Thousand Times Goodnight, A (Blu-ray) (2013)
|Year Of Production||2013|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Erik Poppe|
Maria Doyle Kennedy
Larry Mullen Jr
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
A Thousand Times Good Night is a 2013 Norwegian/Irish co-production about the challenges faced by those working in war zones in reconciling their working life and home life. It was awarded the Special Grand Prix of the Jury at the 2013 Montréal World Film Festival.
Rebecca (Juliette Binoche) is a photo journalist who specialises working in conflict zones. When we first meet her she is embedded with a cadre of suicide bombers. Careful preparations are made for the demise of the martyr and Rebecca is there to photograph it all. In a moment of indecision things go horribly wrong and the bomb exploded prematurely resulting in the death of some children and serious injuries to Rebecca.
She is repatriated home to Dublin where she lives with her marine biologist husband Marcus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones) and their two daughters. As Rebecca begins to recover she comes under increasing pressure from Marcus to think of her family and remove herself from assignments in war zones. For the dedicated adrenaline junkie Rebecca changing her ways will prove to be a challenge.
A Thousand Times Good Night is a curious drama. On the one hand it features some extremely tense and well directed sequences when Rebecca is at her best - camera in hand, ducking bullets. On the other hand the home life drama is cold and modulated. Although Marcus initiates the demand for a life changing decision it is Rebecca's relationship with her eldest daughter Stephanie (Lauryn Canny) that best moves the drama. Perhaps some of these problems can be attributed to the script by Harald Rosenløw Eeg which relies heavily on Juliette Binoche to convey the complex issues at heart. Essentially Rebecca is driven by many desires including an anger at the injustices of the world. Although the script hints at a few issues it does not get into the heart of the question of whether Rebecca's style of journalism, particularly when embedded with terrorists, solves the problems of the world she is trying to fix or simply creates more problems. Marcus is at the end of his tether, however there is not quite enough back story in the film to know how the mild-mannered marine biologist and the globetrotting photojournalist came to meet and have a family.
Director Erik Poppe draws a strong performance from Binoche and Coster-Waldau. There are some brief supporting turns from Maria Doyle Kennedy (the nasty Mrs Bates from Downton Abbey) and Larry Mullen Jr (drummer for U2). But the standout is Lauryn Canny as the confused teenager who idolises her mother’s courage and achievements yet longs for a stable family life.
Poppe himself was a photo journalist working in war zones in the 80s. It is a difficult task which can sometimes damage photographers in equal proportion to the damaged human lives they document. Films about war photographers tend to be documentaries and it is interesting to see some of the issues brought to life in a drama. The unusual pairing of Norway and Ireland perhaps results in Irish locations with houses that have a distinct Scandinavian feel.
A Thousand Times Good Night may be a little frustratingly slow for those looking for a gripping drama about the challenges of those working in dangerous places to come back to a normal life. However the film does grow as it progresses leading to a complex conclusion.
A Thousand Times Good Night is presented on Blu-ray in a 2.35:1 transfer consistent with the original aspect ratio. Interestingly, the back of the Blu-ray case mentioned only a 16:9 screen size which raised the immediate concern that it may have been a cropped transfer. Rest assured this is in the correct ratio.
The film looks excellent throughout. It was shot in a variety of locations including outside Dublin and in Africa. The slightly gloomy interiors contrast well with the bright exteriors in the battle zones. The colours are crisp and clear and bright throughout. The image quality is very good and the flesh tones are accurate.
There are no subtitles for the film. This can be a little tricky with some of the accents on offer in this multicultural production.
A Thousand Times Good Night carries a single soundtrack - an English-language DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track. It is an effective soundtrack.
The movie relies on silence as much as it does sound and the soundtrack conveys delicate ambient noises as well as the excellent score by Armand Armah which features delicate piano and string work.
As said above it can be a little bit difficult catching all the dialogue due to the various accents on offer.
The surround sound is used effectively to convey ambience and the sub-woofer is only used when Rebecca is under fire.
|Surround Channel Use|
This is an All Region Blu-ray and there are no extras.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
On the Region 1 DVD release there are numerous short extras as below:
However the Region B Blu-ray release in the UK appears to share the same lack of extras.
A Thousand Times Good Night is not a completely satisfying experience but there is enough here to make it a worthwhile purchase for fans of Binoche and those who like their dramas carefully paced. Why no extras on the Blu-ray, though?
|DVD||Cambridge Audio 752BD All Region Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||JVC DLX 700 with 4K e-shift on 140" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Pioneer SC -LX 78K 9.2 Channel|
|Speakers||Aaron ATS-5 7.1|