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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Like Father, Like Son [Blu-ray]


(Hirokazu Koreeda, 2013)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Amuse

Video: Arrow Video



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

Runtime: 2:01:08.916 

Disc Size: 26,384,606,226 bytes

Feature Size: 25,510,090,752 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 5th, 2014



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 1613 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1613 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English (burned-in)



• None





Description: Ryota has earned everything he has by his hard work, and believes nothing can stop him from pursuing his perfect life as a winner. Then one day, he and his wife, Midori, get an unexpected phone call from the hospital. Their 6-year-old son, Keita, is not ‘their’ son – the hospital gave them the wrong baby.

Ryota is forced to make a life-changing decision, to choose between ‘nature’ and ‘nurture.’ Seeing Midori’s devotion to Keita even after learning his origin, and communicating with the rough yet caring family that has raised his natural son for the last six years, Ryota also starts to question himself: has he really been a ‘father’ all these years…



The Film:

The recipient of the jury prize at the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival, Hirokazu Koreeda's heartfelt drama tells the tale of Ryota (Masaharu Fukuyama), a success-drive father who learns that the son he has raised for six years is not his own due to a clerical error at the hospital where the child was born. Faced with the decision of raising his biological son or the one he has fathered since birth, Ryota begins questioning everything he has ever known about being a father.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Kore-eda returns to the subject of parents and children in this beautiful, melancholic paean to paternity, which sifts through issues of nature and nurture as gently as a hand passing through drifting sand. The story is an old one – two babies, accidentally swapped at birth, raised by families of differing social status, now faced with the heartbreaking prospect of having to exchange their six-year-olds in whom each family has invested so much energy, ambition and love. Masaharu Fukuyama is the affluent workaholic whose initial sideswiped reaction ("Now it makes sense ...") masks more complex inner turmoil; his aversion to the ramshackle family in which his biological son has been raised inevitably gives way to a realisation that he has been an absent father and husband – repeating the patterns of previous generations.

Excerpt from Mark Kermode at The Guardian located HERE

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

Like Father, Like Son gets a Blu-ray transfer from Arrow Films in the UK.  It sneaks into dual-layered territory and has a middling bitrate for the 2 hour feature. The image has softness and I am unsure whether this is inherent in the production, but the quality is consistent and as with Still Walking - the less polished visuals are totally intended - mostly likely as a vérité style impression. The 1080P supports rich contrast, not at moiring levels, and colors appear true in the 1.85:1 frame.  It's, predictably, very clean showcasing some interesting cinematography. This Blu-ray image is fairly unremarkable but I lean to it being very true to it's theatrical appearance.















Audio :

Arrow transfer the audio via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround in original Japanese at 1613 kbps. The film doesn't export much separation or aggression but the classical-piano leaning, sparse, score by the combination of Takeshi Matsubara, Junichi Matsumoto, and Takashi Mori sounds quite crisp and clean via the lossless. Strangely, the English subtitles are burned-in - and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

Nothing at all. I'd love to see a Criterion take this film on and have some extensive discussion on the film's strong merits.



Brilliant. Koreeda's (After Life, Still Walking, Nobody Knows) films are consistently impressive and I was expecting a lot from Like Father, Like Son. I wasn't disappointed - in fact - this may be my favorite of his works so far. An absolutely fabulous topic and one can appreciate its understated look at Japanese social society (as in most of his films) that helps push the film to masterpiece levels. The, bare-bones, Arrow Blu-ray is imperfect but, I was thrilled to see the film in 1080P with lossless sound and encourage others to view - this is not to be missed! Region 'A'-locked audiences should hope comes to their shores on Blu-ray soon. 

Gary Tooze

April 29th, 2014


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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