This attractive Blu-ray showcases another great performance from Bill Murray
St. Vincent Film Review
Bill Murray has always been underrated as an actor and in his latest role the comedy star delivers another wonderfully understated performance.In his new film St. Vincent he plays a misanthropic, bawdy and hedonistic war veteran who befriends a lonely boy that moves in next door. It’s hardly a stretch for Murray and at times the character of Vincent feels like a less comic version of Phil Conners from Groundhog Day. Vincent doesn’t appear to like anyone and spends all his time smoking, drinking, gambling and sleeping with prostitutes. But there are hidden depths to this man and it takes the friendship of a young boy to reveal his true nature.The story is hardly original and often strays into similar territory to About a Boy, with an older man being forced to look after a child and ultimately bonding with him. There’s also more than a little influence from Mr. Holland’s Opus when it comes to the ending, but it does feel like an emotional reward that the film has earned. However it’s Murray’s show all the way and he uses his deadpan delivery to full effect, generating laughs but also real pathos in a role that was written for him.
Blu-ray Picture QualityThe Blu-ray release of St. Vincent presents the film in 1080p/24 high definition at its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 using the AVC codec. The film was shot on 35mm which makes a nice change these days and the transfer does an excellent job of retaining the photography's film-like nature. The film used a 2K digital intermediate which was presumably used as the basis for the transfer and as a result it's pristine with no obvious artefacts.
The Blu-ray benefits from a great transfer that delivers an attractive if low-key picture.
Perhaps due to the fact that St. Vincent was shot on film the colour palette is very natural and despite the deliberately understated production design, the colours are nicely saturated. There's plenty of detail in the image with every pore and wrinkle on Murray's face being very apparent and there's plenty of depth in wider shots. The black levels are also excellent and whilst this isn't quite a reference picture it's pretty damn good for a lower budget feature.
Blu-ray Sound QualityThe Blu-ray of St. Vincent comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack and whilst it's never going to give your audio system a thorough workout it ably supports the narrative. Given the nature of the film itself, it's obviously very dialogue heavy and the soundtrack keeps it nicely anchored to the centre channel. Some of Bill Murray's dialogue is a bit mumbly and Naomi Watts has a fairly hammy Russian accent but neither of these is the fault of the soundtrack.
The soundtrack is dialogue heavy but delivers ambience where necessary.
However when the soundtrack is required to add some atmosphere it does so effectively and with a degree of subtlety. So the scenes at the race track suddenly open up with the sounds of horses and crowds, whilst those in the bar have a nice sense of ambience. Needless to say there won't be much for your subwoofer to do but in terms of enhancing the story the soundtrack does exactly what it's supposed to do and does it well.
Blu-ray ExtrasThe Blu-ray release of St. Vincent includes a single disc, comes in a standard plastic keep case and, aside from the features already mentioned, includes English subtitles for the hard of hearing. In terms of the extras there are only two but they're both quite interesting and, in the case of the Q&A, a treat for Bill Murray fans.
Deleted Scenes (10:21) - These deleted scenes are presented in 1.85:1 high definition and the majority are brief scenes that have been removed for reasons of pace. However there are two key deleted scenes that tie-up earlier plot points and, whilst the film works without them, we can't help feeling they should have been left in.
Bill Murray is St. Vincent: The Patron Saint of Comedy (19:53) - This featurette is presented in high definition and was filmed on 'Bill Murray Day' at the Toronto Film Festival. There was a screening of Ghostbusters followed by a Q&A with Murray and Ivan Reitman and a screening of St. Vincent, followed by a Q&A with Murray, Naomi Watts, Melissa McCarthy, Jaeden Lieberher and writer/director Theodore Melfi. The majority of the questions are unsurprisingly aimed at Murray and he gets the chance to display his laid back character and quick wit. Not essential but certainly fun for fans of Bill Murray.
St. Vincent Blu-ray VerdictThere are similarities between St. Vincent and Lost in Translation, aside from the presence of Murray and an inexperienced writer/director. Both films are funny without being actual comedies and both centre around a man who has lost his way and finds it again thanks to a relationship with a younger person. They also both have great central performances from Bill Murray and that’s reason enough to see the film in anyone’s book. St. Vincent is a gently amusing little picture with a big heart that is certainly worth watching if you get the chance.
A great picture and sound, a few extras and Bill Murray make this disc worth checking out.The Blu-ray release of St. Vincent serves the film well, with a lovely picture and an effective soundtrack that sensibly puts the dialogue front and centre. The film was shot on 35mm and the transfer captures that quality with natural colours and no obvious artefacts. The soundtrack is restrained but that suits the film and it adds atmosphere where necessary such as at the race track. The extras are limited but interesting, with some deleted scenes and a pair of Q&As with Bill Murray and the cast. Ultimately St. Vincent is an enjoyable film and an excellent Blu-ray that is worth tracking down if you're a fan of Bill Murray.
You can buy St. Vincent on Blu-ray here
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