Off Piste (2016)
|Year Of Production||2016|
|Running Time||87:15 (Case: 91)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Glen Kirby|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
During a raid on an IRA house in Belfast SAS soldier Stanley Winters (Henry Douthwaite) accidentally shoots and kills a young boy. Twelve years later he has left the military and, a recluse, lives in an isolated cabin in the French Alps with his blind mother Mary (Yvonne O’Grady). He remains haunted by his past and suicidal, although attending sessions with a psychologist. Back in Belfast Niamh (Lara Lemon), the sister of the boy Stanley killed, is also haunted by the past. She discovers where Stanley now lives and sets off to France, leaving behind Ethan (Jared Fortune), who likes to think of himself as her boyfriend.
In France Niamh contrives to meet Stanley and, after an accident on the piste, she is injured and he takes her to his cabin for treatment. Mary is very pleased to have another woman in the house and invites Niamh to stay for dinner although Stanley is not pleased, feeling that Niamh is not telling them something. But matters are taken out of their hands when a jealous Ethan, bringing with him his violent friend Logan (Paul McGuinness), arrives to claim Niamh back.
Off Piste, by first time co-writer / director Glen Kirby, is more a well-made character driven drama than an action film. The widescreen images of the French Alps around Chatel, courtesy of cinematographer Antony Meadley, are spectacular and Kirby allows the relationships between the characters to develop gradually. There is no mystery in the plotting; we know what Stanley has done and who Niamh is, but we are unsure about just what Niamh intends to do and the scenes between Douthwaite, O’Grady and Lemon are beautifully played, leaving so much unsaid. These sequences are filled with an undercurrent of loss and longing; they feel real and it would have been interesting to see where the film would have gone. Instead Kirby adds the sudden intercession of Ethan and Logan, which, plus the violence, feels forced and unnatural. However, after the violence the ending of Off Piste avoids mawkishness and trite conclusions and is so much the better for that.
Off Piste has a simple plot which is executed with intelligence and feeling. With subtle and interesting performances and beautiful landscapes it is well worth a look.
Off Piste is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
Shot using the Red Epic camera, Off Piste makes full use of the widescreen frame to provide stunning images of the French Alps. These exteriors are crystal clear with bright, but natural, colours and the pristine white snow. Interiors colours are glossy and skin tones on faces can look a bit unnatural while there are also some splashes of yellow. Blacks are solid, shadow detail very good, contrast and brightness consistent.
I noticed no marks but there was some minor aliasing on ski poles and around 76:48 there was some frame shudder. The end titles were also a bit indistinct.
There are no subtitles available.
The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.
The film has a fair amount of dialogue which on occasion is hard to understand due to the Irish accents. There was not a lot of surround use, mostly music and some engines, while the gunshots were sharp. The subwoofer was not overactive but added some depth to the music.
The piano oriented score by Jared Fortune, who also played Ethan, was wistful and effective.
Lip synchronisation seemed fine.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Off Piste is not listed for release in the US while the UK version is due mid-October. I have no details of any extras. Buy local.
Off Piste is a bit uneven and the violence feels sudden, but for most of its running time it is a well-made character driven drama with subtle and interesting performances by Douthwaite, O’Grady and Lemon and beautiful snow covered landscapes.
The video and audio are acceptable. A film trailer is the only extra.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 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 Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|