|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
The American [Blu-ray]
(Anton Corbijn, 2010)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Focus Features
Video:Universal Home Video
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 33,927,423,437 bytes
Feature Size: 29,161,426,944 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.72 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: December 28th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: VC-1 Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3333 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3333 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
English (SDH), French, Spanish, none
• Feature Commentary - With director Anton Corbijn
• Deleted Scenes (5:34)
• Code for Digital Copy
Description: As an assassin, Jack is constantly on the move and always alone. After a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected... for this American abroad, Jack retreats to the Italian countryside. He relishes being away from death for a spell as he holes up in a small medieval town. While there, Jack takes an assignment to construct a weapon for a mysterious contact, Mathilde. Savoring the peaceful quietude he finds in the mountains of Abruzzo, Jack accepts the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto and pursues a torrid liaison with a beautiful woman, Clara. Jack and Clara's time together evolves into a romance, one seemingly free of danger. But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate.
Academy Award winner George Clooney (Up in the Air, Burn After Reading) is The American in this sexy suspense thriller from director Anton Corbijn (Control). The American follows elusive assassin Jack's (Clooney) treacherous journey as he completes his last assignment - but when he pursues a torrid relationship with a beautiful woman, Jack soon finds himself in a battle to escape from his troubled past. Also starring Violante Placido (Soul Mate), Thekla Reuten (In Bruges), and Paolo Bonacelli (Midnight Express), The American is a mesmerizing film critics are calling "a labyrinth of seduction, secrets and suspense!" (Jake Hamilton, Fox-TV).
The entire drama of this film rests on two words, "Mr. Butterfly." We must be vigilant to realize that once, and only once, they are spoken by the wrong person. They cause the entire film and all of its relationships to rotate. I felt exaltation at this detail. It is so rare to see a film this carefully crafted, this patiently assembled like a weapon, that when the word comes it strikes like a clap of thunder. A lesser film would have underscored it with a shock chord, punctuated it with a sudden zoom, or cut to a shocked close up. "The American" is too cool to do that. Too Zen, if you will.
The director is a Dutchman named Anton Corbijn, known to me for "Control" (2007), the story of Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, a suicide at 23. Corbin has otherwise made mostly music videos. Here he paints an idyllic Italian countryside as lyrical as his dialogue is taciturn. There is not a wrong shot. Every performance is tightly controlled. Clooney is in complete command of his effect. He sometimes seems to be chewing a very small piece of gum, or perhaps his tongue.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.
The American looks impressive on Blu-ray from Universal. Aside from some minor noise in the darkest of scenes - the film, frequently shot in natural light, looks clean, consistent and textured. The VC-1 encoded image quality shows some grain while detail is also strong. This is dual-layered and the transfer supports a strong video bitrate. Colors and hues seem realistic without being falsely exuberant. Skin tones are, likewise, true - and contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. The result gives The American a thicker, film-like, look that gives me no reason to suggest that it is not a strong representation of the theatrical. This Blu-ray supports a fine home-theater presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
While a supportive and adept audio transfer - a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 at 3333 kbps - is not tested often. The American is the film that doesn't especially lean on effects and separations to establish its aura. It is far more sedate than many might expect. This is another of the reasons that I liked it - but for those expecting the explosively deep bravado of a typical action-genre film - you will be left wanting. The film takes a contemplative edge to its scenes and this is done subtly with the images and pace. When the track is called upon - it delivers adequately with depth and some range. There are certainly moments of immersive intent. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Aside from a solid, if occasionally dry, commentary with director Anton Corbijn, 5-minutes of deleted scenes and a decent, if standard, 10-minute featurette - Journey to Redemption: The Making of The American - described as "An inside look at the making of The American" - there are also a bevy of Blu-ray special attributes (not available on the DVD) from the expected BD-Live and My Scenes to video time-lines, Mobile and even keyboard accessible features (all through 'pocket blu'). This was the anticipated interactive direction of digital home theater and this release has it all - complete for the geek in you keen on indulging. As it stands, I like Corbijn and his commentary - and those who enjoyed the film enough - should as well. Ohh... you also get the code for a Digital Copy.
December 21st, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS