Frost/Nixon Blu-ray Review
Universal presents this blu-ray release in a widescreen 2.35:1 ratio. It's been transferred into 1080P High Definition using the VC-1 codec.
The seventies look of the film is faithfully recreated and everything seems to fit into place. There is a slight muting to the colours to help add to the feel, but on the whole the colours have a vibrant tendency to want to come alive. The palette is even keeled and the skin tones as a result are realistic.
The picture oozes both clarity and depth and is helped no end by the deep and inky levels of blacks and the contrast on offer. Shadow delineation provides a velvet smooth backdrop but occasionally there does appear to be some crushing of blacks. This is mostly evident in the darkened interview scenes where you'll notice black detail drop off sharply.
For the most part the picture sparkles with life and there is much detail to enrich everything on show. Facial shots reveal all the details in the lines of Nixon's politically worn face as opposed to the youthfulness of David Frost. At times the detail in the picture is staggeringly good.
The image remains tack sharp throughout and feels pure in the sense that there is no evidence of edge enhancement or compression artefacts going on.
On the whole though, Universal appears to have gone all out on 'Frost/Nixon'. This is a fantastic high definition presentation that has been encoded beautifully.
The blu-ray features a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound track in English.
Frost/Nixon is predominantly a speech led film and the dialogue is all focussed through the front centre as a result. In reality it's therefore the front stereo channels that feature all of the activity and the surrounds are very rarely called into question.
Given the limitations due to its very nature, none of that comes as a surprise. This is not an action film so it doesn't need to go there. What it does have though is quality and the quality is there for all to hear.
The clarity and depth in the dialogue is astounding and crisp enough for the most demanding to feel hugely satisfied. The high resolution soundtrack delivers a very high quality result.
Audio Commentary - Ron Howard is flying solo on this one. He sounds eager and convincing from the off and it makes for an attentive listening experience. There is some good insight and he acquits himself as an intelligent and purposeful director who knows what he's doing and why he's doing it.
Deleted Scenes - (30min 28secs) - There are 12 deleted scenes for you to have a look at here. Some of them should really have been included in the film, for example, the public address to the nation of his resignation speech. I'm really surprised that one got dropped.
The Making of Frost/Nixon - (22min 58secs) - This is a pretty straightforward run of the mill extra. All the cast and crew contribute. Ron Howard has plenty to say and there is even an appearance by the real David Frost.
The Real Interview - (7mins 28secs) - These are some short snippets of the actual interview itself interspersed with comments from the cast and crew. All in all this is a missed opportunity as I was so looking forward to seeing the real interview in full. Why this wasn't included is beyond me.
The Nixon Library - (6mins 22secs) - A short documentary about the library that was built for Richard Nixon. The library staff along with some of his working colleagues and former aids voice their thoughts and recollections of the former President.
U-control - Once enabled from the menu this becomes a running feature on the disc. Usefully it adds some text boxes with historical facts as well as clips and original footage of the President.
I suppose there are limits as to what you can do with a film about 'just' an interview. In part that remains the case here but it's the early half of 'Frost/Nixon' that so brilliantly paves the way for the latter. It really is a game of two halves and the join between the two is absolutely seamless; the first is thoroughly engaging, the latter is thoroughly exhilarating.
You get a great feel for what both guys are about, the challenges of staging the interview and how they went about preparing for it. Astoundingly it all feels so real and aside from the fictitious elements to spruce up the screenplay you'll be equally convinced. This is real heavyweight stuff. Both Michael Sheen and Frank Langella have put in powerhouse performances that in truth were really deserving of far more recognition.
Universal have come up trumps with what is a beautiful encode of the movie in the blu-ray format. Whilst there are many elements of Watergate that were probably never revealed the same cannot be said of the detail in this picture. There are very few flaws with this transfer. The lossless Master Audio track on the other hand is also excellent save for a want of a little more activity.
'Frost/Nixon' may not jump out at you (simply down to the subject matter) as one to actively pursue to watch. I can assure you that would be a massive mistake on your part as this film easily belongs in the top five best films of this year.
It would truly be a 'scandal' if you didn't consider adding this film to your collection.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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