PictureThe film is presented in a widescreen anamorphic format framed at 1.85:1. As mentioned earlier the print is heavily de-saturated, with a very muted palette of largely autumnal, and winter tones. In keeping with the ephemeral nature of the whole piece, this process has led to a loss of detail and a softening of the image generally. Shadows are dense and highlights blown out, and there are large amounts of grain present, like a photo shot on ISO 1600 film. I am sure this is all part of the directors intended direction for the movie, and as such the DVD reflects his artistic wishes, but it is not a movie to demo the quality of your 8 foot screen. The picture has no digital artefacts present.
SoundThe sound of silence, is what you will hear when watching Birth. But when called upon to produce, the Dolby Digital track does a worthy job of enhancing the atmosphere. Front spot effects are sparse but clear and precise when they are present. Dialogue is also sparse but once again is clear and focused when needed. The score is the only part of the soundtrack to get into all five channels and it hangs in the air like an approaching storm cloud. Like the picture, the sound reflects the direction the material takes and as such is adequate.
ExtrasOnly a theatrical trailer, and trailers to a few forthcoming New Line movies.
VerdictBirth is a difficult disc to recommend for the DVD enthusiast as it has poor picture and sound quality, even though this is intentional, and no value added material. If you are a movie lover however, there is much to admire about Glazer's Hollywood debut. The story has a definite compulsion and a talented cast and crew tell it with style, but the disturbing subject matter and cursory treatment may leave you cold.
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