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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Side Effects (Blu-ray) (2013)

Side Effects (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 28-Jun-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Drama Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Behind the Scenes (2.55)
Featurette-Ablixa (.55)
Featurette-Intenin (.49)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 105:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Steven Soderbergh

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Rooney Mara
Carmen Pelaez
Marin Ireland
Channing Tatum
Polly Draper
Haraldo Alvarez
Jude Law
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Thomas Newman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     John recently had the opportunity to review the DVD of Side Effects, the latest and possibly last film by Stephen Soderbergh. His review, which details the plot of this curious and intricate psychological thriller can be found here.

     As will be seen from the comments below the Blu-ray release probably does not add that much to the overall enjoyment of the film. The transfer is sharper and there are a few very inconsequential extras added to the package. Nevertheless, those from the "Blu-ray only" school who appreciate the diverse works of this interesting filmmaker will want to pick up this release.

     Side Effects, as John has pointed out, is a film that bears repeated viewing. The motivations of the characters can be better understood once you know the plot reveals. And yet I didn't really buy the complicated set-up. The closest comparison is perhaps the film Malice featuring Nicole Kidman and Alec Baldwin which uses a medical malpractice suit as the background to some shady shenanigans.

     There is a lot to like in the cast. Jude Law hasn't been in a lot of films recently and it is always nice to see him back on screen. Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta Jones have small but important roles which almost act as bookends. However, the real star has to be Rooney Mara who made such an impression in The Social Network and the American adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

     Still I came away a little underwhelmed by Side Effects. It was, on the one hand, a relief not to have a film where the resolution descended to fisticuffs, yet the whole cerebral nature of the film, for me, was hiding the fact that it didn't make all that much sense. A pleasant diversion.

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Transfer Quality


     Side Effects comes to Blu-ray in the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio consistent with the cinema release and the DVD release.

     The film was shot on high-definition digital video and the transfer fully captures the precise and clinical look that combines high-gloss and wonderful sharpness with Steven Soderbergh's love of tones from the sepia and warmth of the interiors to the cold exteriors.

     The flesh tones are accurate and there is not a hint of compression or technical defects with the transfer.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired.

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


     Side Effects has three English language soundtracks to choose from. The prime track is a DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track but there is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 track running at 192 Kb/s and a similarly specced audio descriptive track.

     The film is not exactly a showpiece for surround sound but nevertheless the expansive high-definition audio track presents the film in its best light. There is a gentle ambience to the film. The sub-woofer is used only sparingly.

     The dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout.

     The music is by Thomas Newman (nominated for 11 Oscars but yet to win one!). It is a high-tech score which perfectly suits the genre. The score comes through with true precision on the high-definition sound track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     Side Effects comes to Blu-ray with a paucity of extras.

Ablixa and Intenin (0.55) and (0.49)

     The advertisements, seen briefly in the film, for the miracle drugs.

Behind the Scenes (2.55)

    When is 2.55 too long? When it is a wacky movie shot on set by Catherine Zeta-Jones having mock jabs at the stars. Worth a quick chuckle but fans of the film are left with no actual information about the film. I suppose it is just as Soderbergh wanted.

    The extras are the same in other Regions.

R4 vs R1

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


     This Blu-ray is the same in all regions.


     Side Effects is another interesting film from Steven Soderbergh. Although I had some difficulty swallowing the premise that didn't prevent me from enjoying the film for what it is, 90s style psychological thriller.

     The Blu-ray looks and sounds superb although the extras are disappointing.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Monday, July 15, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

Other Reviews NONE