PictureAlthough largely shot in that shaky NYPD-Blue-esque camcorder style, Rachel Getting Married was entirely filmed digitally, so the image is constantly good, irrespective of the unsteadiness of the hand wielding the camera. Coming to Blu-ray with a 1080p High Definition rendition, the movie is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 1.78:1. The image is scarily life-like, detail on the close-up shots standing up throughout, literally every hair out of place becoming apparent on this near-perfect representation. Largely devoid of any digital artefacts, there is also little haloing, edge enhancement or DNR, and only a little softness, the picture also having that 3D pop that is not often as apparent as it is with the presentation of this film. Noise is harder to avoid, particularly in lower-lit shots, where the 'real' lighting means a sacrifice to how solid the picture is. The colour scheme is extremely realistic, skin tones coming across well, highlighting a lack of overt makeup (to maintain the realism) and adding to the authenticity, although said authenticity does often leave the film looking a little (arguably intentionally) sombre, only a few wedding moments having a vivid, vibrant edge. Black levels suffer a tiny bit, and are not quite as solid as they should be, but that is a minor niggle. Clearly this is a prime example of digital filmwork at its best - the picture itself coming across at its peak during the daylight outdoor sequences. If you want a comparison as to what the image would look like on a normal old school camcorder, there is a brief shot during the speech party night which is clearly packed to the brim with grain and unforgiving softness.
SoundTo accompany this authentic chunk of documentary-style drama, we get a Dolby TrueHD track that serves the material well, but does not really have the material to show off its full potential. Almost entirely dialogue driven, the conversations are sometimes strangely muffled, perhaps through realistic mumbling, or through common West Wing-style speed-talking, but this is definitely one for either subtitles or upping the volume level. The downside to this is that the few song tracks that are included (mostly focused in and around the wedding ceremonies) and also a few of the more boisterous cheers of congratulations, come over far too loudly, forcing you to once again reach for that volume knob. Surrounds do not get quite as much use as you would like, but perhaps they get as much as the material can allow for, with the natural ambient effects coming across well - when there are any - and simple things, like the light slapping of rain, again adding to the authenticity. Bass is, for all intents and purposes, non-existent, and the rears similarly see little to no action, but perhaps that is all perfectly acceptable for this style of movie.
ExtrasFirst up we get a couple of Audio Commentaries. The cast commentary is actually only with the girl who plays the titular Rachel, and comes across as marginally unnecessary when it could have easily been combined with the other commentary. Had it been Anne Hathaway solo, it may have been forgivable, but Rosemarie DeWitt just isn't a big enough 'character' to carry a whole commentary by herself. The second contribution is far more interesting (even if it, too, lacks the lead component of Director Demme) with the screenwriter, upon whose life this was based upon, Jenny Lumet, giving the most interesting, insightful material in relation to this production. The two Featurettes are fairly short, The Wedding Band taking a look at the slightly disjointed soundtrack and A Look Behind the Scenes at Rachel Getting Married doing exactly that, in a perfectly perfunctory if marginally superficial way. The Cast and Crew Questions and Answers are much more interesting, and comprehensive, the session lasting nearly an hour and including many more of the film crew involved, including the Director himself. We also get twenty minutes' of Deleted Scenes that almost all would have served a better purpose than some of the wasted footage in the final film, although they could have stayed here had the film been shorter overall. Finally we get the main Theatrical Trailer.
VerdictPoignant and insightful, Rachel Getting Married is a brutally realistic documentary-style movie about a dysfunctional, broken family during what should have been a pivotal, unreservedly happy occasion in their lives. Held together by a powerhouse performance by Anne Hathaway, and a wealth of true-to-life side-characters, the film survives being marginally overlong and self-indulgent, survives nausea-inducing cinematography to remain a worthy, fresh and honest production. The video, despite the shakiness of the hand wielding the camera, showcases some of the best that HD-filmwork has to offer, the audio being far more limited, not least because of the odd soundtrack. On the extras front there are some nice pieces included which fans of the movie and its characters will no doubt want to check out. Recommended for a rental at least.
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