Keeping Mum (Blu-ray) (2005)

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Released 6-Jul-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Black Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 103:07 (Case: 99)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Niall Johnson
Studio
Distributor

Icon Entertainment
Starring Rowan Atkinson
Kristin Scott Thomas
Maggie Smith
Patrick Swayze
Emilia Fox
Liz Smith
Tamsin Egerton
James Booth
Toby Parkes
Jack Ryan
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Dickon Hinchliffe


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     This site reviewed the standard definition release of this charming film in 2006. That review by DanielB can be found here.

     The Blu-ray release follows some four years later. It is a curious addition to the Icon Blu-ray line-up as it appears to have crept into this country without also appearing in Region A or even being sold or promoted in the UK. Although this Blu-ray is designated All Regions it seems, for the moment, that purchasers will have to buy it from Down Under. Perhaps it is not a surprise from a marketing perspective as the film did remarkably well in Australia, almost equalling the UK Box Office figures.

     The review by DanielB, well sums up the plot of this film. In a nutshell it is a rustic black comedy with some sparkling performances, particularly from the ever reliable Maggie Smith as the wicked old lady and Kristen Scott Thomas as the bored housewife tempted by the sleazy golf instructor Patrick Swayze, who gets another chance after Donnie Darko to play a pretty repellent character. Rowan Atkinson is funny even playing the straight role!

     The question for purchasers with Blu-ray equipment is whether it is an essential or even worthwhile purchase. Indispensability of this film really depends on three issues; whether the video transfer is superior, whether the sound transfer is superior and whether there are sufficient interesting Blu-ray exclusive extras. See below for my comments on each.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     In his review DanielB found the video quality of the DVD release to be very good. As with that release this Blu-ray comes in the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The Blu-ray is very sharp without being exceptional. This is a moderately budgeted British film and the whole look of it is hardly reference quality and yet any fan of the film will be pleased with the overall effect. The colours are solid and the flesh tones, from Atkinson’s 5 O’clock Shadow to the very English pale creamy skin of Scott Thomas, are accurate.

     There are no technical defects to the transfer. Colours are stable particularly the greens and reds which dominate. Film grain is non-existent, at least on my display.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which give a good account of on-screen action.

     Without having viewed the standard definition version it is difficult to be authoritative but this transfer looks to be a perfectly fine high definition image. I have rated it highly on our scoring system for accuracy of transfer and fidelity to its source. The film is on one layer of a 25GB Blu-ray disc which does not present any compression problems for reasons that appear below.

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

Audio

     The DVD of Keeping Mum contained an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s. According to DanielB that was adequate for a film that does not seek to impress with its sonics.

     This Blu-ray has two lossless 5.1 tracks - a DTS-HD MA Audio and a Dolby TrueHD. In truth, the High Definition tracks are welcome but probably not essential. Most of this film comes from the centre channel and the dialogue was clear and easy to understand. There was no problem with audio sync. The surround speakers are only really needed for the ambient effects. The bucolic birdsong was one area where the track shone as well as a rainy scene which was particularly convincing. The subwoofer popped up in a storm and at a few other moments. None of this is to d*** the track with faint praise. This is a clear, accurate, strong audio track that perfectly represents its somewhat modest source.

     The film score is by Dickon Hinchcliffe, one of the founders of British indie band Tindersticks. I last heard his work on Cold Souls and Last Chance Harvey and can't wait to see and hear Winter's Bone. Hinchcliffe is both subtle and melodic in his approach.

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

Extras

     Extras? Hmmm. Not a sausage. Is this a problem? See below...

R4 vs R1

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

   As said this Blu-ray is only available by purchase from Australia.

Summary

     So is this version of Keeping Mum the one to get? Depends. The picture quality and sound quality are both pretty good and I dare say a big improvement on the DVD quality. But as to extras ...

     Icon Entertainment has adopted a deliberate policy of not including extras on the majority of their catalogue Blu-ray releases. For those who already have the film and merely want the High Definition upgrade this is fine in my books, so long as the product is priced competitively and we are not deprived of fresh extras provided in other Regions. At last checking the film was priced at $25.00.

     On DVD this film had a small but significant bunch of extras including:

     Distributors holding catalogue titles like this face challenges in releasing Blu-rays; if there are no High Definition extras produced for the film do they put it out bare-bones or do they slap a whole pile of existing extras onto the Blu-ray to perhaps placate those who don't have the original release? The reality with a film like this is that the profits don't justify the expense of revisiting and upgrading the extras nor getting the actors and crew back into the studio to wax lyrical about the significance of the movie. This film is not a cornerstone of modern cinema though it is a decent black comedy that I am sure has many admirers.

     It is up to the purchaser to decide whether they value the improved picture and sound quality sufficiently enough to make this an attractive purchase. Perhaps the best market for the film is those, like me, who admire the work of the various performers but haven't forked out the cash for the DVD version.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony 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 DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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