Revenge Blu-ray Review
Leans towards melodrama rather than horror
Movies reviewSRP: £12.99
Take a look; this is what a real woman looks like!After the funeral of their young daughter, a family, comprising of father, older son, teenage daughter and their young step mother, discover that the man suspected for her murder has been released by police due to insufficient evidence. The father and son, together with their friend whose own daughter was also killed by the same suspect, concoct a plan to kidnap the man and force a confession out of him. But things get a little out of hand once they have him subdued in their pub cellar and fractures begin to appear between the conspirators as the weight of what they are actually doing begins to dawn. And when the police arrest another man in connection with the murder, their suspect looks to be innocent and sends everything into a downward spiral. Have the police got it right this time, or was the family’s intuition correct all along – the final confrontation will tell all.The early 70’s holds a wealth of censor pushing cinematic history, with filmmakers ready, willing and able to show what had never been thought possible. Peckinpah, Kubrick, Russell, Polanski are just a few of the names responsible for some of the most gritty, realistic and downright horrific cinema unleashed into a world just out of the Flower Power era. Revenge was released at the same time (1971) as many of these censor pushing films and tried to tap into that vein. Unfortunately, whilst the ideas are there, it fails to deliver on anything substantial. Yes the film looks at paedophilia, grief, a vengeful family and fractured love and also tries its hand at shock value and sexual sleaze; there is just no conviction in its motivation, drive or visuals. Indeed the whole thing is played more as melodrama rather than horror and, as such, comes off as pedestrian and ordinary.
Picture QualityThe disc presents a widescreen 1.66:1 1080p transfer using the AVC codec and is region locked to B.
“A brand-new High Definition transfer from the original film elements” states the cover but doesn’t say anything about re-mastering or clean up though. Thankfully the print is in very good nick. Detail is pretty good, there is reasonable skin texture and the vivid early 70’s fashion has occasional discernible weave, the streets of 70’s England are suitably sharp (shop signs, pavements, road markings, etc.) while close ups of the pub stock both in the bar and in the cellar are fine enough.
Colouring is satisfactory, all the primaries are there if not in any bold sense, but there is no wash or bleed – check out the wall paper! Grass verges are suitably lush, even in the winter weather, and the little girl’s rain coat is a vivid red, but these splashes are the exception in what is quite a subdued pallet. Flesh tones are natural enough though.
“A brand-new High Definition transfer from the original film elements” - nothing about re-mastering
Brightness and contrast are set to give a good representation of black that adds some depth to the frame; best seen in the cellar where there is a modicum of shadow detail as well, but the film lacks any significant depth due to the framing, which is somewhat ‘TV’ like. There is no crushing and at the other end the whites are stable without clipping.
Digitally there are no compression issues or edge enhancement but the original print does suffer from damage here and there in the form of specks, hairs, tramlines and occasional water discolouration; but they are quite light and don’t distract too much. Grain is light and adds to the organic nature of the piece. In all, not too bad a picture considering the lack of any real attention.
Sound QualityJust the one track: English LPCM 2.0 Mono. A very functional track that is well mixed so that nothing is lost. Dialogue is clear, precise and natural sounding. Effects are limited, though car, motorbike and truck engines are suitably dense and make use of some good bass. The score is rather ordinary but is well layered. There is no hiss, or damage or distortion, though it is a little bit on the quiet side, needing a turn of the volume knob to get the best out of it.
Image Gallery – Couple of minutes of images from behind the scenes to posters to lobby cards.
Booklet – Some writing on the film by Professor Neil Sinyard.
Blu-ray VerdictRevenge is a British made film about a publican family who abduct the suspect for killing their young daughter when the police release him on a technicality and proceed to beat him and plan his murder. The ideas of revenge, vengeance, morality, child murder and infidelity are quickly skirted over for melodrama in what fast becomes a bickering soap opera. Lurid PR campaigns paint a picture that the film is something that it is not and despite coming out during the height of the most censor-pushing time cinema has ever known and containing its own attempts at (soft) sleazy exploitation, the film fails to deliver on any real shock value. Stars Joan Collins and James Booth are quite good in their respective roles, and the pace is quite quick due to the 90 minute run time, but a lack of conviction in its baser elements means the film remains quite pedestrian.
The film fails to deliver on any real shock value
As a Blu-ray package the set from Network has a reasonable picture (“new hi-def transfer from original film elements”) that is bright with good blacks, good colouring but is marred by some original print damage, while the sound (LPCM 2.0 mono) is basic and functional. The extras are very light with the best one being the essay booklet included in the cover.
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