A Single Man (2009)

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Released 6-Jul-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Making Of
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 96:28
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:55) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Tom Ford
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Colin Firth
Julianne Moore
Nicholas Hoult
Matthew Goode
Jon Kortajarena
Paulette Lamori
Ryan Simpkins
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Abel Korzeniowski


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English 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 (Burned In)
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a fairly common theme in dramatic movies, including a film I reviewed just the other day, Love Happens. Having said that it is a common theme, what is refreshing is to find a film which addresses the subject matter in the beautiful and artistic way that this film, A Single Man, does. This is a beautifully shot, acted and scored film which draws you into what is a fairly simple story and leaves you with a very emotional and worthwhile experience. It was obviously a labour of love for first time director, fashion designer, Tom Ford as he financed the film himself and produced and directed it. What a marvellous job he has done for a first attempt at direction. The film is based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood.

     The story revolves around George (Colin Firth), a Professor of English living in Los Angeles in 1962. As the film opens it is approximately eight months since the death of his long term partner Jim (Matthew Goode) in a car accident while Jim was visiting his family. The family did not accept Jim and George’s relationship and therefore did not invite George to the funeral. George is not coping well with the loss of Jim and has withdrawn into himself, struggling just to make it through each day. He cannot see a future for himself and so has decided to end his life by suicide. He is a fastidious person and so sets out to prepare carefully his affairs so that his suicide causes minimal impact on others. He spends his last day in his normal routine but finds that he starts seeing the world in different ways. He interacts with a variety of people during the day including his best friend Charley (Julianne Moore), who is divorced, a young student of his Kenny (Nicholas Hoult), who wants to get to know him better, his neighbour’s wife (Ginnifer Goodwin) and a young Spanish visitor to LA. All of these interactions affect his outlook and his final decision making process.

     Colin Firth was deservedly nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of George as he shows all the emotions whilst maintaining the controlled and fastidious shell of the character. Julianne Moore was also nominated for a number of awards for her role. She and the other supporting cast members all do excellent jobs. The music is wonderful, consisting of a Golden Globe nominated score by Abel Korzeniowski and a number of popular songs of the era in which the film is set. As Tom Ford discusses in his excellent commentary, the score has overtones of Bernard Herrmann who scored many of Alfred Hitchcock’s films. Silence is also used well for some parts of the film. Adding to all of this quality is the marvellous imagery including wonderful use of colour, great costumes (as you might expect) and interesting high quality cinematography by Eduard Grau. A minor piece of trivia is that the voice on the other end of the phone call George receives near the beginning of film is provided by Jon Hamm (Don Draper from Mad Men) who recorded it as a favour to Tom Ford. The themes of the importance of connecting to other people and living for today are very resonant and leave the viewer something to think about.

     Bravo! A highly recommended film for lovers of fine cinema.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is excellent.

     The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, which is the original aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced.

     The picture was very clear and sharp, about as good as it gets in SD. Shadow detail was very good. The colour was excellent keeping faith with the colour schemes of the film. There were no noticeable artefacts.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read. There are also burned in subtitles for some Spanish dialogue in one scene.

     The layer change occurs at 57:55 but is not noticeable.

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

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

     This DVD contains two audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s, and a Commentary track in English Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 Kb/s.

     The dialogue was easy to understand and clear throughout.

     The music consists of the wonderful score by Abel Korzeniowski plus a variety of pop songs. The music is very warm and provides an enveloping sound field.

     The surround speakers and subwoofer were used for music mostly with some other minor directional effects.

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

Extras

Menu

     The menu is well designed including motion, music and options for setup and scene selection.

The Making of Featurette (16:03)

     Fairly generic making of featuring scenes from the film and interviews with Tom Ford and the main cast members. The discussion includes the source material, casting, characters and the direction. OK but nothing spectacular.

Theatrical Trailer (1:25)

     Quality Trailer.

Commentary – Tom Ford, Director/Producer

     This commentary is available through the setup menu. Tom Ford is a very interesting commentator who discusses the book, the score, shooting problems, the imagery used, locations, colour, anecdotes and other production topics. He does pause from time to time however this is a quality commentary.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 release is basically the same. Draw.

Summary

    A beautifully made and acted drama about loss and longing.

    The video quality is excellent. The audio quality is very good.

    A small selection of extras including a high quality commentary.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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