A Somewhat Gentle Man (2010)

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Released 23-Sep-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 107:31
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Hans Petter Moland
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Stellan Skarsgård
Bjørn Floberg
Gard B. Eidsvold
Jorunn Kjellsby
Bjørn Sundquist
Jon Øigarden
Kjersti Holmen
Jan Gunnar Røise
Julia Bache-Wiig
Aksel Hennie
Henrik Mestad
Case ?
RPI ? Music Halfdan E


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Norwegian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Norwegian Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Ulrick (Stellan Skarsgard) is released after 12 years in gaol for the shooting death of his wife’s lover. Ulrick had been a criminal working for Rune Jensen (Bjorn Floberg), and now he is out Jensen finds Ulrick some spartan accommodation with landlady Karen (Jorunn Kjellsby) and a job as a mechanic in the garage run by Sven (Bjorn Sundquist) and his secretary Merete (Jannike Kruse). Jensen also knows the whereabouts of Kenny, the man who had shopped Ulrick to the police 12 years ago. He assumes Ulrick will want to get even, getting him a pistol on the black market. But Ulrick is a changed man and all he really wants to do is to reconnect with his son Geir (Jan Gunner Roise), now a 25 year old living with his pregnant girlfriend.

     Indeed, Ulrick’s world is looking OK. He has a job, he is making progress with his son and, if he has to juggle the desires of two women, at least he is trying to be honest with them. But life has a way of turning complicated, and choices made by Ulrick take him back into his old life driven by Jensen, who has his own reasons for wanting Kenny killed. Can a man like Ulrick truly change and make a new life for himself?

     A Somewhat Gentle Man (En Ganske snill mann) is a Norwegian film that works on a number of levels. It is beautifully constructed, walking a fine line between comedy and drama with a wry sense of humour, good dialogue and an excellent cast. All the acting, in parts big and small, is very good and believable, with perhaps Jorunn Kjellsby the standout among the lesser parts. And, in the main role, Stellan Skarsgard is wonderful.

     Skarsgard is a Scandinavian actor who is equally at home in Hollywood productions, being seen recently in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), while continuing to perform at home in films such as the recent King of Devil’s Island (2110) as well as the unforgettable original Insomnia (1997). In A Somewhat Gentle Man he is compelling, the plot developing totally from his perspective; he is always on screen and we see nothing that he does not see. His Ulrick is the somewhat gentle man of the title, and he is indeed a quiet man, a man of few words not given to opulent gestures but who is not beyond dishing out some very effective violence on occasion. Ulrick is also bemused by the way the world has changed while he has been inside; he is not allowed to smoke in the places he used to for example and he is especially bemused by the attention he receives from various women, attention he never seeks although he is prepared to do what is required in some very funny sequences. The scenes where he tries to awkwardly reconnect with his son, which could be mawkish in lesser hands, are also beautifully written and played.

     A Somewhat Gentle Man is a delight; a natural, wryly humorous crime drama with believable situations and a wonderful understated central performance by Stellan Skarsgard that is worth the price of the DVD by itself. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     A Somewhat Gentle Man is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a good looking print. It is sharp enough, with good detail in the close-ups of Skarsgard’s craggy face and thinning hair. Shot towards the end of a Norwegian winter, with snow still on the ground, colours are natural but muted, with dull greys and greens dominant. Skin tones are natural, blacks solid and shadow detail good in the few evening scenes. Contrast and brightness were consistent. There is slight occasional ghosting with movement in front of mottled surfaces, but otherwise artefacts are absent.

     English subtitles are in a white font that is easy to ready. They use abbreviations like “wanna” and “gonna” a bit, which I suppose is used to represent the Norwegian dialogue but otherwise there are no obvious spelling or grammatical errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
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Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio choice is either Norwegian Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps or Norwegian Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps.

     In both audio tracks dialogue sounded clear and centred. There is very little in the surrounds other than the occasional music, and the sub-woofer did add a little bass to the music as well. In truth, this is a film with lots of silences dialogue, and little action that does not benefit from the 5.1 audio. Indeed, this is a rare case where the 2.0 audio (surround encoded) could be preferred, as it seems to have a sharper sound. Either is perfectly adequate for the film.

     The score by Halfdan E was low key and supported the mood of the film well.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There are no extras.

R4 vs R1

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

     The only version of A Somewhat Gentle Man available elsewhere is a Region 1 US version which comes with a theatrical trailer, but is reported to have a poor video and burned in English subtitles. Go local.

Summary

     A Somewhat Gentle Man is a natural, wryly humorous drama with believable situations and a wonderful understated central performance by Stellan Skarsgard that is worth the price of the DVD by itself.

     The DVD comes with acceptable video and audio. There are no extras.

     A Somewhat Gentle Man (2010) is included in the three disc Crime and Punishment collection from Gryphon, an interesting set of European independent cinema that also includes Dealer (2004) and Lost Times (2009).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, November 09, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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