The Numbers Station (2013)

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Released 17-Jul-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 85:12
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kasper Barfoed
Studio
Distributor

Eagle Entertainment
Starring John Cusack
Malin Akerman
Liam Cunningham
Richard Brake
Bryan Dick
Finbar Lynch
Lucy Griffiths
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $15.95 Music Paul Leonard-Morgan


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 5.1
English dts 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     The Number Station is a spy thriller set in the modern day. It is not a traditional action style thriller but rather a psychological thriller with some action scenes. It is mostly set in one location, a bunker style communications outpost in rural England.

     The story involves black ops CIA agent, Emerson Kent (John Cusack) who is getting weary of his life as a professional killer and finds it hard to complete his latest mission, basically bailed out by his boss, Grey (Liam Cunningham). A bad psychological evaluation sees him getting reassigned to a security detail looking after a code relayer, Katherine (Malin Akerman), in a remote code relay station in rural England. He and Katherine work three day shifts together manning the station waiting for messages to be relayed to field agents in continental Europe. At the start of one shift they are ambushed by unseen assailants and only just escape to the safety of the bunker. They must work out what is going on, who is outside and why they desire to kill them. Can they trust anyone or even each other?

     This thriller is difficult to engage with, the characters are not overly interesting, with the Cusack character being the very usual broken down CIA agent who is weary of his job. Cusack and Akerman are fine in their roles but the film needs more meat on it to make it truly engaging. There is some moody atmosphere, however the dark lighting scheme and hand held cameras don't make for great viewing. I think the look of this film has been badly impacted by the decision of the DVD distributor to crop it from 2.35:1 to 1.78:1. It feels too enclosed and too close to faces.

     Hard to recommend.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is poor.

     The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is not the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. Eagle seems to be making a habit of cropping widescreen films which should have gone out with the ark. As per our site policy I will remove one star from the video rating for this.

     The picture was not very clear and sharp with quite a bit of grain. Shadow detail was average.

     The colour is dull and affected by chroma noise and colour bleeding.

     Artefacts include significant motion blur plus some grain and blocking.

     There are no subtitles.

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

Audio

    The audio quality is good.

     This disc contains an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 plus one in DTS 5.1.

     Dialogue was hard to understand at times and the lack of subtitles was particularly annoying due to this.

     The score by Paul Leonard-Morgan does not stand out.

     The surround speakers provided some good directional effects and atmosphere.

     The subwoofer added bass to the music plus for bullets and explosions.

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

Extras

    One extra.

Menu

    The menu is pretty standard.

Making Of (13:52)

    Average EPK style featurette on the film including interview snippets with cast and crew plus scenes from the film and behind the scenes.

R4 vs R1

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

    The various Blu-ray releases seem to be in the correct aspect ratio so would be a better choice if you want to see this film. The US DVD seems to be in the wrong aspect ratio too.

Summary

    A by-the-numbers spy thriller.

    The video quality is poor and in the wrong aspect ratio.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are confined to a featurette.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-533K, using Component output
DisplayInFocus Screenplay 7200 with ScreenTechnics 100" (16x9) screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC -A11SR
SpeakersJamo D6PEX wall mounted Speakers and Powered Sub (7.1)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Bluray also same problems - Chris A.