Proof DVD Review
PictureProof is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio anamorphically enhanced widescreen transfer. Clarity is good throughout, with decent detail, negligible softness and no signs of edge enhancement or any digital artefacting at all. Grain levels are kept to a minimum over the duration and the colour scheme is nice, although generally limited to the autumnal browns and yellows of the setting. Blacks are reasonably solid, allowing for some decent shadowing and there are no signs of any print defects whatsoever on this transfer. Overall it is a worthy effort that is unlikely to win any awards but serves its purposes well.
SoundThe main soundtrack is a solid Dolby Digital 5.1 effort. Dialogue - whether the whispered mumblings or shouts and screams - is presented clearly from the frontal array and we get a few nice little sound effects touches (like rain and background TV noise) to spark around your living room using the surrounds. Sure, the movie does not particularly provide the kind of aural material conducive towards highlighting the range of your surround sound set-up, but it does its best and perfectly suits the experience at all times. The score is quite subtle at times but does get angry and powerful as and when required and I even noticed a little bit of bass (it is the kind of tinkering, repetitive score that builds in much the same way as the mathematical theories - or the madness - in the minds of the protagonists). We also get a Dolby Digital 5.1 French track for completeness.
ExtrasFirst up we get a full-length Audio Commentary from the Director, John Madden. He talks - fairly thoughtfully but also far too slowly - about various aspects of the movie, from the actual technical side of the filming to the reunion between him and Gwyneth Paltrow, to the multi-faceted story of madness and genius, occasionally interjecting a small anecdote that he remembers from the production. It is quite an interesting listen but his tedious speech does get tiring after a while and even fans of the movie will probably only want to dip in and out of this one.
There are Deleted Scenes each presented with Optional Commentary by the Director. 'You're not a Real number' is a little over a minute long and has Catherine talking to her dead father a bit more, 'Harold Dobbs exists!' runs at nearly five minutes in length and an extended sequence with more of Catherine being oppressed by her misguided sister and 'Are you having an affair?' is a flashback to her college years where you can see that her preoccupation with her father's wellbeing is not only ruining her academic progress but also stifling her social progress. None of them were really worth keeping in, although more Anthony Hopkins would not have been a bad thing. Madden's commentary adds little to the proceedings other than to say that the scenes were largely repetitive.
There is also a Making-Of Featurette entitled From Stage to Screen, which lasts nearly ten minutes and has interview comments from the Director, some of his crew and the main cast, including Anthony Hopkins, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jake Gyllenhaal. Unfortunately they start by spending a little too long discussing things that you would have already gleaned from watching the movie itself, as well as showing you overlong sequences from the final movie. Eventually we get into some behind the scenes footage and there are a few nice segments about the history of the project and how it all came together, rounding it off as a much better Featurette than you would have expected from the start.
Finally there are trailers on disc startup for the powerful new Robert Redford/Morgan Freeman drama An Unfinished Life and a couple of romantic comedies - Shadows in the Sun and Everything you Want, as well as Johnny Knoxville's comedy-drama Daltry Calhoun.
VerdictProof is an engaging psychological thriller sporting some interesting performances from both Gwyneth Paltrow and Jake Gyllenhaal, as well as the solid support of heavyweight Anthony Hopkins. Paltrow is clearly the star and fans of hers should definitely investigate this movie further. The video and audio presentation are perfectly in-line with the content and we get a few worthy extras to complete the release. Those who like this sort of psychological drama/thriller (like A Beautiful Mind) or fans of the main performers should check this out, I'm sure you will not be disappointed.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £18.59
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