Zen (2011)

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Released 2-Feb-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 270:00 (Case: 298)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Alexander
Jon Jones
Christopher Menaul

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Rufus Sewell
Ben Miles
Caterina Morino
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Adrian Johnston

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

†††† At my house, we tend to enjoy the full range of British mystery/thriller television from the old fashioned like Miss Marple or Poirot through the light and fun like New Tricks to the gritty like Cracker or The Hour. Accordingly, any new British made television mystery/thriller series is likely to strike our interest, resulting in Zen catching our attention when it was shown on the ABC recently. We only managed to catch one of the three movie length episodes. Now having watched all three episodes I can certainly recommend it for fans of the genre.

†††† Whilst it originates from the BBC in Britain, Zen is technically a British/Italian co-production and was shot on location in Rome featuring a mixed cast of British and Italian actors. It is based on a series of novels by British author Michael Dibdin, which feature the detective, Aurelio Zen (Rufus Sewell). This series brings to life three of the novels from the series, over three movie length episodes, Vendetta, Cabal and Ratking. Zen is seemingly a rare thing in modern day Italy, a detective with a reputation for integrity. He works for the murder squad of Rome's police force and is often called upon to conduct sensitive investigations by the minister of police through his right hand man, Amedeo Collonna (Ben Miles). Due to a failed marriage, with the divorce pending, he is living with his mother. He doesn't trust most of his co-workers because they all seem to be tainted with forms of corruption. Across the three episodes he investigates a murder in a remote village which might have mafia links, the apparent suicide of a man from an important family and the kidnapping of an industrialist. He also starts a romantic relationship with his bossís secretary Tania (Caterina Morino).

†††† This show is has intriguing stories, personal dramas, some romance and a lightness of touch which adds some comedic elements. The characterisation of Zen by Rufus Sewell is excellent and he plays the role well. The rest of the cast also do well. This is not an action oriented thriller series, relying on the interesting storylines and your interest in the characters to succeed. It can be a little slow at times, but the stories keep you interested. Interestingly, the producers chose to get the actors to use their natural English accents rather than Italian accents even though they are all playing Italian characters.

†††† Recommended for those who like mystery/police series, especially with some Latin flair.

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Transfer Quality


†††† The video quality is very good. The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

†††† The picture was clear and sharp throughout. Shadow detail was quite good.

†††† The colour is very good highlighting the beauty of Rome.

†††† There was a bit of edge enhancement, but nothing spectacular.

†††† There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which were clear and easy to read.

††††There is no obvious layer change during the episodes.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


††††The audio quality is good. These discs contain an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. The sound is obviously quite front focused.

†††† Dialogue was generally easy to understand throughout although the subtitles were useful.

†††† The music sounds good but does not stand out.

†††† The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


†††† One extra.


†††† The menu featured music and motion.

Zen : An Italian Adventure (31:27)

†††† A comprehensive making of featurette which includes cast & crew interviews and covers the novels, the adaption, why the English accents were used, challenges of filming in Rome, light, casting and costumes. Well worth a look.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † This show is available in the UK in the same format.


†††† Another quality mystery/thriller series from the BBC, this time set in Rome.

†††† The video quality is very good. The audio quality is good.

†††† One good extra.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, June 22, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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