Baseline Blu-ray Review
PictureBaseline comes to Blu-ray presented with a 1080p High Definition rendition in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen. Considering the budget, the film looks extremely good on the format, well polished and respectable for the most part. Detail is generally quite strong, with only a little softness and only a few moments where unintentional grain is visible; and generally no print defects or damage that otherwise might affect your viewing pleasure. The colour scheme is extremely restricted, a dour, sombre palette full of browns and greys, highlighting - as movies always seem to - the bleak, lifelessness of London. Interiors seem a little more vibrant, in particular the clubs, but the colour still seems to have been restrained - intentionally - to highlight the tone of the story. Black levels are generally strong and the movie looks surprisingly good considering its origins.
SoundTo accompany the movie we get a technically sound DTS-HD Master Audio track, which appears to be the current industry standard for good quality aural offerings. This is not a prime example of what the format can truly offer, however, although it does not entirely let the side down. The dialogue generally coming across the frontal array, is not always clearly and coherently represented, and not just when it has to compete with all of the background noise. There is a general muffled quality that can be a little distracting. Effects - from the dull thud of the body blows, to the gunshots and more atmospheric ambient coverage - all get reasonably good presentation across the surrounds, although this is certainly not the liveliest affair. That said, anything involving the workings of a nightclub is likely to have a constant thrum and beat going on in the background, and this is no exception. The score is suitably punchy and engaging, and overall the track is far from terrible, but also not quite as good as you would expect from such a recent production.
ExtrasAll we get is a short Interview with the Writer and Lead Actor, newcomer Freddie Connor. He talks about working with Dexter Fletcher and Jamie Foreman, and the difficulties he found in this, his first work. But there's nothing really insightful on offer here. Aside from this limited extra, we get a couple of Trailers for the main feature.
VerdictBaseline is an unadventurous but also fairly inoffensive, unnecessary addition to the British East End gangster sub-genre, telling the tale of a well-meaning club bouncer who gets involved in a whole world of trouble when he saves his boss, a nasty man with gangland ties, from a hitman. With lacklustre or clichéd performances from little (or un-) known actors and fairly familiar characters and events, the film is simply nothing special - and for a already heavily dilated sub-genre, you need something new, something Harry Brown, to really make a distinctive footprint. Perhaps a stronger lead would have made some difference, who knows? But there is nothing here to justify its addition to the playing field. On Blu-ray the good video and acceptable audio, as well as a couple of extras, leave this a nice package for fans to pick up. Everybody else should only consider a rental, unless they really love their ITV-drama-style East End gangster tales.
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