|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
(Denis Villeneuve, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Remstar Media Partners
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:17:01.867 (both)
Disc Size: 38,450,536,205 bytes
Feature Size: English: 17,069,568,000 bytes / French: 17,090,457,600 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.49 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: June 10th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3136 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3136
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 3115 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3115
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48
English (SDH), French, none
Extras (in French only - no subs):
• Ici Comme Ailleurs (5:07)
• Trailers (Sticky Fingers - 1:37, The Master Key - 1:51)
Description: Based on the true events that occurred on December 6, 1989, at the Montreal’s Polytechnique School, the movie tells us about that specific day through the eyes of two students, Valérie and Jean-François, whose lives have been changed forever, when a young man entered the school with one idea in mind: kill himself and take with him as many women as possible.
Denis Villeneuve’s somber and meticulous “Polytechnique,” about
killings that took place more than 20 years ago at a Montreal technical
school, feels both shocking and dreadfully familiar. The way horror
erupts into the routines of an ordinary day, in drab, functional,
institutional spaces — we know this from news reports, from our own
imaginations and from movies like Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant,”
a film loosely based on the Columbine High School shootings that casts
an ambiguous shadow over “Polytechnique.”
Quebec's Denis Villeneuve (Maelström) doesn't attempt to answer the "why" question in Polytechnique, his skilfully devastating account of Dec. 6, 1989, when gunman Marc Lépine shot and killed 14 women at Montreal's École Polytechnique, also wounding 10 women and four men before taking his own life.
Nor do Villeneuve and screenwriter Jacques Davidts seek to make a grand statement about what it all means. They leave it to journalists and other so-called "experts" to try to explain how solitary madness applies to society at large.
Instead they show, with minimal speculation and admirable restraint, the horror of that awful day when the rage of one became the grief of many.Excerpt from The Toronto Star located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, There were two versions of the film produced, one in English and one in French. The director Denis Villeneuve hoped the film would enter into the English-Canadian market, as well as the American one.
NOTE: this is not referencing that both films offer two versions of the critical moment when the massacre begins.
Alliance continue to make head-scratching decisions (see their SD transfers of two other Canadian films; Atanarjuat or The Red Violin or David Lynch's The Straight Story.) Who makes these odd authoring decisions? Someone out of touch, IMO. And here we go again...
Polytechnique came out on Blu-ray a while back but, looking closely, the film is transferred twice - once in an English (DUB) option and separately in the original French. By not simply adding alternate audio tracks to the transfer (and it is the exact same film as far as I can determine) they are spreading the transfer's file space and thereby limiting the bitrate. Firstly, I thought one would be black and white and the other in color. No - that isn't the case. Villeneuve shot the film in black and white, so as to avoid the distraction and exploitive attention when deep red blood appears in a scene. Or I thought that they would be differently cut (edited) films - I don't believe so or it probably wouldn't have the exact same running time to the 1/1000th of a second. Now, it may be some weird contractual thing (starting with different logos? - but that could have easily been seamlessly-branched) - but even if it is - the result is a sloppy, unnecessarily wasteful transfer. Now, the film is short, at an hour 17-minutes, which still doesn't justify the decision - as it could/should have had a max'ed out bitrate. Baffling but consistent with Alliance's past transfer decisions. If I am wrong, I am willing to correct this - I watched both - exact same film - aside from the audio.
It is dual-layered with a reasonable bitrate. It is predictably clean and the 1080P provides a very pleasing HD presentation in the film's original black and white. I might have seen one or two slight instances of noise but it was never distracting. Pierre Gill's cinematography (extensive, well-thought out, pans and unique angles) does a great job adding a vérité, and disturbingly haunting feel. The video quality is adept - often rich and pleasing but I suspect it could have been better (crisper) - accentuating the contrast and adding more consistency to the grain textures - if it had a more robust bitrate. This Blu-ray does an acceptable, but not stellar, job in presenting the film.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Alliance use a DTS-HD Master in 5.1 surround at a healthy 3136 kbps for both English and French versions (as well as lossy Dolby 5.1 options for both languages as well.) Audio quality is great with a supportive score by Benoît Charest - beautiful, haunting and contemplative - it works very well with the narrative. The gunfire effects are explosive and will rattle your home theater with their bomb-like depth. The film doesn't have a lot of dialogue but what I did see in the English version did not seem like a distracting out-of-synch DUB. There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'.
Both supplements featurettes are in French (Quebecois) with no English subtitle or DUB option on the 2 extras. This is a drawback. Ici comme ailleurs is a TV clip from 1989 about the event. Enjeux - "Tuerie a l'ecole Polytechque - 10 ans apres runs 47-minutes and is from 1999 with some interviews with individuals about the horrific shooting. There are also two trailers for other Alliance productions.
March 2nd, 2016
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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