At The End Of Daybreak Blu-ray Review
PictureAt the End of Daybreak comes presented with a solid 1080p High Definition rendition in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.78:1 widescreen. Detail is generally very good indeed, from the close ups focussed on faces, to the broader shots. There is no noteworthy softness, negligible edge enhancement and simply no digital defects whatsoever. The colour scheme is dulled and muted for the location, although there is still a reasonably broad spectrum on offer, and all of the colours seem to have been rendered accurately. Black levels are solid and overall this is a decent enough offering for this kind of movie. Of course, it is limited by the material itself, which isn't exactly glossy, but I doubt this movie could look much better.
SoundWe get a disappointingly 2-channel Uncompressed PCM soundtrack to accompany the movie as well, in its native languages, which include Malay, Cantonese and Putonghua (spoken by various different characters across the movie). There's also a dubbed version which runs Putonghua throughout (also 2.0). The subtitles appear to be decent quality, and make sense throughout. The dialogue comes across mainly from the centre channel, effects mainly limited to atmospheric offerings to give the film a little ambience. It's not much, and considering the apparent budget and limited material it is probably sufficient, but I really have no idea why they didn't bother making it more than just stereo. The score is quite adventurous considering the bleak nature of the drama, and probably marks the best presented aspect of the track, a couple of English-language tracks thrown into the melting pot. However, overall it's still a far from acceptable offering.
ExtrasThe 22-minute Making Of kicks off with the trailer (which is totally redundant considering the disc also includes a whole bunch of trailers) but after all that we do get some nice footage, from release presentations at Film Festivals, to interviews with the main cast and crew, including the Director and writer. We get taken through some of the scene sketches, get to see a little behind the scenes footage, and the whole affair has been strung together quite well, interspersed with final film clips that often feature soundbites from those involved. Perhaps not the most substantial offering, if you can get past the ridiculously long intro, there is a fair amount on offer here. Of course, needless to say, the whole thing has the requisite English subtitles.
There's 5 minutes of Deleted Footage, split into 3 scenes, and none of it really adds to the movie. There's a little more of the main guy's ex-girlfriend, an extended version of the bar-room segment and a sequence with him shaving his hair (probably because he hates the way his mother cuts it).
Finally we get no less than 7 Theatrical and Teaser Trailers. I dare you to sit through them all.
VerdictAt the End of Daybreak is another recent Asian release that has been picked up by some of the Festivals, and is held in high regard as another offbeat indie flick from acclaimed director Ho Yuhang. Personally, I was very much disappointed by this basic, uneventful and by-the-numbers drama which was far from the crime mystery modern film noir it purported to be on the back cover of the Blu-ray. Sure, it seems fairly realistic, but the Eastenders-style plot is not substantial enough to string out over its runtime, and the actors do not generate enough sympathy or empathy to have you endure their whining and apathy. On Blu-ray they haven't really given fans of the movie anything to be pleased about. Sure it looks decent enough, but a 2-channel audio offering is just not acceptable on any release for this High Definition format, and the limited extras don't make up for this shortfall. If you're a fan and you can't find another decent release then you could consider picking this up at the right price. Newcomers should just watch the trailer and see if there's anything that draws them to it, otherwise steer clear.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £18.59
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