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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Nowhere Boy [Blu-ray]


(Sam Taylor-Wood, 2009)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Film4

Video: Maple Pictures



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

Runtime: 1:37:25.840

Disc Size: 22,577,160,937 bytes

Feature Size: 21,007,841,280 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.96 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 25th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080i / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3483 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3483 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 3566 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3566 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)






• Trailer (2:01 in 1080P)

• New Featurette (8:20 in 480i)





Description: John Lennon's childhood. Liverpool 1955: a smart and troubled 15-year-old is hungry for experience. In a family full... of secrets, two incredible women clash over John: Mimi, the buttoned-up aunt who raised him, and Julia, the prodigal mother. Yearning for a normal family, John escapes into the new and exciting world of rock 'n' roll where his fledgling genius finds a kindred spirit in the teenage Paul McCartney. Just as John begins his new life, tragedy strikes. But, a resilient young man finds his voice -- and an icon explodes into the world.



The Film:

The true story of John Lennon's troubled childhood and difficult relationship with his family is brought to the screen in this period drama. Young John (Alex Ambrose) is a bright but sharp-tongued boy living in the coastal town of Liverpool during the 1950s with his aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) and uncle George (David Threlfall). John's father walked out on the family when he was four years old, and the boy was given to Mimi to raise, even though his mother, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), was still alive. While Mimi's straight-laced nature runs counter to John's more reckless personality, they clearly love one another and the household is thrown into chaos when George dies suddenly. At the funeral, teenage John (now played by Aaron Johnson - KICKASS) sees Julia, and learns to his surprise that she lives only a few blocks away from Mimi. John pays her a visit, and Julia gratefully welcomes him back into her life. Julia's personality is a much closer fit to John than Mimi, and she encourages his love for writing and music, teaching him to play the banjo. However, John's renewed relationship with Julia brings up a number of unanswered questions, and causes new tensions between Mimi and John. And as rock & roll becomes the hot new sound of the day, John falls in love with the bold new music and makes a friend who is interested in forming a band, Paul (Thomas Brodie Sangster). The first feature film from artist-turned-director Sam Taylor-Wood.

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

Unfortunately, I appear to have been sent the Canadian 'Maple' Blu-ray edition that is interlaced (1080i). I suspect, and hope, the US Sony release will be progressive. There is already a UK hi-def edition available that we don't yet have to compare. Aside from the unnoticeable combing (most systems will override the 'trailing' visibility) this single-layered Blu-ray looks okay - a shade pale at times and flat but detail and depth have some surprising moments. I can only say it is superior to how SD could relate the appearance but is not reaching the heights that the format can escalate. This Blu-ray transfer leaves from for improvement that we anticipate other releases achieve.

















Audio :

The best transfer aspect about this disc is the audio which sports a robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a healthy 3483 kbps. The film doesn't carry demonstrative separations or aggressive bass response but what is exported by the Nowhere Boy's track comes through clean and crisp - even the various music - sounding very supportive for the onscreen activity. I didn't have issue with understanding the Liverpudlian accents but the lack of subtitles may impair some. I expect the Sony edition to include them. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region A-locked.


Extras :

Only an 8-minute featurette and trailer. Standard soundbytes of clips from the film are included but I'd have liked to see more - perhaps a piece on Lennon or an archival interview. Once again, I'd be surprised of the US edition didn't offer more extras.



This is an interesting bio-pic. I don't know how accurate some of the details are but I don't think that hurts the entertainment value. Lennon is such a fascinating human figure that it would be impossible to characterize to everyone's satisfaction. Even staunch Beatle fans don't have to get overly picky to some have fun here. After seeing the trailer months ago I was very keen to see this and it didn't disappoint. This interlaced Maple Blu-ray presentation can't be the optimum way to see Nowhere Boy - and we may eventually compare to the Sony or even the UK release. 

Gary Tooze

January 17th, 2011


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.

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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