|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
The Red Riding Trilogy [Blu-ray]
(Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Channel Four Film / Screen Yorkshire
Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:46:13.116 + 1:44:41.316 + 1:37:29.051
Disc Size: 46,748,921,451 bytes
74' Feature Size: 15,823,927,296 bytes
80' Feature Size: 15,606,577,152 bytes
83' Feature Size: 14,551,400,448 bytes
Video Bitrate: 17.99 Mbps
Chapters: 19 / 21 / 19
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: August 30th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 1.85 + 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
English (SDH), Spanish, none
on a separate, single-layered, DVD:
• 1974 - TV Spot (:55), Julian Jarrold Interview (11:25), Deleted Scenes (7:10)
•1980 - TV Spot (1:02), Making of... (18:45), Deleted Scenes (6:48)
• 1983 - TV Spot (:51), Making of... (6:40), Deleted Scenes (8:07)
• Trilogy: Theatrical trailer (2:29), TV Spot (:31), Behind the Scenes (3:01)
Description: Red Riding is a television adaptation of
English author David Peace's Red Riding Quartet. Published
between 1999 and 2002, the quartet comprises the novels
Nineteen Seventy-Four (1999), Nineteen Seventy-Seven (2000),
Nineteen Eighty (2001) and Nineteen Eighty-Three (2002). Set
against a backdrop of serial murders, including the
Yorkshire Ripper case, they deal with multi-layered
corruption and feature several recurring characters across
the four books. Though real crimes are featured the scripts
are fictionalised and dramatised versions of events rather
than contemporary factual accounts.
It's not the five-hours-plus length of this trio of devastatingly bleak
modern British noir films that's daunting. Far from it. Strongly made by
three different directors with three different crews but using scripts
from the same writer and the same cast for its recurring characters,
these films are put together with so much ability and skill that the
time simply melts away.
Firstly, the package consists of one Blu-ray disc with the three feature films - Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 19XX - (over 5 hours worth) and a second disc - a DVD with supplement features.
Red Riding is a creepy stylized trilogy - made in 2009. Perhaps as a choice - the image quality improves through the decade in which the events transpire. Art direction is quite good and the, 1.85:1, 1974 segment looks grittier and less sharp - this improves with superior detail through the similarly framed 1980 episode and gets downright glossy for 2.35:1 aspect ratio 83' segment - maybe even too glossy. I don't have evidence that these were intentional production choices but it would seem logical. With over 5 hours of material on the dual-layered disc compression is 'pushed' and colors seem a bit dull but daylight scenes are much more impressive. This Blu-ray exports a clean, un-tampered, feel but at the lower end of the scale for 1080P brilliance although 83' does show some depth of field. Part of the obvious appeal here is having the entire trilogy on one disc - but with that comes a price. Overall, the image quality seems to be in-line with what those who have seen it previously might anticipate - slight improvement in detail grading upwards through the 3 segments and superior to the already released SD-DVD versions.
NOTE: Sent in email - (thanks Max!) "Just read your Red Riding review. The first film was shot on Super 16, the second on 35mm and the third one digitally on the Red, which explains the differences in look that you mention. Been waiting for ages for these, in the UK they've only released the DVDs so far. I can only recommend the books, by the way, they are amazing and I don't think the films will do them justice."
Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974:
Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1980:
Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983:
Nothing is offered in HD but there are 2 track choices - a Dolby 2.0 channel stereo and a 5.1 surround option. Those more familiar with the deft separations of lossless won't notice much going on here but dialogue is clear and consistent - although the volume level needed cranking quite high - otherwise effect noise are fairly unremarkable. There is some nice background music - I recall some guitar riffs - but, generally the audio does not stand-out especially. The exception to this is Johnny Mathis' 'A Certain Smile' blaring with deep resonance in the first part. I tested some scenes with both the stereo and surround and I did note a slight difference in the range - but it wasn't dramatic - or perhaps my ears are spoiled by DTS-HD. English and Spanish, bright yellow, smallish font, subtitles are offered and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
The supplements are all on a single-layered DVD and divided into four sections and look as if they have been on previous DVD editions. They include TV Spots and deleted scenes for each and I enjoyed the Julian Jarrold (director of 1974) interview. The, almost 20-minute, Making of... for the 1980 segment seemed a bit more in-depth and revealing.
August 19th, 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