The Brothers Bloom arrives on Blu-ray with a theatrically correct 1080p 2.39:1 transfer and the old fashioned nature of the project even extends to the transfer which is pleasingly cinematic.
This may seem like rather a strange comment to make but in these days of digital transfers, this is perhaps one of the closest experiences to watching a film in the cinema I have had, and I mean that as a complement. The issue here is grain – and how it affects the image. The filmmakers and whoever authored this transfer are not afraid of it, and it adds a beautifully natural sheen to this transfer. Don’t get me wrong, the grain is light but it is there and it makes the film wonderfully organic.
This is not the only positive though. Colours are vibrant and bright all the way through the transfer. Just look at the yellow on Penelope’s Ferrari for an example, or the scudding clouds behind Bloom as he sails over the car for the first time. The image is wonderfully sharp, and the depth of field is immense. There is plenty of that 3D pop here.
The level of detail is also superb. Look at the back of the playing cards, all the detail showing, every crease in the cards. Blacks are inky and deep and shadow detail is also great. The night-time Bolero, for example, is challenging – dark lounge suit against black sky is always going to be difficult but this transfer has no problem whatsoever.
You know me by now – I have to find a negative. And here, it is that there is a visible softness in one or two of the scenes that really does let down the overall transfer. But these are few and far between – overall this is an excellent picture.
Again, a surprisingly decent soundtrack is included here in the shape of a DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. The front separation is actually one of the widest I’ve hears, and really opens up the action. The dialogue is always clear and precise, and anchored well to the centre speaker.
The music soundtrack is very very clear, with a wide dynamic range and it fills the whole sound stage. The surrounds are used sparingly, but when they do kick in they underpin the action well. Distant thunder, pouring rain, the waves on the sea – all fill the scene behind the listener to excellent effect. If the surrounds saw more action and were more vibrant this would be a near perfect mix – but as it is, this is still worth a high mark.
There may not be a massive amount of extras here – but what is included is excellent. Firstly, we get a very entertaining commentary by the director and producer. I am not always the biggest fan of chat tracks but this one is excellent. Johnson provides a particularly entertaining companion – providing much insight without being dry. He talks about virtually every aspect of the production, and process to be very illuminating.
From Sketch to Storyboard is a little dry, comparing Johnson’s original sketches to the final storyboards for a few key scenes, but much better is In Bloom : Behind the Scenes, a 15 minute behind the scenes documentary that is completely free of the usual platitudes from actors about each other. Instead this provides some really interesting behind the scenes footage. Finally, we get 32 minutes of deleted scenes and a short image gallery
One of the joys of being a film reviewer is that just occasionally a film crops up that you would never normally watch, and turns out to be a really enjoyable experience. The Brothers Bloom is one such film and it is refreshing that there is still a market for such fare. It may not light fires under the movie industry, or feature stunning OSCAR winning acting – but it does feature a good, entertaining story, decent writing, and solid performances.
The disc itself is presented with well above average video and audio and a solid, if hardly expansive selection of extras.
The bottom line is, if you have any interest in this genre at all then this is a must purchase. Even if this type of film is not usually your cup of tea – I can still highly recommend this disc as a purchase. If you’re still unsure then rent it first – but do make an effort to see it. It is an undiscovered gem.
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