Breathe In Blu-ray Review

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Guy Pierce and Felicity Jones are the glue that holds this lolita-esque tale together

by Alan McDermott Nov 24, 2013 at 8:07 PM

  • Movies review

    Breathe In Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £19.99

    Breathe In Blu-ray Review

    Breathe In Breathe In Blu-ray Review
    A British exchange student arrives in up-state New York to stay with the Reynolds. Upon arriving, Sophie (Felicity Jones) meets Keith Reynolds (Guy Pierce) who, before he became a teacher, was a struggling cellist in New York City. Having settled down with his wife, Megan (Amy Ryan), to raise their daughter Lauren (Mackenzie Davis), Keith finds himself bored and frustrated; apathetic to the aspirations he held as a youthful budding musician, now little more than a distant memory.

    Sophie is a mysterious young girl whose dark and broody personality rekindles a sense of youthful vigour in Keith, she sparks interest and intrigue. When one day it is revealed that Sophie is something of a virtuoso at piano, Keith's intrigue heightens, bordering on the besotted. As the pace quickens, the two become closer and eventually a forbidden romance begins to blossom. Sophie's arrival poses difficult challenges for the Reynolds to face, where impulse and passion take centre stage over common sense, as a dangerous relationship begins to take hold and looks set to change their lives forever.

    A passionate and potent love story that's less about love and lust than it is about escapism. Guy Pierce and Felicity Jones are the glue that holds this lolita-esque tale together with an air of frivolity and wistfulness to their characters' interactions. At it's heart, it's a tale of forbidden love centred around two musicians connecting in a modern world, but does it live up to it's potential?

    Breathe In Blu-ray Picture Quality

    Breathe In Breathe In Blu-ray Picture Quality
    Breathe In hits Blu-ray with an impressive 2.35:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer from Curzon Films. It's almost immediately apparent that this is a carefully constructed and meticulously rendered video presentation. The first thing that struck me was the grading. It's very heavy handed, but it works brilliantly. It's a mixture of cold blues and greys that give certain scenes a slight air of tension or apprehension, and deep and rich yellows and pink-ish reds which give a sense of warmth and comfort. The contrasting feelings that the director manages to achieve in the grading alone is impressive and it really adds to the emotion of the movie.

    Contrast feels a little mixed on the other hand, with some darker night time scenes feeling slightly washed out. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but it has an affect on the otherwise rich and deep blacks that the movie boasts. It's an intermittent issue that doesn't detract from the quality too much. Skin tones feel pale and slightly desaturated, but this coupled with the overall colour palette which is generally quite limited, gives the movie it's own sense of tonality. One of the best things about Breathe In's video presentation is the detail, which is brilliantly demonstrated through the director's love for extreme close ups, often shoving the camera incredibly close to the actors' faces. In the scene where Sophie is coaching Keith to breathe, the camera get's up close and personal with Guy Pearce's beard, and you will be impressed with the outstanding level of detail on display.

    All in all, it's a very good image, with not a whiff of any degradation through enhancement or noise reduction whatsoever. Very impressive.

    One of the best things about Breathe In's video presentation is the level of detail.

    Breathe In Blu-ray Sound Quality

    Breathe In Breathe In Blu-ray Sound Quality
    The audio presentation is most definitely a perfect ten. With an impeccable DTS-HD 5.1 MA track and an equally impressive LPCM 2.0 track to boot, it's every bit as gorgeous as you would expect from a movie that focusses largely on the sound of musical instruments and dialogue. For this review I have focussed predominantly on the DTS audio track however.

    Firstly, the dialogue is absolutely perfect. Occupying the centre speaker alone, it never get's lost or washed out with the background noise and it remains perfectly clear even when the actors are speaking at a whisper. As for background ambience and foley, they are a subtle masterpiece. People say that you only notice sound design when it's bad, well I beg to differ - some of the sound design in Breathe In's audio presentation is among the best I've ever heard. The life that the backgrounds take on is a marvel to behold, with the reverberations around the hallway in the Reynolds house giving a real sense of character and age, particularly in the hallway near the baby grand piano. It's only an occasional time we get to hear it, but the creaking of the wooden floors, or the crunch of broken glass that demonstrates the care and attention to detail the sound team went to.

    Not to mention the contrasting hustle and bustle effects in New york, and the woozy treatment that the characters are given when inside the club. It's a brilliant piece of audio work that will likely get no more than a fraction of the credit it deserves.

    And then there's O'Halloran's evocative and tender musical score. Its soft and gentle tones and wonderful piano melodies are refreshing and wonderful. I'd urge anyone out there to seek the soundtrack out in isolation as I feel it's easily a contender for one of the finest soundtracks this year.

    All in all, it's a brilliant audio presentation that will get no less than full marks from me.

    As for background ambience and foley, they are a subtle masterpiece.

    Breathe In Blu-ray Extras

    Breathe In Breathe In Blu-ray Extras
    Not much by way of bonus features so if that's what floats your boat, you'll likely be a little disappointed.

    Interview with Drake Doremus and Felicity Jones - A ten minute interview in which Doremus and his star, Felicity Jones discuss their partnership in Breathe In. Lots of back-slapping and very little of any real interest if I'm honest

    Theatrical Trailer

    Is Breathe In Blu-ray Worth Buying

    Breathe In Is Breathe In Blu-ray Worth Buying
    Breathe In washes over you in a refreshing, breezy wave and tugs on almost all the right strings to bring us to the edge of our seats. As we watch the slow and steady deterioration of these intricate and complex characters it's easy to let go and allow Doremus to weave his tale for us. Though it doesn't hit every beat for me, it's certainly impossible to describe it as anything but a resounding success.

    In terms of the Blu-ray package, it boasts an excellent video presentation and a fantastic audio presentation that combined make for an extremely high quality experience. Lacking somewhat in the bonus content department though which is a shame as I would have liked to know more about the sound production on the movie. When push comes to shove, any misgivings I have for the movie are far outweighed by the overall quality on show. A great movie that couldn't look or sound much better than it does here.

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99

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