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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Unbelievable Truth [Blu-ray]


(Hal Hartley, 1989)


Artificial Eye Release their Blu-ray at the end of May 2013



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Action Features

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:30:28.339

Disc Size: 21,638,405,656 bytes

Feature Size: 19,853,598,720 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 14th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 835 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 835 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)






The Unbelievable Truth (and its consequences) (17:35 in 480i)

Opera #1(8:20 in 480i)





Description: The Unbelievable Truth is a comedy of errors surrounding a beautiful college bound girl (Adrienne Shelly) disturbingly preoccupied with the threat of nuclear destruction. Nevertheless, she falls in love with a handsome ex-con (Robert John Burke) who is rumored to have murdered, many years before, the father of his high school sweetheart. A warm-hearted satire about idealistic young love, capitalist moralizing in the home, forgiveness, skepticism, and the need for work one loves. The stellar cast includes Edie Falco, Matt Malloy and Paul Schulze. This was writer and director Hal Hartley's feature film debut.



The Film:

Writer-director Hal Hartley's first feature -- shot in less than 12 days in his backyard for a mere $200,000 -- is a dry and dark comedy about the dangerous undercurrents that exist below the surface of normal middle class existence. Over the credits, Josh (Robert Burke), a man garbed in black, is seen hitch-hiking back to his Long Island home. People ask him, "Are you a priest?" and Josh responds, "No. I'm a mechanic." Back in Long Island in the town of Lindenhurst, beautiful and somber 17-year-old Audry (Adrienne Shelly) is busy worrying about the forthcoming apocalypse. Josh arrives in Lindenhurst and is hired by Audry's father (Chris Cooke) as a mechanic at his garage. But Audry's father worries about him, particularly when he falls in love with Audry. Her father's problems compound when Audry dumps her old boyfriend and rejects an invitation to attend Harvard. The whole town is now gossiping about Audry's new boyfriend, with rumors spreading that Josh is a mass murderer who killed two members of the family of local waitress Pearl (Julia McNeal). Pearl tells Audry, "He seems like a nice man." Audry responds, "Even though he killed your father and your sister?" Audry finally makes her father happy when she tells him she won't see Josh again, but dad's relief is short-lived when Audry informs him she's moving to New York to become an underwear model.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Undecided whether to go to college, burdened by anxieties about nuclear apocalypse, forever at loggerheads with her Mom and Dad, teenager Audry (Shelly) finds life in her small Long Island home-town impossibly tedious. But when tall, dark, handsome Josh (Burke) arrives on the scene cloaked in mystery, her mundane world is transformed, not only by the erotic attraction she feels for the silent stranger, but by the rumours concerning his past: is he a priest, a mechanic, or - as most townsfolk would have it - a mass murderer? Like Mystery Train and Metropolitan, Hartley's independent first feature partly concerns problems of knowledge and truth: how do hearsay and personal bias relate to reality? He adopts an engagingly low-key form of farce to make his point, and to paint an affectionate, accurate satire on the shortcomings of small-town life. The director's delicately turned script is well served by colourful but credible performances, and by Michael Spiller's stark but stylish camerawork.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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

The Unbelievable Truth looks quite good on Blu-ray from Olive Films. This is single-layered but colors look very bright and the image is pristinely clean. The 1080P resolution looks quite pleasing producing a strong presentation.  The black levels are adept supporting decent detail. The outdoor sequences, naturally, looked the best. There is a touch of depth but no real grain textures. I saw a hint of noise but nothing extensive. The Blu-ray source must have been in good shape and visually this video is positive.
















Audio :

Audio comes in the form of a DTS-HD Master mono track at 835 kbps. This is mostly a dialogue-driven film with few effects necessary and the result is flat, clean and consistent. The original music is by Jim Coleman - who did a few documentaries and it stays mostly in the background. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Olive don't usually add supplements but there are a couple of videos here. Extras include the 2010 'making of...' piece entitled The Unbelievable Truth (and its consequences). It runs 17.5 minutes and has Robert John Burke, Martin Donovan, Hal Hartley and others reminiscing about the film with some archival footage of the, now deceased, Adrienne Shelly. Also included is a Hal Hartley 8-minute short, Opera No. 1 made in 1994. It has Patricia Dunnock, Parker Posey, Adrienne Shelly and James Urbaniak. Both are in original 4:3 at 480i SD resolution.



The Unbelievable Truth is a cute film. It's an odd little romance with compelling, almost vérité, performances. It was Hartley's first feature - and a good one - made with a modest budget but it comes together... enjoyably. Any awkwardness seems totally suitable.  Olive's Blu-ray gives a solid, bright and pleasing presentation. It's a much batter film than I was anticipating and those familiar with the director's fine work will want to indulge. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

May 10th, 2013

Artificial Eye Release their Blu-ray at the end of May 2013


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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