Stigmata (1999)

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Released 30-May-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Alternate Ending
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Divine Rites: The Story Of Stigmata
Music Video-Natalie Imbruglia
Theatrical Trailer
Audio Commentary-Rupert Wainwright (Director)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 97:58
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:05) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Rupert Wainwright
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Patricia Arquette
Gabriel Byrne
Jonathan Pryce
Nia Long
Rade Sherbedgia
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $36.95 Music Billy Corgan
Elia Cmiral


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
German
French
Spanish
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Greek
Hungarian
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Stigmata was released at about the same time as End Of Days was, and due to that fact, I didn't see it at the cinemas. I saw End Of Days instead, and decided that one religious film was enough for a while.

    The first time I saw Stigmata was on VHS, dubbed from a DVD. It was shocking quality, but I felt compelled to look through it and take in the film. From what I could gather it was a film about a woman (Patricia Arquette) experiencing the Stigmata (the injuries suffered by Christ whilst he was being crucified) because she had a dead mans' rosary. After viewing it four times and listening to the commentary, I now "get" the film. Very loosely based on a secret scroll of Christ's words, the film is in a way educational, but in a good way.

    Stigmata tells the story of Frankie Paige (Arquette), a self-confessed atheist who experiences the Stigmata for no apparent reason. The Vatican finds out about this and sends Father Andrew Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne) to investigate. Kiernan discerns that Frankie is possessed by a spirit that wants to bring the world truth about Jesus and his beliefs. Frankie experiencing the Stigmata is only to gain attention so that the truth can be told. Brilliant performances by Arquette and Byrne make the movie quite amazing, while the music score by Billy Corgan (of Smashing Pumpkins fame) accompanies accordingly.

    The film uses a lot of striking imagery to tell its story, a credit to director Rupert Wainwright. It requires multiple viewings to fully take in the themes that it is presenting, although a listen to the commentary track will accelerate this process.

    Stigmata is a film that can be viewed several times without being boring. It is not really a horror film, so that means it has a storyline, and a great one at that.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is an absolutely beautiful transfer from MGM, just missing out on reference quality status due to a couple of problem scenes.

    Stigmata is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is razor sharp at all times. This is one of the clearest and most defined pictures on a DVD that I have seen to date. The shadow detail is stunning, particularly during the opening scene. No low-level noise, grain, or edge enhancement was apparent throughout the movie, although some of the deleted scenes suffer from some of these problems.

    The colour is also quite amazing when it is used. The film was processed using a bleach bypass technique, which makes the colour very metallic and dull for the most part, except for when a bright colour is shown such as red. It makes that particular colour jump out of the screen. This was done to make Frankie stand out from the rest of the world, making her different to everyone else. Also, the color red was taken out of almost every scene to help aid the storyline.

    MPEG artefacts were non-existent. Aliasing is hardly present throughout the movie except for one scene at 31.24 - 31.30. This scene exhibits excessive amounts of shimmer in the curtains. Film artefacts were very rare except for one scene at 12:04-12:08 that had a small but noticeable amount of ghosting. If you look behind the passing cars you will see a white shadow trailing them. Other than these minor problems, the transfer is amazing.

    This disc is RSDL formatted with the layer change occuring at 62:05. It is a very well-placed layer change, occuring during a natural fade to black. I only noticed it because of the commentary track having a slight pause mid-sentence.

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

Audio

    Stigmata features an aggressive and encompassing 5.1 channel mix that is of reference quality.

    There are five audio tracks on this DVD. The default is the language that you select on the opening menu screen - mine was English 5.1, of course. The other audio tracks are German 5.1, French 5.1, Spanish 5.1 and an English Audio Commentary. I listened to the English track and also to the Audio Commentary.

    The dialogue was very clear and understandable at all times. During non-English dialogue, the subtitles automatically turned on and were not burnt into the video stream, a good choice by the DVD authors.

    Audio sync was not a problem except in scenes where Frankie's possessed voice is used. This voice-over is done by Gabriel Byrne, and so some audio sync problems are to be expected.

    The musical score by Billy Corgan and Elia Cmiral was very suited to the film, from the quite upbeat sounds at the beginning of the film to the more disturbing and church-based music at the end.

    The surround channels were used mainly for ambience and surround effects which sounded great. They are almost in constant use, and are the perfect medium to bring the movie to life. In particular, the front soundstage is used dramatically with varied directional effects and strong musical tones.

    The .1 LFE channel was used mainly in the action sequences but also supported the music.

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

Extras

    A goodly amount of extras are present on this disc, and most of them are very interesting.

Menu/Menu Audio & Animation

    The menu is 16x9 enhanced and is themed around the movie with a looped audio track in the background encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

    When playing the disc from the menu you are given a choice of playing it with the original theatrical ending or with an alternate ending (which can be viewed in the deleted scenes also). If you do view it with the alternate ending, the film quality does get worse when the alternate scene is viewed. Note: On the Region 1 version of this disc, the alternate ending is in non-16x9 enhanced widescreen and has only 5.0 channel sound. This has been improved upon for the Region 4 release.

Scene Selection Audio & Animation

Deleted Scenes (12:16)

    This is comprised of 5 scenes that were cut from the final version plus an Alternate Ending. None of them are actually important, as they make the movie into more of a Horror film than a Thriller. The one that does have some value is the Alternate Ending. Watching this gives the film a distinctly different feel about it.

Featurette: Divine Rites-The Story of Stigmata

    This is a very informative documentary that goes into what exactly the Stigmata are and tells you about past recipients. This featurette also has cast and crew interviews which are interesting, and is one of the better featurettes that I have seen. It is presented in a Full Frame aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Music Video: Natalie Imbruglia

Theatrical Trailer

    This is a very good quality trailer, with only minor grain present. It is shown at an aspect ration of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Audio Commentary - Rupert Wainwright (Director)

    This is one of the better commentaries that I have heard, ranking right up there with the commentary track on American Pie. Rupert Wainwright is never boring and goes into the more technical aspects of the film whilst still explaining some of the imagery he has included. Top stuff indeed!

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     Both versions of the DVD are very close in content, but the animatic storyboards aren't enough to make me switch to the Region 1 version. They would have been nice to have, but the superiority of the PAL system makes the Region 4 version the winner.

Summary

    Stigmata is a great movie that I will view many times in the future.

    The video is very close to flawless but a couple of very minor problems deny it reference status.

    The audio quality is reference quality all the way. A definite test for your system.

    The extras aren't huge in quantity but they are well-presented and are very informative.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Andrew Siers (I never did my biography in primary school)
Monday, August 14, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplayToshiba 34N9UXA. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha CX-600 Pre-Amp, Yamaha MX-600 Stereo Power Amp for Mains, Yamaha DSP-E300 for Center, Teac AS-M50 for Surrounds.
SpeakersMain Left and Right Acoustic Research AR12s, Center Yamaha NS-C70, Surround Left and Right JBL Control 1s

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