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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Woman in the Fifth [Blu-ray]


(Pawel Pawlikowski, 2011)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Film4

Video: Artificial Eye



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

Runtime: 1:23:37.041

Disc Size: 26,088,837,612 bytes

Feature Size: 24,559,454,208 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 11th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio French 1765 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1765 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB



English (SDH), none



• Interview with director Pawel Pawlikowski (13:01 in 576i)

Trailer (1:53 in 1080P)





Description: Ethan Hawke (Assault on Precinct 13) plays Harry Ricks in this adaptation of novelist Douglas Kennedy's erotic thriller by the director of My Summer of Love & Last Resort.

Ricks' life is out of control - separated from his wife, he heads to Paris in search of his daughter and the bohemian life of a would-be writer. But a series of encounters with the wrong kind of people start to push him towards free fall, until he meets mysterious émigré, Margit, played by Kristin Scott Thomas (Sarah s Key), who seduces him and appears to offer him the hedonistic and uncomplicated life he craves....



The Film:

A writer stranded in Paris falls into a strange relationship with a mysterious woman in this drama from writer and director Pawel Pawlikowski. Tom Ricks (Ethan Hawke) is an American novelist who has been wrestling with writers' block since the publication of his first book. Tom is married to Nathalie (Delphine Chuillot) but their relationship has taken a turn for the worse, and when she goes home to France with their daughter Chloe (Julie Papillon) in tow, Tom flies out in hopes of reconciling with her. However, Tom is robbed shortly after arriving, and is stuck with no money and nowhere to go. Tom is befriended by Sezer (Samir Guesmi), who gives him a job as a night watchman and a room in a cheap hotel, but for all his generosity, Tom isn't sure he trusts his benefactor. Tom meets Margit (Kristin Scott Thomas), a beautiful woman with a literary bent, and ends up spending the night with her. But what begins as a passing fling takes on a more sinister cast as Margit sends Tom through a series of increasingly bizarre experiences in the interest of reawakening his muse. La Femme du 5e (aka The Woman In The Fifth) received its North American debut at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Ethan Hawke is perfectly cast as Tom, delivering a finely balanced, edgy performance that we can't help liking, even though – as evidenced by Nathalie's obvious fear of him – we quickly understand that his point of view might not be entirely reliable. Kristin Scott Thomas is equally good as Margit, though her enigmatic nature means that there's very little to her character other than surface slinkiness (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Excerpt from Matthew Turner at View London located HERE

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

The Woman In The Fifth sneaks into dual-layered status on Blu-ray and the film is supported with a high bitrate.  The image leans to blue/grey with decent detail and no noise.  This is transferred in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. There is not a lot of depth and contrast is in the mediocre range. Daylight scenes are more impressive but much of the film is dark. This Blu-ray gave me a good but not awe-inspiring presentation - but this may be more a part of the original film experience. I didn't see it at the TIFF Premiere but thought this 1080P looked okay.














Audio :

Audio comes in a DTS-HD Master - majority in French - 5.1 surround at 1765 kbps. There aren't a lot of separations - a few - and the film is mostly dialogue-driven with everything being clean, audible and clear. There is also a standard Dolby Digital track also in surround. There is an original score at Max de Wardener supporting some of the film's more suspenseful aspects. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

Supplements include a 13-minute interview with director Pawel Pawlikowski who is quite frank about his feelings regarding filmmaking. There is also an HD trailer for The Woman in the Fifth.



I liked the film's surprises, lack of direction and enjoyed the performances. This could be seen as being quite odd but if you are accepting - you may be rewarded by the story and development. Some may not enjoy the more scattered characteristics. The Artificial Eye Blu-ray does its job in supplying an HD presentation without any flaws. Those who give this a chance - might be surprised at their positive reaction.  

Gary Tooze

June 12th, 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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