Suntan Blu-ray Review
Acting (half) your age
Suntan is a curiously compelling tragi-comic Greek coming-of-middle-age drama.Painfully tragic, it charts the tale of local doctor Kostis, who takes a job on a small island where the winters are lonely but the the summers see a plethora of hedonistic youths arrive to party 24/7. After a chance encounter, he insinuates himself into a group of young boys and girls who spend their days at the local nudist beach and their nights partying, growing attached to the free-spirited Anna, who initially welcomes the attention. Kostis's increasing obsession, however, gradually smothers his job; his health and his life, as he refuses to come to terms with the ludicrousness of his quest to be a part of the life of someone half his age.Makis Papadimitriou is utterly convincing in the lead, captivated by the stunning Elli Tringou, and the unabashed focus on Greek island beauty and young free love is used as a prescient counterpoint to the inevitable effects of age, just as the seasonal dead-in-winter island's coming to life only in summer perfectly reflects the lead character's fleeting spark of life in his seemingly lifeless middle age. Greek filmmaker Argyris Papadimitropoulos' slow-burning drama is a well-acted, well-constructed, and thoroughly believable look at mid-life crisis, given a flavour of coming-of-(middle)age in amidst its ultimately sad, tragic drama.
Picture QualityA strong visual presentation
Suntan comes to UK Region B-locked Blu-ray courtesy of Eureka, who deliver a strong 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen. With some striking, scenic shots of the gorgeous Greek scenery, from the skies to the seas; from the beaches to the bodies, the detail is generally excellent, with a forgivable hint of softness around the edges, but a mostly precise, well-nuanced image. Skin textures, hair, and background touches are given room to breathe, and the colour scheme affords the image a suitably sun-drenched look, faded around the edges, but strong for the most part, and retaining the gorgeously tanned young bodies as the focal point at all times. Black levels aren't the presentation's strongest point, but it's still a very good rendition, with little to complain about and much to enjoy.
Sound QualityAn equally solid aural presentation
The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is also a solid affair, promoting the predominantly Greek dialogue (with large swathes of English) front and centre, with clarity and precision, whilst effects remains largely relegated to covering the atmospheric flourishes; picking up on the parties, beach-bustle, and traffic noises. The surrounds don't get an exceptional amount of use, but the clubbing does change that up a bit, and there are several more heady sequences where the sound becomes engulfing. The moody score plays around in the background, giving the film a further edge, and overall it's a solid, but unexceptional, aural presentation.
ExtrasEureka deliver up a nice selection of extra features headlined by a half-hour Interview with the director, who talks about his ideas for the film, the casting, and the largely improvised script, as well as the location and filming. This is followed up by a quarter-hour Making-of which has plenty of on-set shooting, and further snippets into the production. There are a quintet of short largely inconsequential Deleted Scenes (one of which may have been a possible alternate ending), and the disc is rounded off by a Theatrical Trailer.
Blu-ray VerdictA well-acted, well-constructed, and thoroughly believable look at mid-life crisis
Eureka's release of Suntan delivers a strong Region B-locked disc with solid video and audio and a decent selection of extra features. The film's a little different, and worth exploring if you like the sound of it.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
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