Loving Blu-ray Review
Movies reviewSRP: £14.99
Loving's true story of a husband and wife living in a state where interracial marriage was illegal is a heartbreaking but resonant one.Loving is based on the real lives of Richard and Mildred Loving, who lived in the State of Virginia in the late 50s and therefore had to travel to Washington D.C. to get married, incurring the wrath of the State authorities as their interracial union violated the State's anti-miscegenation laws. Faced with a prison term or having to move away from the State, the couple inadvertently land themselves in the middle of a decade-long struggle against institutionalised racism, becoming unwitting proponents of the Civil Rights movement despite the fact that all they wanted to do was live a quiet life together near their family homes.Ruth Negga is on tremendous form as Mildred Loving, having enjoyed a mixed career across small and big screen outings (including popular turns in the likes of Agents of SHIELD and, most recently, Preacher), but really striking out here in terms of performance. Joel Edgerton has become something of a force to be reckoned with over the last decade, although his considered performance of Richard is perhaps a fraction too affected. Jeff Nichols has proven a name to remember with directorial work so far (including Mud, Take Shelter and last year's excellent Midnight Special), and whilst Loving is a more reserved effort, it's no less resonant.
Picture QualityLoving reaches UK shores on a Region Free Blu-ray complete with a solid - if unexceptional - 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen. It's a decent-enough looking piece, which promotes strong detail, some texturing, and reasonable colours and black levels, but it really doesn't stand up well for a modern production.
Decent-enough but it really doesn't stand up well for a modern production
Shot on 35mm film but styled in such a way as to evoke a suitably period feel (as is more and more common these days with period features), the end result is surprisingly flat, with only a few sun-baked shots rising above this and, even then, a slightly tweaked contrast which gives it an intentionally golden feel. It's not a bad looking piece – it certainly suits the period that they are trying to bring to life – and within which we do get some sporadically impressive close-ups both on faces and complex backgrounds, but it's also never going to get used as demo material.
Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a solid enough affair, promoting the wide open range exteriors, the rumbling car engines, and the echoing courtroom with aplomb, all enhanced by a sombre, reserved but nonetheless penetratingly effective score in the background.
It's never going to be used for demo purposes, but it's a decent enough track
Dialogue is generally delivered clearly and coherently throughout, disseminated across the frontal array, however the words spoken by Joel Edgerton's character are often a little mumbled - arguably intentionally so to get him in character. Effects provide a natural soundscape and environment within which the story can unravel, with some degree of separation but nothing strikingly distinctive or noteworthy. The score keeps the surrounds active, further enhancing the affair. It's never going to be used for demo purposes, but it's a decent enough track that's faithful to the material.
ExtrasThere are a few nice extras adorning the disc
There are a few nice extras adorning the disc, headlined by a decent and warm Audio Commentary from writer/director Jeff Nichols, who looks into the shocking true story behind the piece, the previous adaptations and what he wanted to do differently with his script. He raves about the performances, and reflects on an accomplished piece of work. There are also a few nice mini-featurettes, none of which really last more than 5 minutes, looking behind the production, the cast, the setting and the true story.
Blu-ray VerdictWhilst Loving is a more reserved effort from director Jeff Nichols, it's no less resonant
Universal's Region Free UK Blu-ray release of Loving provides flawed but decent enough video, and strong audio, as well as a nice selection of extra features, leaving it a worthy release. It's a resonant film that's well worth checking out.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
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