Four Brothers DVD Review
PictureFour Brothers is presented in a pristine and grand 2.35:1 aspect ratio anamorphically enhanced widescreen transfer. The detail is generally excellent, even during the snowy, grey-sky scenes that dominate the movie. There is clarity throughout, no noticeable softness and negligible edge enhancement. The colour palette is marginally restricted by the cold and unwelcoming setting, but some scenes nevertheless look rich and vibrant, with deep and solid blacks to round out the scheme. Overall it is a commendable transfer with no print defects whatsoever.
SoundThe main soundtrack is a superior Dolby Digital 5.1 effort that brings the lively and eventful movie right into your living room. Dialogue is never less than clear, dominating the frontal array, but there are a few key effects (most prominently gunshots) to wake up your surrounds, along with a keen observation of the more subtle car and shop noises, etc. that bring the movie alive. The soundtrack is quite rich and boisterous as well, allowing for further surround (and in particular rear) action, as well as a little bass (which the gunplay also contributes to), but unfortunately David Arnold's score does occasionally drift from Shaft to Bond (particularly during the chase sequences), which is highly inappropriate for this kind of movie.
ExtrasFirst up, we get a Commentary by the Director John Singleton. He talks about it being his eighth directorial effort, how it was his first movie with snow and discusses the minute details of the score, the various subtle shots and the different locations. He explains what he intended to do with each scene, how he created and expanded each character and offers up background into each and every star. It is a fairly informative and rich commentary which is well worth giving up your time for if you liked the movie.
The Look of Four Brothers Featurette runs at ten minutes in length and has the crew talking about the script and story, how it plays out like a modern-day western and how they developed the particularly gritty, but also stylish look for the production. Although it features a fair amount of footage from the movie, you can nominally excuse this since there is normally a voiceover commentary by one of the participants, animating the proceedings somewhat more than if the footage were used to just pad out the featurette.
The Crafting Four Brothers Featurette is also just over ten minutes' long and covers much of the same ground as the first featurette, once again talking about the western aspects of the story but this time taking a little more time to look into each of the individual characters.
The Behind the Brotherhood Featurette is just under ten minutes long and focuses on the whole 'brotherhood' aspect of the movie, with lots of comments from the Director, talking about why he picked up the script and comments from his crew-mates who discuss what he brought to the production. They all talk about the bonding between these four unrelated individuals and the communication (or lack thereof) between them and how they established this for the movie. Another interesting featurette which again does not try too hard to pad out the proceedings with just clips from the final film.
The Mercer House Shootout Featurette is a little over four minutes in length and has the director and his cohorts talking about one particular key scene in the movie - the pivotal shootout - and how they wanted to make it look spectacular because of its importance to the proceedings. Although not quite as informative as the other featurettes, it is nice to see them take a more in-depth look at this key scene and how it was put together.
There are also 9 Deleted Scenes: The Corner Store Holdup, After the Hockey Game, The Brothers' Eulogy, Arriving at Jeremiah's, Bobby Teases Jack, Revenge is a Full-Time Job, Det. Fowler Warns Angel, Lt. Green Questions Councilman Douglas and Cops Arrest Angel.
Finally we get the Theatrical Trailer, which is two-and-a-half minutes long and gives you a good impression of the style and content of the movie, but is still packed with scenes and lines which give away a little too much if you haven't seen the movie yet.
VerdictJohn Singleton has managed to come up with yet another solid, watchable drama that tells a tale that will leave you thoroughly involved and enthralled by the central characters and their plight. Not as deep as Clockers but not as shallow as Shaft and with a decent cast and some superb acting, the movie is highly watchable. The video and audio presentation are distinctly good and we get a wealth of worthy extras to round off the disc, so if you like the sound of this one then you should probably take a risk and pick it up off the bat. Otherwise it's definitely worth a rental.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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