Hours, The Special Collector's Edition DVD Review
PicturePresented in Anamorphic 1.85:1 the image is extremely good, helping to bring out the finer details of the stunning cinematography. There is a noticeable amount of grain present in the print but this I feel is intentional for the piece, and is used most notably in the older time frames to give a sense of age. The colours are simply wonderful and are used to convey the differing time periods, with pale browns and yellows used for the earliest timeframe, through to crisp yellows for the 50's and then a stylish modern colour palette for the present day setting.
Close ups, particularly those of faces have copious amounts of detail on show, with lines and pores clearly visible. Colours are also realistic adding to the natural looking fleshtones present. There are a few flaws present within the print, but these are nothing to worry about. There are slight traces of edge enhancement seen now and again, but to be honest you really have to be looking for it. I could not find anything else to really worry about, with no signs of dot crawl or pixilation problems, in fact this is a very good transfer and deserves good marks.
SoundRather strangely the soundtrack on offer here is a Dolby Digital 5.0 affair. I suppose the phrase “dialogue driven” was invented for movies like this, so the lack of a dedicated LFE channel is not missed. Don't let the fact that this film is dialogue heavy put you off this soundmix. Subtle and delicate surround placement and effective reinforcement of the score helps make this quite a lively experience which helps overall in setting the scene. It will never win any prizes for aggressive effects, but the subtlety of this track hits the right spots.
ExtrasThere are two commentaries - one with actresses Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep and the other with director Stephen Daldry and novelist Michael Cunningham. The first commentary goes that step closer to the characters and each actress manages to get under the skin of what each was thinking and feeling at any given moment. They also discuss in some detail the trials of filming such an emotionally heavy piece as well as thanking those who helped in the production. The second commentary track discusses in more detail the history to each character including an in-depth look at Woolf. It is a rather dry audio track however and not as entertaining as the first, but it manages to give you plenty of details to appreciate. Four featurettes are also offered as extras: "Three Women", "Life and Times of Virginia Woolf", "The Lives of Mrs. Dalloway" and "The Music of the Hours". Each feature offers just the right mix of interviews, behind the scenes detail and insights into the acting. Finally bringing up the rear is the Trailer presented in Dolby Digital 5.1.
VerdictAn excellent interwoven story with outstanding acting performances and presented on an above average disc. Recommended.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £26.99
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