44 Inch Chest (Blu-ray) (2009)
|Year Of Production||2009|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Malcolm Venville|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
†††† What does a man - a hard man - do when he finds out his wife is leaving him for another man? Kill her then kill him? Wreak bloody vengeance? Well, that is probably the expected thing but when we first meet tough guy Colin Diamond (Ray Winstone) he is lying on the floor shell-shocked whilst Harry Nilsson's Without You blares from the CD player.
†††† Just as Colin defies expectations by weeping like a child at the loss of his marriage to Liz (Joanne Whalley), so 44 Inch Chest also works to subvert the British gangster genre. This film was written by Louis Mellis and David Scrinto, the team responsible for the frightening Sexy Beast with the incendiary performance by Ben Kingsley as the foul mouthed Don Logan. Reviews have been mixed so far and the film died at the Box Office, perhaps because the promotion material seemed to promise grit and violence yet delivers mostly talk. That is, however, just the point. The men at the core of this film are talkers, tough talkers, but talkers no less. When Colinís friends gather to support their love lost friend they decide that vengeance is the best result and kidnap the lover, French actor Melvil Poupard, from his job waiting tables and lock him in a cupboard at a deserted flat while they decide how best to dispatch him.
†††† Colinís friends all seem to have some mob association though they don't quite fit type. Archie (Tom Wilkinson) is Colin's best mate, an ageing tough who lives with his mum. Mal (Stephen Dillane) is a younger hood who both goads and dissuades Colin from violence. Meredith (Ian McShane) is a very gay well dressed gangster. Finally, there is Peanuts (John Hurt), the very foul-mouthed aged hood. Peanuts longs for the good old days, somewhere between the Krays and Doug and Dinsdale Pirahna, when men were violent and inscrutable. Swarming around Loverboy this odd lynch mob threatens much but delivers very little. But will Loverboy see out the night?
††††44 Inch Chest is the first film directed by video clip director Malcolm Venville and it is an odd beast. The performances are uniformly excellent with Winstone the weak husband at the centre. Special mention must go to McShane who makes the gay Meredith a believable character and John Hurt as the filthiest old man on the planet, blaming women for all the worldís problems. Making a film almost completely set in one location with an ensemble cast is always difficult and the script is like a filthy Pinter as talk revolves around meaningless subjects including a long analysis of Sampson and Delilah. Where it fails is to create a decent sub-plot to add contrast to the drama; dream sequences, including one where Peanutsí head is on Liz's body, are more distractions than realised dramatic scenes. Still, there is much to like in the acting performances, providing you are not sensitive to swearing. Probably a rental recommendation.
†††† 44 Inch Chest was shot on 35mm film and projected in the cinema at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. That ratio has been preserved for the Blu-ray release.
†††† 44 Inch Chest is not a film that automatically cries out for High Definition for the film captures the grit and grim reality of everyday life in the grimy end of London. Colours are subdued, flesh tones are on the pale side and the empty flat is one browny tone throughout. The transfer is sharp enough in the close-ups, particularly of John Hurtís craggy face, and there are no problems with compression or artefacts of any kind.
†††† There are no technical defects of any kind. It is simply a slightly dull, flat looking film.
†††† There are sub-titles in English for the Hearing Impaired which are entirely accurate. Given the preponderance of a certain Anglo-Saxon word the task of subtitling the film can't have been difficult!
†††† 44 Inch Chest carries two lossless soundtracks, an English TrueHD 5.1 and a DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track. I could not discern any difference between the tracks.
†††† The film is largely dialogue, or rather diatribe, and the tracks give a good account of the spoken word. Given that the dialogue is often delivered at volume there was no problem making out the words except where slang was used. McShane in particular is a beautiful enunciator and every delicious line of his dialogue was rendered clearly.
†††† Although I noticed some subtle surround effects this really is a centre channel film. The sub-woofer was barely engaged. These are not flaws in the transfer merely stylistic choices. This subtlety extends to the score composed by Angelo Badalamenti, most famous for his work with David Lynch, which sits very much in the background.
|Surround Channel Use|
†††† There are no extras on this Blu-ray release.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
†††† The Region A release comes with a decent selection of extras including:
†††† If you like this film buy the Region A.
†††† 44 Inch Chest is something of an acquired taste. The dialogue is often highly stylized and ornate, albeit profanity laden. The transfer is fine but the film doesn't make many demands either visually or sonically. The lack of extras is a disappointment.
|DVD||Cambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Pioneer SC-LX 81 7.1|
|Speakers||Aaron ATS-5 7.1|