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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Elle [Blu-ray]


(Paul Verhoeven, 2016)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Video: Sony



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

Runtime: 2:11:10.863

Disc Size: 41,731,481,534 bytes

Feature Size: 32,465,774,592 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.16 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 14th, 2017



Aspect ratio: 2.4:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio French 3297 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3297 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Descriptive Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps

Dolby Digital Audio Hungarian/Magyar 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps



English (SDH), English, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Icelandic, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, none



A Tale of Empowerment - Making Elle (7:15)

• Celebrating an Icon; AFI's Tribute to Isabelle Huppert (36:39)

Trailer (2:09)





Description: Michèle seems indestructible. Head of a leading video game company, she brings the same ruthless attitude to her love life as to business. Being attacked in her home by an unknown assailant changes Michèle's life forever. When she resolutely tracks the man down, they are both drawn into a curious and thrilling game - a game that may, at any moment, spiral out of control.



The Film:

Elle owes its success as much to lead actress Isabelle Huppert as to Verhoeven. Huppert, who earned a Lead Actress Oscar nomination (a decided rarity in a foreign-language film), is no stranger to playing psychologically complex characters but this may be her most conflicted one to date. Michele Leblanc is not easily pigeonholed. She’s smart, sarcastic, strong-willed, and fearless. She’s a proponent of “tough love” and uses people without a second thought. She enters risky relationships because of the thrill of danger. Emotionally and mentally, she’s damaged but what we initially take for denial may be something else altogether. She never plays the victim even when she is one. Huppert has no difficulty conveying all of this and much more, being simultaneously frightening and sexy.

The original plan was to make this movie, which features a screenplay by American David Birke based on a novel by Philippe Djian, in the United States with a “name” actress. Everyone approached by the producers declined. Huppert, however, having read the book, was eager to sign. Like Carice von Houten in Black Book, she formed a rapport with the director and the peculiar alchemy led to a memorable production.

Excerpt from ReelViews located HERE


Isabelle Huppert stars as Michèle, the CEO of a video game company (though its product looks more like tentacle porn) who’s being brutally raped by a masked intruder literally the second the movie begins. Rather than call the police, Michèle calmly goes about her business, explaining a bruise on her face by claiming she fell off her bike (which she never once rides). That’s already somewhat perverse, and the movie gets considerably less P.C. as it goes along, incorporating horrific details from Michèle’s childhood; her affair with the husband (Christian Berkel) of her best friend and business partner (Anne Consigny); her efforts to sabotage the new relationship between her ex-husband (Charles Berling) and a young, hot yoga instructor (Vimala Pons); and various other seemingly irrelevant subplots. Eventually, Michèle learns who raped her, yet still doesn’t go to the police, preferring to encourage the man’s violent attentions.

Excerpt from AVClub located HERE

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

Elle looks, presumably, authentic on Blu-ray from Sony. The image has a consistent softer-lensed look to it that can almost be dream-like. Like the film it is dark and was never meant to look glossy or crisp as HD (Red Epic)  - which it was shot on and can often tend to overdo that pristine appearance. It is dual-layered with a supportive bitrate for the 2 1/4 hour film in the 2.4:1 aspect ratio. This Blu-ray looks quite strong in-motion and, we suspect, supports the filmmaker's intentions very well. Obviously no damage and I appreciated the, intentionally less dynamic, visuals which suited the narrative. I may compares to another BD one day - but I don't expect to find a strong difference. This appears to be the way Elle looks.



















Audio :

The audio track is very robust and handles the film's requirements easily even with the spat of aggression and violence. It's a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 3297 kbps in the original French language (24-bit). What I was impressed with was the score Anne Dudley (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Crying Game, American History X, Tristan + Isolde.) Like the film it carries and air of mystery and expectation. Dialogue was clear and even plus there are multiple subtitle options on the region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

There are a couple of featurettes - A Tale of Empowerment - Making Elle runs 7-minutes and has soundbytes from the cast, producers, director etc. - standard fare. There is also a 36-minutes piece entitled Celebrating an Icon; AFI's Tribute to Isabelle Huppert which shows much of that night and accolades from many in the business. We all love her. There is also a trailer.



Miss Huppert steals the show and the camera rarely leaves her hypnotically sly, subtly expressive face for the entire film. Elle evokes the character she played Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher. A flawed, psychologically damaged and sexually unbound personality. Her roles show she is fearless and is one of the best in her profession. I thoroughly enjoyed Elle - biggest thanks to her. The Sony Blu-ray presentation does its job well - and we, certainly, recommend! Her fans should not miss this! 

Gary Tooze

March 9th, 2017


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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