Iris (2001)

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

Released 29-Jan-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-A Special Message From David Hyde Pierce
Trailer-Iris Soundtrack
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 87:02
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Richard Eyre

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Judi Dench
Jim Broadbent
Kate Winslet
Hugh Bonneville
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music James Horner

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
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

    Nominated for three Oscars at the 2001 Academy Awards, Iris is the story of acclaimed English author Iris Murdoch (Judi Dench) and her battle with Alzheimer's disease. Based on the memoirs of her husband John Bayley (played in the film by Jim Broadbent), the film tells Iris' story in two different periods of her life simultaneously.

    In her younger days (played by Kate Winslet) Iris was a headstrong scholar at Oxford University who exhibited some promiscuous tendencies while researching her books. All the while, John's love for her never wavered as he sought to make a life with Iris throughout their courtship. He always managed to turn a blind eye to her ways of hurting him and through this, managed to become the most loyal and important person in Iris' life.

    The film is cleverly told as it jumps from the present, where we see Iris being diagnosed and then battling her illness, to her past where we see her in her powerful days as a gifted author, philosopher, novelist and social adventurer. The choice to film the picture in this way is an effective way to telling a more rounded story to someone who does not know much about Iris Murdoch in the first place. It work well and manages to tell the story in a succinct and effective way - it keeps the pace up and shows the huge difference in character that a crippling disease like this can make for the victim and also the people who love them.

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

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this film is bright and strong, but exhibits a slightly 'dirty' look due to a lot of film artefacts and grain.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 Enhanced.

    The picture appears slightly soft for most of the film, but shadow detail is very good for the most part. There is a lot of grain present at 2:43, 6:34, 8:16, 19:28 and 81:42 - these are some of the worst examples on offer here, but there are plenty more. There are no instances of low level noise. The soft picture and the amount of grain evident serve to rob this film of a crisp video transfer which is very disappointing because the production detail is very good.

    All colours are strong throughout with steady flesh tones and balanced colours for the duration of the film. Occasionally, characters' faces appear grey, but that would most likely be an artistic choice by director Richard Eyre.

    There is a very mild amount of posterization at times through the feature, particularly in the scenes where John and Iris are getting together. There is some slight telecine wobble at 0:23 and 20:08, and some aliasing at 7:12, 19:44, 24:39, 46:35, 46:42 and 49:49. By far the worst problem with this transfer are the amount of film artefacts that flick across the screen for the duration. There are constant flecks of dust and dirt as well as hairs, chunks, and scratches with some examples to be found at 3:04, 3:33, 7:39, 10:56, 18:46, 19:43, 19:53, 35:36, 53:42. For such a new film, the amount of imperfections in this print is unforgivable.

    I watched about 15 minutes of the English subtitles and found them to be fairly accurate to the spoken word with the occasional word omitted for pacing reasons.

    Despite what is stated on the box, this is a single layered disc, not an RSDL formatted one.

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


    The audio transfer of this film is decent without being striking simply because there is no chance for the film's soundtrack to show itself off.

    There is only one audio track recorded on this disc - an English 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack at 384 kb/s. Naturally, this is the one listened to.

    The dialogue is mostly clear and easy to understand. On a couple of occasions, the dialogue is slightly muffled or distorted, but it is nothing too bad. The audio sync is fine except for some lines that have obviously been looped in post production that do not sound right.

    The music in the film, by James Horner, is very similar to his music for A Beautiful Mind. Considering that the two stories are quite similar as well, this gave me a familiarity with the film. The score is quite sad and comes from all speakers.

    There are not too many opportunities for the surround speakers to show off, but when they are utilised the sound is well balanced and used effectively.

    The subwoofer only gets used in the Miramax logo.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



A Special Message from David Hyde-Pierce    (1:48)

    This is a short information piece about Alzheimer's from Frasier star David Hyde Pierce on behalf of the Alzheimer's Association. If you want more information about the disease, go to

Soundtrack TV Spot    (0:34)

    Advertising James Horner's theatrical score for the film, this TV spot is all we get - not even a trailer!

R4 vs R1

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


    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     On features alone, one would have to give the Region 1 version the nod, but personally I would still prefer the Region 4 PAL transfer over a making of featurette. Both transfers seem to be identical in terms of their related artefacts. It is a personal choice, but Region 4 is the winner for me.


    Iris is a very sad story of an incredibly smart woman, a devoted husband and a debilitating disease that sadly affects millions of people around the world. It is very well acted and cleverly directed and is one for mature film fans only.

    The video transfer appears very dirty due to the large amount of film artefacts and grain.

    The audio transfer is fine, but not very exciting.

    The extras are disappointing.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Hugh Fotheringham (what the hell is going on in bio??)
Thursday, November 14, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S525, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm) 16:9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersJamo X550 Left and Right, Jamo X5CEN Centre, Jamo X510 Surround

Other Reviews
Michael D's Region 4 DVD Info Page - Colin Johnson
DVD Net - Robert M
AllZone4DVD - Magalie S
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Angela A

Comments (Add) NONE