Observe and Report (Blu-ray) (2009)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 6-Oct-2009

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Comedy Featurette-Basic Training
Featurette-Seth Rogen and Anna Faris: Unscripted
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
Short Film-Mall Recruitment Video
Audio Commentary-PiP Commentary with Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Jody Hill
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 86:18
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jody Hill
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Seth Rogen
Ray Liotta
Michael Peña
Anna Faris
Dan Bakkedahl
Jesse Plemons
John Yuan
Case Amaray Variant
RPI ? Music Joseph Stephens


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 EX
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
German
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogan) is a bipolar mall security guard - sorry Ronnie, Head of Mall Security - with a hero complex. He lives with his alcoholic mother and the highlight of his days is the free coffee (served by the lovely Collette Wolfe) - which legitimately excites him. His second in command is his best friend Dennis (Michael Peña ) and his crew is filled out by an inexperienced newcomer (Jesse Plemons) and gun-mad identical twins, the Yuens (John Yuan and Matthew Yuan), of whom Ronnie remarks "If one of you dies in the line of duty, God gave me another one".

    When a flasher starts to prey on his mall, particularly the (not so) foxy girl behind the cosmetics counter Brandi (Anna Farris), Ronnie competes with the local law enforcement (led by Ray Liotta) to bring that man to justice. Along the way, and somewhat inspired by a perceived connection with Brandi, he is inspired to join the police himself, and so stops taking the pills that have been holding him back all these years. When everything falls apart around him, Ronnie has to pick up the pieces and be the man he always wanted to be.

    Observe and Report will divide audiences like no other. Viewers will either love it or be flat out offended by it. The jokes are genuine black comedy, rather than the tongue-in-cheek, cartoon-like, wink-at-the-camera-as-I-kill-people guff that usually passes as "black comedy" nowadays (I'm pointing my finger at you Death At A Funeral and Keeping Mum). This is a dark satire of the nasty side of human nature and certainly not for the squeamish. The laughs frequently stem from the absurdly exaggerated, and explicit, actions of the characters (who include all manner of alcoholics, drug fiends, the mentally ill and perverts) and the jokes are frequently at their expense. Observe and Report is to the institutional racism of American bogans what Bad Santa was to their mating habits. In a twisted way the movie has a heart, giving many of the characters it flat out debases brief moments of triumph, but manages to do so without going down the usual Hollywood path of granting every Muppet on screen unquestioned redemption.

    Ronnie, in particular, isn't a really nice guy, but not deliberately so. He is well meaning, but is institutionally racist and too dim to realise how dodgy many of his actions are. It doesn't sound nice when you spell it out as such, but for better or worse, probably the latter, the real world is full of folks like Ronnie - which is exactly why the movie will make a lot of viewers uncomfortable. The movie certainly doesn't encourage people to be like its antagonist, but it does rely on its audience being able to laugh at a mightily dodgy anti-hero.

    Observe and Report is absurd, over-the-top and guaranteed to make just about any viewer squirm. Essential viewing for twisted minds.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

Disclaimer: Please note that this disc has a video resolution of 1080p. It has been reviewed on a display device with a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL). More information can be found here.

    The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio in 1080p.

    Whilst this is not the most breathtaking film you are likely to see on Blu-ray (the look of the film is very much functional rather than artistic), the transfer on offer is pretty much a flawless translation of how the film looked theatrically. The image is sharp and clear. There is excellent shadow detail in the image. The colour palette is strikingly bold. A very mild filmic grain is present in the image, enough to give the movie a warm theatrical look.

    There is no sign of irksome digital artefacts present in the image at any point, nor film artefacts.

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

Audio

    The film features a lossless English Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 audio track, as well as lossy English and German Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kbps) audio tracks.

    Like the video, the audio tracks provide an excellent transfer from the original source, although they are not the most impressive surround tracks you will encounter in HD. The mix has genuine body and depth.

    The dialogue is clear, well placed in the mix and easy to understand throughout the film. The audio is well synchronised to the video.

    The surrounds are put to decent use throughout and create an immersive atmosphere for the film. Being a comedy with a handful of action bits, there is rarely a call for anything particularly showy, but what there is is handled well. The subwoofer is put to decent use for a few bangs and thumps and to support the music used in the film.

    The film primarily features indie-rock to back the film, and a fine selection indeed. Pixies fans will particularly enjoy the best use of Where is My Mind since Fight Club (even if it is a cover).

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

Extras

    The disc opens straight into the feature, only presenting a bland static menu if any of the special features are watched to completion after being selected from the pop-up menu. The extras are largely presented in SD.

Basic Training Featurette (6:48)

    A fairly generic press-kit making of. Worth a look for fans.

Seth Rogen and Anna Faris: Unscripted Featurette (7:38)

    Backstage footage of the shooting of a couple of the scenes in the film that feature Anna Faris and Seth Rogen, as well as a discussion on the method used for line improvisation. There are some funny alternate lines presented, which is about all that keeps this one interesting.

Forrest Ridge Mall Recruitment Video Short Film (3:01)

    A short mock recruitment video for Ronnie Barnhardt's crew. Kind of funny, but not nearly as much so as the premise promises.

PiP Audio Commentary with Seth Rogan, Anna Farris and Jody Hill

    Wow. Anna Farris really is a bimbo, albeit a kind-of-funny bimbo. The two stars and director make for a funny commentary, a good deal of which is spent taking the mickey out of the unnecessary visual aspect of picture-in-picture commentaries. The upside they don't mention is that the video aspect is effective at lighting a fire under the commentary participants, as all three realise they need to be "on" for the duration. Well worth a watch/listen.

Deleted Scenes (27:11)

    A huge swag of deleted scenes, extended scenes and alternate takes. A number of these scenes make parts of the movie make a tad more sense (such as the recruitment of the mall security crew's youngest member), but you can usually see why they were cut as many would not have really fitted into the flow of the film. Most of these bits are pretty funny, but few are up to the standard of the bits that made it into the final cut.

Blooper Reel (12:17)

    Fluffed lines and other filler. Skip it.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Australian Region B release is identical to the US Region A release.

    This Blu-ray edition features a number of extras missed from the DVD version, including Picture-in-Picture Commentary, a huge number of Deleted and Extended Scenes, a featurette about the improv in the film and Blooper Reel.

Summary

    An absurd, over-the-top black comedy that is guaranteed to make just about any viewer squirm. Essential viewing for twisted minds.

    The video and audio offer a near perfect transfer of the film, although it is not the most spectacular looking or sounding film you will find on Blu-ray.

    The disc includes a highly worthwhile swag of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE