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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Amen [Blu-ray]

 

(Costa-Gavras, 2002)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Canal+

Video: Cohen Media Group

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:11:25.085

Disc Size: 48,020,106,209 bytes

Feature Size: 35,408,095,296 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.02 Mbps

Chapters: 15

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: June 10th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3747 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3747 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Commentary with director Costa-Gavras and film critic Wade Major

• Pius X11: The Pope, The Jews and the Nazis (1:02:03)

• 2014 Re_Release Trailer (2:09)
• 8-page leaflet with photos, chapter titles etc.

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Amen. examines the links between the Vatican and Nazi Germany. The central character is Kurt Gerstein (Ulrich Tukur), a Waffen-SS officer employed in the SS Hygiene Institute, designing programs for the purification of water and the destruction of vermin. He is shocked to learn that the process he has developed to eradicate typhus, by using a hydrogen cyanide mixture called Zyklon B, is now being used for killing Jews in extermination camps. Gerstein attempts to notify Pope Pius XII (Marcel Iureş) about the gassings, but is appalled by the lack of response he gets from the Catholic hierarchy. The only person moved is Riccardo Fontana (Mathieu Kassovitz), a young Jesuit priest.

 

 

The Film:

An adaptation of Rolf Hochhuth's The Representative (1963), a free-verse play about the man who created Zyklon-B gas, but then failed to persuade the Vatican to denounce the Nazis' genocidal use of it. Its critique of papal inaction isn't righteously denunciatory so much as disconsolately aware that power prefers to deal behind closed doors. As a Holocaust movie, this follows recent convention in focusing on individuals tilting against the Nazi machine. Its protagonist Kurt Gerstein (Tukur) is a fraught, compromised character who continues his work for the regime in order to bear testimony to the Vatican and other unresponsive authorities. But the story introduces a more heroic parallel in the fictional figure of Kassovitz's papal delegate, who counters his elders' caution with, finally, mere desperate gestures. Costa-Gavras' direction is sometimes stolid and rarely more than pictorial, though he finds telling drama in a few scenes.

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

The film-makers largely avoid imagery of the death camps, hinting instead at the atrocities in a more oblique way. Thus we're treated to endless, heavily symbolic shots of trains hurtling across the landscape. When they are empty with their doors open, we know their human cargo has now been disposed of; when the doors are shut, it's because more refugees are on their way to almost-certain death. The attempts at satire are heavy-handed. When Riccardo visits Rome, we see pampered, sybaritic priests and diplomats at the lunch table, grotesquely savouring their food as they defend their inaction with self-serving arguments (for instance, that trying to stop the massacres would hold back the Allied war effort.)

Excerpt from SightandSound located HERE

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

Amen arrives on Blu-ray from Cohen Media. Costa-Gavras' film deals with important moral issues and looks quite excellent in 1080P. Detail is a strongpoint - notable in the film's many close-ups. This is dual-layered for the 2 1/4 hour movie and has a supportive bitrate. It is pristinely clean and the HD presentation is tight and impressive with realistic colors and no noise. This Blu-ray video is consistent with no flaws. I'll wager the 1.85:1 visuals are an excellent representation of the theatrical film.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Very strong audio transfer via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a whopping 3747 kbps 5.1. When effects are used (and they are sparse) they come through with comfortable depth. The English dialogue is clean and clear. The score is by Armand Amar (London River, You Will Be My Son) and supports the film well, when utilized. It benefits from the lossless rendering. There are no optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'.

 

Extras :

Cohen include a commentary by director Costa-Gavras and film critic Wade Major who discuss everything from casting to marketing to the morals of the characters. It's quite good. There is also an hour-long BBC TV documentary from 1995 entitled Pius X11: The Pope, The Jews and the Nazis. It was a part of the series Reputations and examined the role that the Vatican played in the Final Solution. There is a 2014 Re-Release Trailer and the package has an 8-page leaflet with photos, chapter titles, but no essay.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Subtle but emotionally hard-hitting. Amen is a tough film to digest with an uncomfortable topic. The Cohen Blu-ray is solid from the strong a/v to the commentary and included documentary. There is a lot of value here and we can endorse.

Gary Tooze

June 3rd, 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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