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Sliding Doors [Blu-ray]
(Peter Howitt, 1998)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Intermedia Films
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 45,276,245,658 bytes
English-language Feature Size: 20,527,177,728 bytes
Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: May 30th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 24 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 4169 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4169 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
• English-language version with optional German subtitles
Description: British actor Peter Howitt wrote and directed this British romantic comedy-drama with a "road not taken" premise recalling the 1921 play +If by Lord Dunsany (1878-1957), Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946), and O.Henry's short story Roads of Destiny (1909). Howitt's storyline branches in two directions: Helen (Gwyneth Paltrow) loses her job at a classy London PR firm, has a run-in with a purse-snatcher, and just misses catching her boyfriend Gerry (John Lynch) in bed with his former girlfriend Lydia (Jeanne Tripplehorn). But what if it were one of those days when everything goes right? As the sliding doors close while she stands on a subway platform in the London underground, Helen ponders the events in her alternate reality. The plot of Lord Dunsany's +If also hinges on a future determined by catching or missing a train. Sliding Doors was shown at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival
Helen (Paltrow) loses her high-powered PR job and returns unexpectedly to her London flat to find boyfriend Gerry (Lynch) in bed with his ex Lydia (Tripplehorn). Or she doesn't. In some alternate reality, Helen is delayed, arrives home a few minutes after Lydia has left, and remains in the dark about the affair. Meanwhile, the other Helen - the one who walked out - finds a new life and a new admirer, a real charmer, James (Hannah). While touching on such perennials as the nature of destiny, fate and self-determination, this is essentially a romantic comedy with a nifty gimmick. As such, it's entertaining and smart. Although writer/director Howitt botches the dramatic fulcrum - the point where Helen's twin fates diverge - he pulls off the more difficult task of keeping both scenarios in the air with ease. The actors are crucial, none more so than the wonderful Paltrow, whose impeccable English accent is so precise it's disconcerting. Howitt might have pushed her harder to distinguish between the two Helens (she lets her hairdo do the work), but then this isn't meant to change your life - that's just a happy side effect.
The trick is beautifully handled, parallel narratives leaping from
expectation to doubt to heartbreak, exposing, with considerable wit and
honesty, the myth that relationships teach you something about the other
person. All is lies, presentation and wish-fulfilment, summed up by
Lydia, who says, "I'm a woman. We don't say what we want."
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, What we are actually reviewing (image/sound) is an extra on the German 'Alive' Blu-ray. It has a DUBBED version as the main feature and the English-language presentation (with optional German subtitles) as a supplement. It is in 1080P and as robust as the German-dubbed feature. Now, I watched some of the German DUB - and it is different! It was certain subtleties but this is why they just didn't make it switchable on-the-fly (German DUB to English audio). A text screen comes up to identify this.
Sliding Doors arrives on Blu-ray! The image is fairly modest - a combination of the production and condition more at fault than the 1080P transfer. Yes, it is progressive - shows a bit of depth and is consistent throughout. This Blu-ray doesn't export a particularly tight image. Colors have a bit of depth. The overall image is a bit blocky but clean and it has a thickness to it. It services the film presentation looking less-than spectacular but superior to SD.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The English language transferred version has a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a whopping 4169 kbps. There aren't a ton of effect noises but a few separations (rain and the Pub-crowd sounds) but the score by David Hirschfelder (Elizabeth, The Children of Huang Shi, Shine) augmented with excellent music; Dido's Thank You, Aimee Mann's Amateur, Elton John's Bennie And The Jets + Honkey Cat sounds amazing via the lossless. There are optional German subtitles removable with the remote and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
As previously mentioned the English-language version with optional German subtitles is listed as an extra and there are a few other video supplements (all in English with optional German subtitles) including a 6-minute standard featurette, about 1/2 hour's worth of seven interviews with cast and filmmakers, an 8-minute 'Hinter den Kulissen' ('Behind the Scenes') and last a German-language trailer. Pretty decent stuff actually.
July 28, 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 3500 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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