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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

We Need to Talk About Kevin [Blu-ray]

 

(Lynne Ramsay, 2011)

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray LEFT vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: BBC Films

Video: Artificial Eye / Oscilloscope Laboratories

 

Disc:

AE is Region: 'B'-locked / Oscilloscope is region FREE (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:51:51.000 / 1:52:31.953

Disc Size: 36,546,885,523 bytes / 44,512,890,343 bytes

Feature Size: 34,432,604,160 bytes / 35,193,792,192 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps / 35.00

Chapters: 12 / 19

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Custom Fold-out eco-friendly case (dissimilar to the Amazon photo)

Release date: February 27th, 2012 / May 29th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1916 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1916 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 885 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 885 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 964 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 964 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3298 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3298 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
 

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none (both)

 

Extras:

• Cast and Crew Interviews (15:20 in 576i)

Trailer (1:42 in 1080P)

Behind the Scenes of KEVIN – insights from the set with the cast and crew (27:05)
Extra footage from the famous “La Tomatina” tomato festival in Spain (4:15)
In Conversation – Telluride Film Festival honors Tilda Swinton (17:52)
An interview with Lionel Shriver, author of the source novel (3:58)
Original theatrical trailer (1:45)
With an exclusive essay by psychoanalyst Mark Stafford

DVD of Feature included

 

Bitrate:

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Description: Based on the million-selling Orange Prize winning novel by Lionel Shriver and directed by acclaimed film-maker Lynne Ramsay, We Need to Talk About Kevin is an emotional thriller starring Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton, Academy Award nominee John C. Reilly and Ezra Miller. Eva (Tilda Swinton) puts her ambitions and career aside to give birth to Kevin. The relationship between mother and son is difficult from the very first years. When Kevin is 15, he does something irrational and unforgivable in the eyes of the community. Eva grapples with her own feelings of grief and responsibility. Did she ever love her son? And how much of what Kevin did was her fault?

***

"We Need To Talk About Kevin" explores the fractious relationship between a mother and her son. Tilda Swinton, in a... bracing, tour-de-force performance, plays the mother, Eva, as she contends for 15 years with the increasing malevolence of her first-born child, Kevin.

 

 

The Film:

That the film works so brilliantly is a tribute in large part to the actors. Kevin is seen at three ages. As a baby and toddler, he is merely colicky, irritating and would try the patience of a saint. Between the ages of 6 and 8 years old, played by Jasper Newell, he is a clever little monster who glares at Eva hurtfully, soils his pants deliberately and drives her into such a fury that she breaks his arm. In any other movie, that would be child abuse. In this one, it is Kevin's triumph.

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

“Every parent’s nightmare” would be the evening news boilerplate description of “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” Lynne Ramsay’s disturbing movie about the mother of a child who goes on a killing spree at his high school. That trite phrase is accurate in an almost technical sense: Ms. Ramsay (who adapted Lionel Shriver’s novel with Rory Stewart Kinnear) follows a kind of dream logic in telling a chronologically splintered story, weaving patterns of associated images and sensations into an intense and claustrophobic web of fear.

Excerpt from A.O. Scott at NY Times located HERE

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

We Need to Talk About Kevin looks film-like on home theater via the Blu-ray from Artificial Eye. Detail, especially in many close-ups, is the most notable attribute that rises above SD. This is dual-layered and 1080P with a high bitrate. This Blu-ray is clean and the transfer adds another layer to the gripping film presentation. This is easily discernable as HD and the film would probably not be as impacting of it were glossy and plastic looking. Colors are bright and true without appearing unnaturally manipulated. There is minor noise in backgrounds.  This Blu-ray does its job well and probably replicates the theatrical quite closely. It gave me an excellent presentation.

Although parity in the technical aspects of the dual-layered video transfers - it seems the Oscilloscope has a tad more vibrant colors (see reds in second comparison capture) and richer contrast. Skin tones are a shade warmer but not unnaturally so. I doubt there is enough differences for the majority of viewers to make issue - the US Blu-ray is as adept, and maybe more so, than its worthy UK counterpart.

 

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

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio options include a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 1916 kbps although the film doesn't offer an abundance of separation. There is also a 2.0 channel stereo DTS-HD Master track as well as a similar 'audio description' track offered. The original music by Jonny Greenwood - the group Radiohead’s lead guitarist - (notable for composing for films Norwegian Wood and There Will Be Blood) runs alongside the film's inescapable tension quite masterfully. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles in the region 'B' Blu-ray disc.

Technically both the surround and the stereo are more robust on the Oscilloscope and my ears may have noticed some superior perkiness. I wouldn't say it was a deal-breaker though. There are also optional English subtitles - rendered slightly differently - and the disc is region FREE.

 

Extras :

Supplements include a 15-minute (PAL) 'Cast and Crew Interviews' video piece with Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller and others plus a 1080P trailer for the film We Need to Talk About Kevin.

This is where the Oscilloscope leaps definitively ahead with a 1/2 hour Behind the Scenes of Kevin featuring insights from the set with the cast and crew. There is also 4-minutes of amusing extra footage from the famous “La Tomatina” tomato festival in Spain, a valuable 18-minute 'In Conversation' honoring Tilda Swinton at the Telluride Film Festival. Included is a brief interview with Lionel Shriver, author of the source novel lasting just under 4-minutes and an original theatrical trailer. the package has an exclusive essay by psychoanalyst Mark Stafford.

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray LEFT vs. Oscilloscope - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This is an extremely powerful film experience. We Need to Talk About Kevin is very unsettling which reflects on the efficiency of Ramsay's (Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar) direction. Tilda Swinton is one of the best actresses working today and she adds so much to the film being subtly chameleon -like in the non-linear timelines. She seems capable of handling any role and Ezra Miller is downright scary. The Blu-ray is consistent in its transfer and gave me a decent presentation to fully appreciate the uneasy and haunting characteristics at this masterfully-made level of cinema. Absolutely recommended - don't miss this one! 

The film continues to advance in my estimation. If not a total masterpiece - it is very close. I'm very happy that an outfit like Oscilloscope brought We Need To Talk About Kevin to region FREE - exposing it to another large appreciative audience. It looks like the AE is more reasonable but the Oscilloscope is more definitive with the extra supplements. A solid package independent of the region - Swinton is marvelous - a must see film.

Gary Tooze

February 8th, 2012

May 17th, 2012


 

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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