Rabbit Hole (2010)

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Released 14-Jun-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 87:19
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Cameron Mitchell

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Nicole Kidman
Aaron Eckhart
Dianne Wiest
Miles Teller
Tammy Blanchard
Sandra Oh
Case ?
RPI ? Music Anton Sanko

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Descriptive Audio Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

   Rabbit Hole, a 2010 film based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name by David Lindsay-Abaire, was a recent vanity project for Hollywood heavyweight Nicole Kidman. The play was a great critical success on Broadway, earning former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon a Tony award for Best Actress. Nicole Kidman, looking for some acting respect after the recent critical and box office drubbings she has received, eagerly picked up the play and helped produce it.

As much as she could be criticised for using her clout to get the project made would be a disservice to dwell too much on the financing side of the project and not recognise that this is a quality adult drama. Also it features the best performance from Kidman in years, and one that deservedly snared her a Best Actress Oscar nomination.

Kidman plays Becca the wealthy wife of Howie Corbett, played by Aaron Eckhart. As the film begins we see that Becca and Howie seem to be a happily married couple, but with some cracks in their facade. There is a strange coldness in their relationship.

As the film progresses the clues are gradually made apparent. Becca and Howie lost their four-year-old son, Danny, in a terrible accident. Becca went inside to answer the phone for just a second. Howie left the latch on the gate unlocked. Their frisky dog ran out onto the road, the young boy followed and was hit by a car driven by teenage driver, Jason (Miles Teller).

Danny's untimely death has rocked their marriage to its core and also affected Becca's relationship with her family. Mother Nat, played by Diane Wiest, knows grief well, having lost a son some years earlier. However, her constant reference to her grief at this loss confounds and irritates Becca's who sees no comparison between the death of her child and her drug addict brother. Meanwhile, Becca's sister Izzy (Tammy Blanchard) has some good news. She has met a guy who just might be "the one" and is expecting a child.

Becca's feelings are mixed. She can't seem to get a handle on her feelings and Kidman perfectly essays that sense of indescribable lurching between emotions, as if she is experiencing them for the first time.

One of the joys of Rabbit Hole is that its depiction of grief is perplexing and realistic. Becca and Howie vacillate between wanting to cherish the memory of their dead son and yet move on with their lives. Eight months after the death and their intimacy has not resumed. They attend grief counselling with very little success. Becca is affronted at the theory, put forward by some of the other bereaved parents, that the deaths of their children must have been all part of God's plan. Howie clings to the thought that through counselling they just may be able to heal it all. As well, he finds himself attracted to another grieving parent, played by Sandra Oh, who has been in counselling for eight years.

Meanwhile, Becca has developed an obsession with the young man who accidentally killed their son. Following his school bus one day (we presume he doesn't drive any more) she strikes up a conversation and the pair commune in their regret. Kevin is writing a comic book entitled Rabbit Hole showing a boy escaping into multiple universes.

The metaphors are apt. The rabbit hole, it turns out, goes very deep. The question for Becca and Howie is whether it is possible to come out the other end. Even if they do, will they recognise each other?

Rabbit Hole is thin on plot but heavy with emotion and adult thought. It is a quality drama superbly acted and well directed by John Cameron Mitchell. Mitchell would seem an odd choice to direct this chamber piece after his work on Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Short Bus. Yet he handles the material with care and attention and ensures that the script is treated with respect.

Interestingly, a poster on the IMDB message boards includes an extract from the directorial instruction given by David Lindsay-Abaire to prospective directors. His notes speak of a play which, though about grief, doesn't focus on the naked wailing and gnashing of teeth. Lindsay-Abaire recognises that two hours of misery would be unwatchable, and both play and film capture some wry humour underneath the torment.

The film comes highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality


    Rabbit Hole was shot using the Red One camera. It was projected at the cinema at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

That aspect ratio (or a near enough to it 1.78:1) has been preserved for this DVD release. It is 16x9 enhanced.

As a result of the use of the Red One camera this is a sharp featured film. I assume this transfer was taken direct from the digital master as there is an absence of grain.

The colours are clear and bright and the flesh tones of the actors are very accurate. There is no evidence of compression in this transfer.

The blacks are suitably inky.

There are descriptive subtitles for the hearing impaired.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


Rabbit Hole features two soundtracks. Both are English Dolby Digital.

One is 5.1 surround running at 448 Kb/s. The 2.0 descriptive audio track runs at 224 Kb/s.

Both tracks are acceptable in sound quality terms.

The film does not feature much in the way of surround effects nor is the sub-woofer used to any great extent. However, there is a good deal of clarity to the dialogue and the surround track has a gentle quality and breadth.

The score is by composer Anton Sanko, He was responsible for the score of TV series Big Love. Sanko provides a delicate though thoughtful accompaniment to the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


There are no extras.

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 version of this film is replete with extras including a commentary track with the director and writer, as well as the director of photography Frank de Marco. How disappointing that this track is not available on the local release? Also there are some short Deleted Scenes.Whilst on the subject of disappointments Rabbit Hole had originally been announced as a local Blu-ray release, mirroring a similar release in the US. However, the Blu-ray has dropped off the schedule leaving Region B/4 fans with either this barebones release or purchasing from overseas.


    Rabbit Hole is a well acted well scripted and well directed drama. Any drama fan should have the film in their collection. It is not an easy watch although those expecting a blubfest might be surprised at the level of humour running underneath the piece. The DVD quality is high both in sound and vision turns.

The lack of extras, however, is a genuine disappointment. I still rate it a 4 star effort for those who want the extras. Those who just want to own the film will be satisfied with this product.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
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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