Don Jon Blu-ray Review

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Pull, Porn, Pray, Repeat

by Casimir Harlow Mar 22, 2014 at 12:34 PM

  • Movies review


    Don Jon Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £15.99

    Don Jon Blu-ray Review

    Smart and sassy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s writer/director debut is certainly a little too cocksure for its own good, but, beyond the false charm and arrogance there’s an honest emotional underbelly.

    Defying the conventions of its ostensible romantic dramedy labelling, Don Jon initially goes for a fast-paced approach towards delivering its premise – Jon’s Pull, Porn, Pray, Repeat lifestyle is a regular-as-clockwork pattern which starts with a gym workout, sports plenty of one night stands and internet porn in between, and ends with ten “Hail Marys” at Sunday Communion – before settling in to a more palatable rhythm that promotes both style and substance. The performances are generally very impressive, with Johansson adding another vacuous b*tch to her resume and Moore another vulnerable hippy, but both granting them authenticity beyond their ostensible character caricature tropes. Levitt takes a while to settle in his young DeNiro-esque Italian-American guise – and never really convinces – but pulls off the whole one-night-stand/women-ranking/porn addict thing very well indeed.
    Whilst the story feels original, it is also strangely, staggeringly predictable – perhaps Trailers don’t help, but there’s nothing surprising on offer here, beyond the fact that it is quite so honest. Still, Levitt certainly has a talent for dialogue, cinematography and directing himself, managing to deliver a protagonist who plausibly justifies his relationship with porn and who genuinely has problems, but without casting any ostensible judgment upon him or his issues. Perhaps his greatest strength lies in his off-hand criticisms – like the not-so subtle dig against the automated forgiveness of the Catholic Church – family observations and even loose social commentary to boot. There’s plenty to enjoy in Levitt’s debut, even if it is still rough around the edges.

    What is Don Jon Blu-ray Picture Quality

    Don Jon What is Don Jon Blu-ray Picture Quality

    Don Jon hits UK Region Free Blu-ray complete with a competent but far from exceptional 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Detail is generally excellent, particularly in the daytime sequences, with superior skin textures and close-ups, and fine background detail. The colour scheme manages to be broad and vibrant, whilst also largely natural-looking, particularly in healthy skin tones.

    I would love to say that the image is utterly devoid of digital defects and, for the most part, it certainly is, but there are a few slightly softer shots that creep in and one or two downright dire moments – including a sequence when Levitt takes a call outside his class, at night, where the image is truly terrible, blocky, unresolved and completely out of place amidst the rest of what is a fairly strong transfer. Perhaps the fractionally shaky hand-shot cinematography is partly to blame, or perhaps the darker set was just too much for it to handle, as it’s not the only instance of loss of shadow detail, just the only instance will make you pause and wonder what went wrong.

    An otherwise largely very good video presentation is marred slightly by a couple of surprisingly dodgy moments.

    Still, we’re talking about scant few seconds across the ninety-minute duration, so, whilst this video presentation doesn’t come anywhere near reference or demo territory, it is still a largely good-looking ride.

    What is Don Jon Blu-ray Sound Quality

    Don Jon What is Don Jon Blu-ray Sound Quality
    Conversely the movie’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is far more consistent, providing an engaging accompaniment which relies mostly on diegetic elements for the score itself – which includes nightclub music and some stomping tracks played whilst driving. The dialogue is clear and coherent throughout the piece, dominating the frontal array whenever appropriate – with Don’s narration towering over the rest of the elements of the track.

    More consistently impressive than the video, the largely very natural soundtrack provides a demo quality accompaniment.

    Effects are myriad but largely natural and ambient, providing a suitably atmospheric background to each and every scene – from the oft-frequented nightclub to the hollow echoing murmurs of a church congregation; from street bustle both day and night-time to the guttural roar of Don’s muscle car. The music itself, as aforementioned, is almost entirely diegetic, which works tonally for the piece, and still makes for heady input, with plenty of throaty bass where appropriate. This is a natural-sounding but nonetheless very impressive, immersive track.

    Don Jon Blu-ray Extras

    Ostensibly matching up to the US counterpart, this Region Free release of Don Jon sports a nice selection of Featurettes which all nod towards Levitt’s triple-headed work on the film – not least the Joe’s Hats Featurette which looks specifically at his Directorial ‘Hat’, his Acting ‘Hat’ and his Writing ‘Hat’, as well as others – as well as looking into the Origins for the Film, the Making of the Film, and a couple dedicated to the themes of the film; as well as a bunch of Hit RECord shorts and a trailer to round off the package.

    Is Don Jon Blu-ray Worth Buying

    Don Jon Is Don Jon Blu-ray Worth Buying
    Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s writer/director debut, Don Jon, is an edgy little number which defies romantic comedy themes in favour of more dramatic aspirations and gives us a relatively honest look at sex, addiction and love.

    A very good video presentation, a great audio track and a nice selection of extras make this a tempting release.

    This UK Region Free Blu-ray is well worth picking up for fans of the film, and certainly worth a rental if you like the sound of it.

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £15.99

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