Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.35:1, 1080p transfer and is Region locked to B.
Shot digitally the picture is clean clear and bright with plenty of detail on show, from skin texture to clothing weaves, from the bottles in the bar at Friendsy’s to the landscape of the beach; all hold clear edges without the need for digital enhancement.
Colours are well handled with all the primaries being bold and strong, even if the palette is slightly muted; reds are still suitably vibrant, blues remain clear and greens are nicely lush – most of which are best shown in the wide landscapes during the road trip.
Contrast and brightness are set to give decent blacks, though the film seldom uses them fully, the night-time scenes show up good shadow detail and there is a reasonable amount of depth to the picture. Detail is not lost with either clipping whites or crushed blacks, though during the riot the picture in the car does git a little noisy, but nothing to be concerned about.
Digitally there are no compression problems, no edge enhancement or posterization problems – on the whole this is a very pleasing picture, it never ‘wows’ but there is nothing to complain about.
There are two tracks to choose from, English PCM 2.0 (which the disc defaults to) and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround – I concentrate on the latter. Much like the picture the surround track is very capable being clean and clear with some nice bass when needed and though it lacks the sparkle of reference it does sound very natural. Dialogue is clear and precise dominated by the frontal array but given some wee directionality when needed and sounds very natural. Front separation is pretty limited as are stereo effects, but this is not the kind of film to use such things, though simple effects, such as car drive-bys, work very well. The surrounds are used mainly to add ambience to the proceedings, such as in Friendsy’s or at the beach or during the riot, and when used the effect is very good, but this is not a deep surround experience, it’s not that type of film. Bass is fairly limited but always used to good effect, the number of LF effects can be counted on one hand but they are nice and deep and well integrated into the mix. The score make full use of the speakers and is dynamically the best portion of the track. Imparting its information very well and some nice, but subtle effects, mean this track is a very decent listen.
- Outtakes – At eight minutes this is the longest extra feature; has the usual amount of fluffs and gaffs though does include different takes on particular lines, not especially funny but ok.
- A Look inside Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – EPK fluff padding out its four minute runtime with film clips, the occasional sound bite from the cast is wasted.
- Music for the End of the World: What's on your playlist – Following on from the above feature and even including many of the same sound bites the cast and director tell you of their favourite song to play at the end of the world.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a bitter sweet romantic comedy about two lost souls finding each other against the back drop of a huge meteor impact that is set to wipe out all life on the planet. Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley play the hapless couple that meet, fall in love and get to spend eternity together all in the space of three weeks while the rest of the world descends into chaos. First time director (and writer) Lorene Scafaria gets the very best out of her leads who both give remarkably good performances (especially Knightley) in what amounts to a very tender and charming film. The film does suffer through various tonal shifts and the middle portion of the film does meander slightly, but Scafaria knows exactly the story that needs to be told, life itself is a chequered path and even more so when the end is in view, thus as our protagonists travel the last mile of their lives there are bound to be ups and downs. But what really pushes this film above and beyond is the final act, where sacrifice and recognition emote feelings that transcend the fate of the planet. It is moving and absorbing and one that I hope gains a few more fans in time.
As a Blu-ray release StudioCanal has an ok package, the picture is clean bright and detailed, the sound just as much so, but the extras package is rather weak. However it is very cheap to pick up and will win you plenty of brownie points with the one you love.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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