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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Last of England [Blu-ray]


(Derek Jarman, 1988)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Anglo International Films

Video: Lorber Films



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

Runtime: 1:31:21.809

Disc Size: 17,341,560,711 bytes

Feature Size: 17,182,537,728 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.02 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 24th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1703 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1703 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: One of Derek Jarman's most personal and innovative films, The Last of England is a devastating vision of 80s Britain. Images of war and urban decay are intercut with Jarman's own childhood home movies, creating a shocking yet beautiful and poetic film with a much praised soundtrack. A powerful and haunting work from one of Britain's most creative filmmakers and starring Academy Award Winner Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin, Michael Clayton). Kino Lorber has created a beautiful new high definition transfer of this classic film. First time ever on Blu-ray.


A striking vision of a doomed England using home movies, Super 8 film and voice over narration.



The Film:

Shot in Super-8, with the camera often hand-held, ''The Last of England'' does manage a bleak vitality despite the overwhelming pessimism of its images. Signs of struggle are everywhere. A punk in torn jeans walks through a landscape of destruction, stomping the last vestiges of civilization; a baby lies in a carriage lined with newspapers proclaiming imminent doom. A bride lies dressed in tatters; the groom faces a firing squad. A man dressed as a terrorist and a naked man embrace on a bed covered with a Union Jack, with wine bottles and guns scattered around them. A voice on the soundtrack (that of Nigel Terry) invokes Allen Ginsberg's ''Howl.''

Excerpt from Janet Maslin at the NY Times located HERE

What proof do you need the world's curling up like an autumn leaf?' Jarman's most uncompromisingly personal film is of many parts. Shots of the man himself are accompanied by the mournful voice of Nigel Terry. Clips from home movies are spliced with endless scenes of inner-city decay and rent-boys throwing bricks. Pop video techniques are substituted for dialogue and linear progression. References to the Falklands War, drugs, the Bomb and the Royal Wedding are supposed to indicate the state of Britain today. Jarman, however, is not engaged with his subject but playing with it, a suspicion strengthened by continual allusions to his other work. The recurring images of desolate beauty are poetical not polemical, mesmerising not shocking - style has subverted substance. This is art of the state. Still, no one else could have made it.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

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

The Last of England gets a on Blu-ray from Lorber Films.  Originally shot on Super 8 with frequent fast cuts of varying quality - the images are still easily identifiable as 1080P.  This is only single-layered but the grain and richness show through the haunting images. Some sequences have a light tinting and I can only think that this is a strong representation of Jarman's film. This Blu-ray gives the impression of supporting The Last of England - very well - and the imperfections establish an impressionist viewpoint that comes across much more responsively in hi-def.  Obviously this is not a pristine, glossy appearance and was never meant to look that way. In fact it is closer to the polar opposite with texture being a prime ingredient.
















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master stereo at 1703 kbps effectively handles the narration, noises and music of The Last of England. Belying the production roots the audio is not crisp but does export some atmospheric depth via bass. The lossless transfer becomes a large part of the presentation - counter balancing the images with impacting quality. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

None - a truly bare-bones package from Lorber Films.



If you can settle in to Jarman's montage - it is quite an experience. The image in The Last of England are rich with harshness, truth, honesty and... artistic substance. It's difficult to describe but I think for those willing to venture to this Blu-ray - they may be surprised at how receptive they become to the 1080P presentation. For those unfamiliar with this work - there is merit here and despite the lack of supplements - we can encourage the adventurous to indulge in the package. 

Gary Tooze

July 18th, 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 5000 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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