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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

A Late Quartet [Blu-ray]


(Yaron Zilberman, 2012)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Opening Night Productions

Video: Curzons Film World



Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:45:33.368 

Disc Size: 31,429,216,597 bytes

Feature Size: 30,087,782,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.68 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 29th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2781 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2781 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Audio Description: LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit



English (SDH), none








Description: When the beloved cellist of a world-renowned string quartet receives a life changing diagnosis, the group's future suddenly hangs in the balance: suppressed emotions, competing egos, and uncontrollable passions threaten to derail years of friendship and collaboration. As they are about to play their 25th anniversary concert, quite possibly their last, only their intimate bond and the power of music can preserve their legacy. Inspired by and structured around Beethoven's Opus 131 String Quartet in C-sharp minor, A LATE QUARTET pays homage to chamber music and the cultural world of New York.



The Film:

A Late Quartet, the first fiction film from director Yaron Zilberman, follows the lives of four longtime colleagues who play in a celebrated string quartet together. As the group begin their 25th season together, the eldest member (Christopher Walken) discovers he has the beginning stage of Parkinson's disease. Because he can't perform to the best of his abilities, he would like to bow out of the quartet without disbanding it. However, a married couple within the group (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener) are on the brink of breaking up, and their rocky period isn't helped by the fact that the fourth member has begun an affair with their college-age daughter. A Late Quartet screened at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

A Late Quartet seamlessly blends the personal, artistic and professional lives of top-level musicians in a unique, absorbing story that engages both heart and mind.

The Fugue Quartet has been at the top of the classical music world for 25 years when its cellist (Christopher Walken) tells the others he has Parkinson’s disease and is retiring. The news upsets the delicate balance among the others: first violin (Mark Ivanir), second violin (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who is also married to the viola player (Catherine Keener). Politicking over the quartet’s future ensues and inevitably bleeds into long-standing personal discontents.

All four are smart, articulate and know each other very well, conditions that lead to unexpected scenes that play out in ways that seem both surprising and inevitable. The rich performances filled with nuances are perfectly captured by director Yaron Zilberman’s smooth, unobtrusive camera work.

Excerpt from Now Magazine located HERE

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

A Late Quartet gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Curzons.  Dual-layered with a strong bitrate for the 1 3/4 hour feature. Colors are tight and crisp and detail at the very high end. The 1080P supports solid contrast exhibiting healthy, rich black levels and some minor depth in the 2.35:1 frame. This is a beautiful film - and looks it.  It's pristinely clean showcasing some hi-def detail and there is no noise or any other flaws with the rendering. It looks magnificent - even exceeding that for a modern production. This Blu-ray provides a strong presentation. Thumbs up!















Audio :

The 'Quartet' in the film is famous for playing Beethoven's String Quartet No. 14, opus 131, which is actually famous for its continuous play status. There are musical sequences in the film but I'd say that it is primarily dialogue. The score is by, prolific, Angelo Badalamenti - who has done much work with David Lynch including composing for Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Wild at Heart and The Straight Story among others. We get the option of a linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps or a more dynamic DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2781 kbps. I wouldn't say there are an abundance of separations , but the few that exist travel discreetly to the rear. Depth is audible in the music with strong definition of certain notes. There is also a 'descriptive track' available - also in lossless. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

Only a trailer - a commentary, from the director, would have been appreciated.



Great film - capturing this, rarely seen, classical orchestral world. Great characters and even better performances. Very 'stayed' and theatrical in parts but I enjoyed the pace and the formal, behind-the-scenes, aspect.  The Curzons' Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation although essentially bare-bones with only a trailer as an extra. I think the film deserves some discussion. Overall, I was very impressed and can certainly recommend to any who might be interested. 

Gary Tooze

July 11th, 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.

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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
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Gary W. Tooze






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