Labor Day Blu-ray Review

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Warm summer love, but not a keeper.

by Casimir Harlow Aug 19, 2014 at 11:16 AM

  • Movies review

    Labor Day Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £22.99

    Labor Day Blu-ray Review

    Well-acted and fitfully atmospheric, but hampered by a predictable plot that plays out as little more than a 2-hour expansion of the trailer, Labor Day is a well-meaning, reasonably effective romantic drama which makes for a decent date movie but probably isn’t much of a keeper.

    The basic premise of an escaped con taking refuge with a single mother whilst the authorities throw a blanket down on the entire area, and gradually starting to form a bond with the woman and her young son, is far from an original one. But, whilst the premise is familiar, and the outcome is predictable, the journey is still reasonably enjoyable.

    First up, the stars make the most of the material, with Brolin finding it easy to slip into the gruff convict-with-a-story role, whilst Winslet excels as the fractured, inwardly-facing single mother who is struggling with bouts of depression. The direction is also quite elegant and sophisticated, sporadically bordering on Malick-lite, although, despite it being a fairly lengthy movie (for what it is), there are some rather random leaps-forward in character interaction, which take a moment or two to get past.
    Still, considering the saccharine sweet tone this could have taken, the ponderously clichéd notes it could have played, and the sheer boredom that really should have set in, the movie certainly has something going for it to keep you engaged for the duration.

    Perhaps it’s the moderately authentic look at a more commonplace, but under-represented form of depression; perhaps it’s the almost-true-story nature of the piece; or perhaps it’s just that the cast draw you in with what little they have, but it’s far from an unpleasant affair, simmering along warmly, and even meting out some welcome tension as the walls close in.

    What is Labor Day Blu-ray Picture Like

    Labor Day What is Labor Day Blu-ray Picture Like
    Labor Day certainly looks gorgeous, presented on Region Free UK Blu-ray complete with a sumptuous 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen. Detail is largely striking, allowing for rich background texturing, close skin observations, intricate clothing weaves, and fine object recognition. The HD imagery is strong and potent, yet also rich, bordering on filmic in terms of layering, which gives it a very welcome warm feel.

    There’s nothing to criticise about this excellent presentation, which makes for fine viewing, and provides a sumptuous visual feast.

    The colour scheme is strong and vibrant, playing slightly hot but affording the film a nice glow that suits the subject. Skin tones are healthy but still largely authentic – the close-ups on Winslet aren’t always too flattering, which is a credit to her commitment to the character, as it suits the part – and the broader schemes include strong dark black levels that afford decent shadow detail, vibrant green backdrops, and nice blue skies. There are no obvious digital issues whatsoever – there’s no visible edge enhancement, no excessive DNR application, and no artefacting, banding or blocking. Overall it’s picture perfect, or near as dammit, and earns itself a top score as such.

    What is Labor Day Blu-ray Sound Quality

    Labor Day What is Labor Day Blu-ray Sound Quality

    The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is also largely impressive, although its comparative restraint occasionally leaves it underplayed, and it’s not until some more pivotal, latter moments, where it truly sweeps you up into the proceedings.

    Dialogue comes through clearly and coherently throughout, presented largely from across the fronts and centre channels, dominating the feature for the majority of the runtime. Effects are well-represented, picking up on the smallest little flourishes and giving them voice in the array, crafting generally good atmospheric moments and ambient touches. The score is reserved but frequently engaging and perfectly suits the tone of the material.

    Strong and accurate, the track is not quite demo quality, but does an excellent job with the relatively limited aural scope of the material.

    Labor Day Blu-ray Extra Content

    A decent Audio Commentary provided by the Director, DOP, and First Assistant Director provides the backbone for the extras, but we also get a hefty half-hour Documentary, End of Summer: The Making of Labor Day which allows us some interesting background into the original source novel, the adaptation, the inspirations, the shooting locations, the cast, filming, the performances, and basically all of the main production elements. The disc is rounded off by half a dozen short Deleted Scenes and a few Preview Trailers.

    Is Labor Day Blu-ray Worth Buying

    Labor Day Is Labor Day Blu-ray Worth Buying
    Well-shot and well-acted, Labor Day makes for a decent enough modern romantic drama, and you could do a hell of a lot worse than giving it a once-over, but limited story and script and ultimate predictability leave it lacking in any particular surprises or originality, so don't expect to want to watch it more than once.

    It makes for an effective date movie but is neither particularly noteworthy nor particularly memorable.
    With stellar video and very good audio, as well as a nice roster of extras, fans of the film will definitely love this release, and it comes recommended as a must-have purchase for them. Those who are otherwise interested should consider a rental first to see if it fits into their collection and holds any rewatch value.

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £22.99

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