Reign Over Me Blu-ray Review
PictureReign Over Me gets the deluxe treatment on Blu-ray with a High Definition 1080p video presentation in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Detail is excellent throughout, the landscapes, shapes and figures all presented well, with good definition, clarity and no noticeable softness (except perhaps during the night-time sequences). Grain is also practically non-existent and whilst this isn't a big budget masterpiece, it is a solid production which has been given a pristine, polished presentation here. The colour scheme is relatively limited, but the New York locations, both indoor and outdoor, with everything from Adam's expensive dentists' office and perfect family home to Charlie's sparse apartment presented well, along with the bustling streets of New York. Night sequences also come across fairly well (although perhaps not quite as clinically clean as the indoor daytime shots) with solid blacks that make for decent shadowing. As I've stated, it's not a grand blockbuster with big bright explosions, but it is a quality movie that has been given a quality presentation on Blu-ray.
SoundTo accompany the movie on this High Definition release, we get a solid Dolby Digital 5.1 Plus track that is decent if unexceptional, as well as a more powerful Uncompressed PCM 5.1 offering. Dialogue is presented fairly clearly and coherently, largely dominating the fronts and centre channels. Sometimes the levels seem a little bit off, and you might find yourself reaching for your volume control, but overall it is quite balanced. The effects in this kind of production are very limited - as you might expect - but ambient noises and atmospherics are accurately rendered. The score itself is a little odd and takes some getting used to, but thankfully it is populated by some superbly presented song tracks (they're the ones that get the best presentation, over and above dialogue or anything else), which can often be all-encompassing, and probably gives the surrounds the most action. Bass is quite minimal, apart from perhaps on the aforementioned song tracks, and the movie's fairly non-intrusive soundtrack gets given decent enough presentation on Blu-ray. Obviously the Uncompressed track gets the extra star, and this is an example of where production studios have actually bothered including it - despite the fact that this is a fairly quiet movie - and that fact alone should please fans.
ExtrasIn terms of Extras, there's nothing HD-exclusive here on the Blu-ray release, with all of the (fairly limited) material simply ported over from the DVD release. First up there is a Making-Of Featurette entitled 'Behind the Reign' which runs at sixteen minutes in length and takes a fairly shallow self-congratulatory look at the proceedings. Perhaps the movie is a masterpiece, but those involved could have been slightly more modest about it all - the director in particular. Still, fans are likely to want to catch the interview snippets from the cast and crew and the behind the scenes glimpses along the way. We also get an Extended 'Jam Session' which is basically just the full version of the scene where Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle 'jam' with their drums and guitars, only without the backing track drowning them out completely. It would have been nice to have a few Deleted Scenes (it's hard to believe that there was absolutely no material left on the cutting-room floor) as more from either of the leads would always be welcome. Finally we get a Photo Montage and a collection of Trailers. There's no sign of the Audio Commentary that was initially touted for this release and - to be honest - it is a real missed opportunity, as one with any of those involved would have probably been compulsive listening.
VerdictReign Over Me comes thoroughly recommended, an intense, realistic study of loss and depression, as well as just normal mid-life angst, it uniquely manages to remain positive without becoming sickly sweet, honest without being cynical, and with two amazing performances from Sandler (easily at his career-best) and Cheadle, it is one of the most powerful movies of the year. This Blu-ray release reflects the High Definition camera quality that the movie was shot with, with superior video and decent audio, as well as all of the limited extras included from the simultaneously-released DVD version. For those who like Sandler, this will come as a nice surprise, and those who hate him should seriously see this side to his acting talents. Definite blind-buy material.
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