Kinsey (2004)

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Released 22-Aug-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer-70 Years Of Fox, Hide And Seek, Flight Of The Phoenix,Robots
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Bill Condon (Writer/Director)
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Directors Commentary
Outtakes
Web Links
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 113:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bill Condon
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Liam Neeson
Laura Linney
Chris O'Donnell
Peter Sarsgaard
Timothy Hutton
John Lithgow
Tim Curry
Oliver Platt
Dylan Baker
Julianne Nicholson
William Sadler
John McMartin
Veronica Cartwright
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Carter Burwell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/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 for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    2004 was the year of the biopic. Howard Hughes, Ray Charles and J. M. Barrie were the subjects of three of the five films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Additionally, Alfred Kinsey - the zoology professor from Indiana University, whom many regard as an instigating force of the sexual revolution in postwar America - stood at the centre of a less immediately accessible film from acclaimed writer-director Bill Condon. Condon, who won an Academy Award for his literate screen adaptation of the life of director James Whale, Gods and Monsters, offers an intriguing look at one of modern history's most divisive figures in Kinsey.

    Kinsey became interested in human sexual behaviour in the mid 1930s and soon launched an extensive investigation into it, interviewing thousands of men and women about their sexual experiences. This, unsurprisingly, raised more than a few eyebrows. Even in the more socially liberal environment of university campuses, serious questions were raised as to the appropriateness of his research. Scenes of interviews featured in the film offer some of its funniest and most awkward moments. Kinsey's research culminated with the publication of Sexual Behaviour of the Human Male in 1948 to significant acclaim and, it must be said, sometimes vicious criticism. The book became a bestseller and allowed Kinsey and his team to pursue the companion, Sexual Behaviour of the Human Female.

    As the film pointedly illustrates however, the more widely Kinsey searched for information, the easier it was for his critics to decry his activities as amoral and un-Christian. Pornographic material was intercepted by customs officials at the U.S. border, whilst interviews he and his followers conducted with paedophiles were seen by many to exceed the boundaries of scientific research and venture into perversion. It wasn't simply the morality of his work that came under fire however, but his scientific methodology. Since his death in 1956 debate has continued to rage about the worth of his work, and whether opening up discourse on sex to the degree Kinsey did actually benefited society in the long term

    The film is clearly supportive of Kinsey, which explains the furore surrounding its release last year. That said, Condon ensures the film has enough shades of grey to avoid making its subject too saintly. Liam Neeson's excellent performance is of huge benefit in this regard, conveying all the complexities of this extraordinary scientific mind. He is ably supported by a rich cast which includes Laura Linney, Chris O'Donnell, Timothy Hutton, John Lithgow and a cameo appearance by Lynn Redgrave in the film's finest, and most poignant scene. Yet, when the credits rolled I felt myself somewhat short-changed. Even though I was almost completely ignorant about Kinsey's life and work the film never surprised me. Scene after scene did what they needed to do but never any more, and some were far too obvious in their establishment of Kinsey's personality and the moral dilemmas he faced. The film did make me want to find out more about its subject, which should be a glowing endorsement, but I fear it had more to do with the man himself, and not the movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Even though it was shot for a modest $10 million the film looks terrific, helped by a transfer that is fantastically clean, presented correctly in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, with 16x9 enhancement.

    Sharpness is uniformly good whilst not quite achieving greatness and there is scarcely anything to complain about in terms of levels of shadow detail.

    The colour palette is rich and diverse, with no obvious bleeding or noise. Skin tones are realistic.

    There is some occasional grain and mild edge enhancement. MPEG artefacts are noticeable but not a major problem, whilst aliasing occurs only occasionally.

    The print was almost completely clean - there were no disconcerting film artefacts to speak of.

    This is a well handled transfer.

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

Audio

    We have a terrific choice of soundtracks - English Dolby Digital 5.1 or English dts 5.1.

    Dialogue is at all times easily understood.

    There were no reportable instances of distortion.

    Audio sync was brilliant.

    The surrounds and subwoofer are not engaged in an overtly spectacular fashion, but both tracks provide wonderful depth and ambience to the film. Bass resonates wonderfully, and a few scenes are just made by the presence of well constructed surround sound. This isn't The Fifth Element (but really, what is?) but it's nice to see the dts track being employed, even if some will think it wasted on a dialogue driven film.

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

Extras

    There is a nice little set of extras.

Audio commentary with writer-director Bill Condon

    An informative but still easily listenable track that demonstrates Condon's obvious passion for the material and his significant powers as a filmmaker. He offers a nice mix of history and technique, speaking clearly and well throughout. One of the better tracks I've heard in a while.

Deleted scenes (with optional commentary from Condon)

    An extensive collection of 20 deleted scenes, cleanly presented with decent audio or, if you prefer, more insights from the writer-director, who explains that most of them were cut for pacing reasons, and a desire to not pound the morality drum too insistently.

Gag reel/Bloopers/Outtakes

    Whatever you want to call them, in a film dealing with sex you have to expect some hysterical moments when actors flub their lines or fail to keep a straight face when talking seriously about masturbation. They are nicely presented here, with clean picture and audio.

R4 vs R1

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

    Unfortunately, the Region 4 pales in comparison to its Region 1 counterpart, missing out on:

    The Region 1 version misses out on the dts soundtrack but in a film like this, the extras are far more attractive, so I have to call Region 1 the winner.

Summary

    An interesting film about an extraordinary man.

    The video and audio are well done.

    The lack of extras found on the Region 1 release is disappointing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Scott Murray (Dont read my bio - it's terrible.)
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDYamaha DVR-S100, using Component output
DisplaySony 76cm Widescreen Trinitron TV. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DVR-S100 (built in)
SpeakersYamaha NX-S100S 5 speakers, Yamaha SW-S100 160W subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Kinsey the Paedophile -
Um... "Robert"... -
Um...Scott(?) -
Kinsey's critics - Neil
Er...Neil -
Re: Er...Neil - Neil
Re: Er...Neil - Neil
Defamatory? - pellicule
Good review, Scott - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)