Shelter (Blu-ray) (2010)

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Released 11-Jul-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 112:33
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Måns Mårlind
Björn Stein
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Julianne Moore
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Jeffrey DeMunn
Frances Conroy
Nathan Corddry
Brooklynn Proulx
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music John Frizzell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 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

     Dr. Cara Harding (Julianne Moore) is a psychiatrist specialising in multiple personality syndrome, esteemed enough in her profession to be an expert witness in court, her testimony helping to convict a murderer. Cara has had tragedy in her life: her husband had been murdered by a mugger two years ago, causing her to question her faith in God and leaving her to care for her pre-teen daughter Sammy (Brooklynn Proulx). Cara is called in by her father (Jeffrey DeMunn), also a psychiatrist, to examine new patient David (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a man who appears to be two distinct personalities.

     Cara is at first sceptical but as she works with David she finds that he has multiple, separate personalities; more chillingly, she discovers that each of the personalities is of someone who was murdered, sometimes decades before. In addition, David seems to have knowledge of intimate personal details that only the real, murdered person, would know. As more people die, and David’s personalities multiply, Cara is forced to challenge her rational, scientific beliefs while trying to protect everyone she loves.

     Shelter is an atmospheric, unsettling psychological thriller from Scandinavian directors Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein. For most of the running time it is tense and edgy, helped by the acting, the muted visuals and the sound design. Julianne Moore is always worth watching, and here she is good as a woman whose value system is gradually unravelling, while Jonathan Rhys Meyers is chilling and menacing, especially as the gentle David. The setting of the film is dark; it is winter, the colours dull with a generally brownish colour palate and stark, gnarled trees without leaves or colour. Much of the film is also deliberately backlit, giving a soft, almost indistinct look. The music by John Frizzell is strings, especially cello, and keyboards; it is effective but does tend to signal the chills somewhat. The sound design overall is good, with weather effects such as rain and ambient sound in the surrounds, but the most chilling use of the surrounds is for the whispers of the multiple personalities that twist and spin around the room.

     Shelter sets the mood well and for over 70 minutes delivers a foreboding, tense and chilling atmosphere. Like all psychological or supernatural thrillers, your appreciation of the film will depend upon how well you accept the explanation when it comes. Shelter, at that point, seems to downshift gears and throws in an exposition scene almost out of nowhere and culminates in a chase which reduces the scare quota. As well, the last scene is fairly predictable.

     However, for most of its running time Shelter is an atmospheric, unsettling psychological thriller, helped by good acting, muted visuals and its sound design. Well worth a look if this genre is of interest.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Shelter is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Much of the film has a deliberate soft look, with back lit scenes and muted colours, reflecting both the winter landscape and the pain on screen. This means that some of the shadow detail can be indistinct although blacks are good. On occasion, brightness appeared on the light side, also affecting the skin tones, although close up detail is fine, and blacks solid. The print is also quite grainy, which is not displeasing, and there is some aliasing on trees and ghosting against broken up backgrounds. There are no marks evident.

     The print is fine.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is English DTS-MA HD 5.1.

    Dialogue is always clear and centred. The music by John Frizzell was quite prominent in the mix, sometimes overly signalling the frights. However, the rest of the sound design was more subtle, with weather effects, such as rain, and ambient sound in the surrounds. On other occasions the surround design is very noticeable, such as the flapping pages of music score (32:51) or the whispers of the multiple personalities that twist and spin around the room. Some of this design is very effective, other times I felt it was too obvious. The sub-woofer added effective bass to tense moments and to the music.

     I did not notice any lip synchronisation issues.

    This is a good atmospheric audio track.

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

Extras

     No extras at all, not even trailers for other films

R4 vs R1

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

     There are Region B Germany, Scandinavian and Region free UK Blu-ray releases, all of which have a range of cast and crew interviews as extras. The Scandinavian version also has some B roll footage. Technical specifications are the same except for some language and subtitle options. There does not seem to be a Region A US version released at this time. The extras on the European releases are not extensive (the interviews on the UK version run approximately 15 minutes) but I guess there are some.

Summary

     For most of its running time Shelter is an atmospheric, unsettling psychological thriller, helped by good acting from the always watchable Julianne Moore and a chilling Jonathan Rhys Meyers, muted visuals and the excellent sound design. Your appreciation of the film will depend upon how well you accept the explanation when it comes.

     The video and audio are fine. No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, November 19, 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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