Random Hearts (1999)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Audio Commentary-Sydney Pollack (Director)
Featurette-Making Of-HBO First Look: The Making Of Random Hearts
Deleted Scenes-3 + comm
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Isolated Musical Score
|Year Of Production||1999|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (79:32)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Sydney Pollack|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Kristin Scott Thomas
Charles S. Dutton
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.0 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (256Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 5.0 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
When Dutch learns that his wife was not on a business trip as she had told him, he becomes obsessed with finding out if his wife was having an affair, and if so, how long it had been going on for. After he works out who was sitting next to his wife on the plain, he goes to see Kay Chandler and presents her with his suspicions. Kay doesn't seem overly surprised and just wants to put it all behind her and get on with what's left of her life. Dutch continues to look for clues in the hope of finding an answer to the question of how long the affair had been going on for.
There is a powerful and superbly acted scene in this movie, where Kay and Dutch have just come back from Miami and they are sitting and talking in Kay's car at the airport. From this point on, the movie focuses on the dilemmas and decisions that now surround our main characters as they try to come to terms with the loss of their partners and their resulting lives.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is extremely clear, and very sharp at all times, except for a couple of occasions during the outdoor cabin scene, where the background appears to be lacking a little detail. Shadow detail is exemplary and no low level noise was seen.
The colour and skin tones are perfectly balanced through the entire movie.
There were no MPEG artefacts. Aliasing was very rare and very mild when it did occur. Occasional film artefacts appear, but they are generally small and not distracting.
Unfortunately, edge enhancement has been applied to this transfer, and as a result there are noticeable halos around some objects. But, for the most part, it is either mild or imperceptible. However there are the odd instances where it does become pretty obvious and slightly distracting. A couple of scenes also suffer from some minor background graininess. The worst affected sequence occurs in and throughout Chapter 10. I re-watched Chapter 10 and some of the other sequences that were affected by excessive edge enhancement on my 68cm non-16x9 enhanced TV, using a composite input. Both of these problems basically disappeared, and I could only just see the above-mentioned problems because I was specifically looking for them. It's times like these that I think I should have settled for a new 16x9 enhanced 68cm TV instead of a projector and just sat a little closer to the screen to make it appear bigger. (Ed. Paul, I'll happily buy you such a TV and swap it for your projector - just name the time and the place.)
This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring between Chapters 18 and 19, at 79:32 with only a small pause. It is perfectly placed as a scene shift occurs at this point.
I also viewed this disc with the English subtitles on, and I am happy to report that they are pretty close to the spoken dialogue, with just the odd word now and again missing or wrong.
There are four audio tracks on this DVD; English 448Kb/second Dolby Digital 5.0, German 448Kb/second Dolby Digital 5.1 (the .1 channel is empty), Isolated Musical Score 448Kb/second Dolby Digital 5.0, and an English Audio Commentary track by Sydney Pollack (Director), which has a 256Kb/second Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. I listened to the English and Audio Commentary soundtracks from start to finish. I also listened to a couple of scenes with the German soundtrack selected. It appeared to be of an equally high quality. The Isolated Musical Score soundtrack as expected only contains the music and is also of excellent quality, clear and clean.
The dialogue was extremely clear and easy to understand throughout the entire movie.
Audio sync is not a problem with this transfer, and is spot-on throughout the entire movie There were two dialogue substitutions made that I noticed, but both of these were fairly unobtrusive. One occurred at 37:36 minutes.
The musical score is by Dave Grusin, and it suits the movie well, even if it is a little sparse in places.
Even though this movie is not a high-action, big-bang, swinging-from-the-ceiling type movie, it nonetheless makes good use of the Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack. The surround speakers are used for music ambience and subtle but noticeable background effects, like distant car traffic, wind or just some other sound that you would normally associate with that particular scene. This added another level of realism to the film, so I found myself in the scenes with the actors instead of just watching them from my arm-chair. I was there... standing in the room with Kay Chandler (oh, how I wish this was true… umm, daydream… anyway, back to the review!). There were also some noticeable directional effects present - the helicopter buzzing around the downed jet was the most obvious example of this. Not once did the soundfield collapse down to just the front centre speaker. Please remember this is largely a dialogue-driven movie, thus most of the sound information does come from the front speakers, with the surround speakers creating a nice spatial soundtrack that is very easy and enjoyable to listen to.
There is no .1 LFE channel on the English soundtrack, but it was not particularly missed due to the movie's content. Since I watched this movie several times to produce this review, I was able to experiment with the use of my sub by plugging it into one of the stereo outputs on my DVD player. I found that it was active in quite a few sequences, which subtly added further depth to the soundstage. This, by the way, is a favourite trick of mine when there is no .1 channel available on a disc.
|Surround Channel Use|
Well, what can I say, this is a flawless audio transfer, that only just misses out on being of reference quality.
There is an extensive selection of extras on this disc which Columbia Tristar really deserves to be congratulated for.
|DVD||Sony DVP-725, using Component output|
|Display||Sony Projector VPH-G70 (No Line Doubler), Technics Da-Lite matt screen with gain of 1.0 (229cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Fronts: Energy RVS-1 (3), Rears: Energy RVSS-1 (2), Subwoofer: Energy EPS-150 (1)|