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I found this movie fascinating, and I’m not even all that interested in psychoanalysis. It just goes to show what a film can do for its characters when it isn't all that obsessed with running us through a rigid plot structure. There are three great performances here. It's definitely worth watching, especially with the spot on audio and video provided by Sony. Recommended.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Sony has no shortage of immaculate transfers out there, and this is simply another one to add to their splendid looking collection of films. The transfer captures Cronenberg's moody, brooding feel. Peter Suschitzky's ('The Empire Strikes Back') shadow-infused cinematography is presented with crystal clarity here.
Fine detail is at optimum levels. You'll notice hundreds of thousands of tiny pebbles making up Jung's large driveway when Sabina first arrives at his hospital. Freud's smoke from his ever-present cigar curls and circles in the air, all the time perfectly visible. Facial detail is out-of-this-world amazing. Even though Mortensen is sporting a false nose, you can tell that the makeup was applied with high definition in mind since it seamlessly blends into his face.
Blacks are inky, creating the foreboding atmosphere that was intended for the movie. Crushing never rears its ugly head. The shadows here accentuate faces, features and textures. Contrasting the darkness of the film is the natural light that flows freely in many scenes. The great white buildings in Vienna show a wonderful ability of the transfer to provide stellar contrast on each end of the light spectrum. Skin tones are always natural looking and have a nice lifelike glow under the movie's streams of natural light. I was extremely impressed with every aspect of this transfer. Not once did I run into aliasing, banding or any other such artifacts. Another flawless presentation from Sony.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is just as impressive. The first thing that you'll notice is Howard Shore's ominous original score. Shore was nominated for an Oscar for his work on 'Hugo,' but that doesn't mean that this score is any less superb. There's plenty of low-end sound provided in the score to keep the sub-woofer busy. The score bleeds into the rear speakers providing an encompassing effect, instantly drawing you into the movie.
Thankfully this dialogue-heavy movie features crystalline voices. The front and center speakers harbor most of the film's speech – only a few ancillary sounds and voices make it around to the rears. This mix is more about nuance than brashness. So you'll notice little sounds like the crunching of gravel as orderlies try to subdue Sabine on the driveway. The way these nuanced sounds are handled is striking. You never feel like you're missing anything. Even the smallest details are covered here. The rear speakers are a little sparse when it comes to surround sound material, but other than that this is a very engaging track that perfectly represents the mood of the film.
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