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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
The Reflecting Skin [Blu-ray]
(Philip Ridley, 1990)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: BBC Films
Video: Soda Pictures / Film Movement
Region: 'B' / 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:35:53.706 / 1:35:59.795
Disc Size: 45,259,565,616 bytes / 40,774,530,318 bytes
Feature Size: 29,273,874,432 bytes / 28,500,848,640 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps / 34.98 Mbps
Chapters: 12 / 13
Case: Standard Blu-ray case/ Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: November, 2015 / August 67th, 2019
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps /
Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps /
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
English (SDH), none
• Audio commentary by Philip Ridley
•Angels and Atom Bombs - all-new retrospective documentary covering the making of the film, including new and exclusive interviews with Philip Ridley and Viggo Mortensen (43:41)
• Philip Ridley's short films Visiting Mr. Beak (1987 - 21:08 with 3:29 introduction by Ridley) and The Universe Of Dermot Finn (1988 - 11:16 with 2:01 introduction by Ridley), available on home video for the first time
• Isolated score track
• Stills and poster art galleries
• Trailer (2:44)
• Audio commentary by Philip Ridley
Description: Soda Pictures has acquired UK & Irish home
video rights to Philip Ridley’s 1990 cult classic The
Reflecting Skin, featuring Viggo Mortensen in one of his
first starring roles and Scottish actress Lindsay Duncan.
As mysterious deaths plague a small American prairie town, eight
year-old Seth (Jeremy Cooper) comes to believe that the pale, reclusive
widow living next door (Lindsay Duncan) is a vampire. Seth’s worst
nightmare comes true when his older brother Cameron (Viggo Mortensen)
returns home from abroad and falls in love with the widow – will he be
next? The truth is much more shocking than Seth could imagine.
Set in a 1950s-era American heartland of sprawling wheat fields and lonely old houses, The Reflecting Skin is British director Philip Ridley's fascinating and very strange investigation into the horrors of childhood innocence and fantasy. The film's mixture of gruesome subject matter, morbid sexual perversion, and disarming humor has spawned comparisons to the work of David Lynch, particularly Blue Velvet and the Twin Peaks series. Young Seth Dove (Jeremy Cooper) lives with his mother and father in a ramshackle farmhouse that also serves as the local gas station. After reading one of his father's pulp horror magazines, Seth convinces himself that Dolphin Blue (Lindsay Duncan), the attractive widow who lives nearby, is a vampire. When Seth's friend Eben is found dead (and sexually abused) in the family cistern, Seth is sure that Dolphin is to blame. The authorities, however, point to Seth's father, whose secret homosexuality -- and past affair with a young boy -- is a skeleton in the town's closet. Seth's father refuses to have the affair dragged into public view, and so he burns himself alive at the family gas pump, prompting Seth's older brother Cameron (Viggo Mortensen) to return home from a military tour. Cameron falls for Dolphin, and at the same time he becomes weak and begins losing hair. Seth takes this as a sign that Cameron is being drained of vitality by Dolphin, although it is suggested that his sickness is in fact due to overseeing A-bomb tests while on a ship in the South Pacific. Meanwhile, a roving gang prowls the country roads in a sleek, black Cadillac, and more children are found dead. It is not surprising that writer/director Philip Ridley has also published books for children, since watching The Reflecting Skin is a lot like reading a young adult novel, albeit a horrific one. Presented from a child's strangely warped point-of-view, this film should be appreciated by anyone looking for films far outside the mainstream.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Reflecting Skin gets an 1080P transfer to Blu-ray from Soda Pictures in the UK. It is solidly in dual-layered territory and has a max'ed bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. Dick Pope's (Topsy-Turvy, Naked, Secrets & Lies, The Illusionist) cinematography is exceptional. The visuals look a shade waxy but it doesn't' reflect digitization, IMO - but the softer look rather represents an intentional appearance. There may be a touch of, non-distracting, high-frequency edge-enhancement and a very heavy waxiness. The texture in minimal. It is described as a "new 2K scan restored in a high-definition transfer from original elements" and is also director-approved. Colors are beautiful - appearing painterly - and it looks appealing in-motion. As we have heard poor reports about the German HD (and previous DVDs) this Blu-ray is certainly appears to be the best presentation for your home theater viewing.
The Film Movement (US) 1080P Blu-ray transfer isn't far off the Soda Pictures. It is cited as a "GORGEOUS 2K RESTORATION RELEASED FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER ON BLU RAY IN THE USA". The colors seem marginally more passive - which I think may be more authentic. It is also on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. Most viewers will not notice the minor differences in the image quality. This is a beautiful looking film and the waxiness is inherent on both but seems marginally more prevalent on the UK edition. This looks like it is from the same source - which may have some, unfortunate, digitization.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Subtitle Sample - Film Movement - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
More Soda Pictures - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Captures
Soda use a linear PCM 2.0 channel at 1536 kbps (16-bit) and it sounds fine - occasionally impressive. There are a few effects and a scream or two exporting a bit of base. Dialogue is clean, consistent and audible. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Film Movement also uses an uncompressed liner PCM track, however it is more robust and is 24-bit as opposed to 16-bit. This is accentuated in the score by Nick Bicāt (many TV series and TV movies to his credit.) I noted no anomalies. There are also optional English subtitles but the Blu-ray is encoded to be Region 'A'.
There is an intelligent audio commentary by writer/director Philip Ridley providing first-hand knowledge of the production details. And he shares liberally with the video supplements in this Blu-ray package. There is a 45-minute, all-new retrospective documentary entitled Angels and Atom Bombs - covering the making of the film, including new and exclusive interviews with Philip Ridley and Viggo Mortensen. We also get two short films by Ridley; Visiting Mr. Beak (1987 - 21:08 with 3:29 introduction by Ridley) and The Universe Of Dermot Finn (1988 - 11:16 with 2:01 introduction by Ridley). An isolated score track is accessible and there are galleries for stills and poster art - plus a trailer.
Film Movement include the same audio commentary by writer/director Philip Ridley (as stated above) providing first-hand knowledge of the production details. And he shares liberally with the video supplements in this Blu-ray package. There is also the same 45-minute, all-new retrospective documentary entitled Angels and Atom Bombs - covering the making of the film, including new and exclusive interviews with Philip Ridley and Viggo Mortensen. The Film Movement package has a 20-page liner notes booklet with color photos and a note on the restoration by Philip Ridley and an essay "Innocence Can Be Hell" by Travis Crawford and Heather Hyche.
Soda Pictures - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Film Movement - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Such a strong and memorable film experience. The Reflecting Skin is an unusual and appealing film. It can be visually stunning and always keeps you guessing. Curious-er and curious-er. It's an odd, uncomfortable horror - and is definitely a film I will revisit. I liked it's misdirection and empty alleys - a lot. I liked the Filkm Movement - not necessary to double-dip if you own the Soda Pictures but for those who didn't get it a couple of years ago - or are Region 'A'-locked. I would strongly recommend this idiosyncratic film on Film Movement's Blu-ray.
November 5th, 2015
August 10th, 2019
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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