Africa until a horrific incident of terror and violence forces Lurie to confront his beliefs and the disturbing racial complexities of the new South Africa. Based on the Booker Prize-winning novel, DISGRACE stands out as a gritty, gripping drama of brutality, survival and hope.



The Film:

I awaited the closing scenes of "Disgrace" with a special urgency, because the story had gripped me deeply but left me with no idea how it would end. None -- and I really cared. This is such a rare movie. Its characters are uncompromisingly themselves, flawed, stubborn, vulnerable. We feel we know them pretty well, but then they face a situation of such pain and moral ambiguity that they're forced to make impossible decisions. It's easy to ask them to do the right thing. But what is the right thing?

David Lurie (John Malkovich) teaches the Romantic poets at the University of Cape Town. He lingers over Wordsworth's word choices before a classroom of distracted students. One seems to care: Melanie (Antoinette Engel). He offers her a ride home in the rain. She accepts. (I spent a year in that university on the slopes of Table Mountain. When someone offers you a ride home in the rain, you accept.)

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.

Considering the Image Entertainment transfer is single-layered with a modest bitrate it really doesn't looks too bad at all on Blu-ray. Detail is strong and there is some grain showing through. Colors appear adequately rendered and contrast is healthy and there is even some depth. I saw a modicum of noise later in the film but generally the presentation appearance was a surprisingly positive one. There are a lot of daylight scenes that look exceptionally good and the South African countryside vistas are quite impressive at times. This Blu-ray has a consistent feel that clearly eclipses SD. It gave me no reasons to be disappointed.

















Audio :

Where the video transfer is a little better than I anticipated - so was the audio as represented by a strong DTS-HD Master 5.1 at an underused 3426 kbps.. There is some original music by Antony Partos and a lot of classical (opera) snuck in sparingly. The film doesn't express a strong range with aggressive depth but the track handles all that is thrown at it with relative ease. Dialogue was clean and crisp but there are also optional subtitles for those less comfortable with the South African accent. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.



Extras :

Extras don't venture too far but some effort has been made with eight separate interviews. Those taking part were actors John Malkovich, Antoinette Engel, Jessica Haines + Eriq Ebouaney plus, from the filmmakers-side, director Steve Jacobs, producer Emile Sherman, screenwriter Anna Maria Monticelli + director of photography Steve Arnold. These are shortish but it's nice to even get some sound-byte information from these principals members of the production. I'd have loved to hear more from Malkovich and Jacobs. There is also a 10-minute Behind the Scenes piece that shows the effort of production. Finally a 2 1/4 minute trailer - and like all the supplements, it too, is in in SD. So no commentary - that would have been important to explain much of the narrative but the tidbits included were better than nothing and certainly worth the indulgence for those keen.



This was a highly interesting film with another stellar performance from Malkovich. It seemed highly allegorical to its political references - most of which I didn't really 'get' but I was still very entertained. Actually in this sense Disgrace may have been a bit heavy-handed. The Blu-ray is decent on all fronts without making the leap into Criterion-esque territory. I am confused by the price which seems exorbitant at the writing of this review. I think the film is definitely worth the spin in this HD format... but at less than, say, $20. 

Gary Tooze

April 25th, 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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