The Double Blu-ray Review
The Double comes to US Region A-locked Blu-ray complete with an excellent 1080p High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original limited-release theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen. Detail is excellent throughout, and it’s a mark of the professional capabilities of the cinematographer that, in spite of its restrictive budget, the film still looks this good. Clarity is resounding, with skin detail revealing the lines and wrinkles on Gere’s face, hair strands, and fine object detail, yet showcasing no signs of any overt digital manipulation: there’s no edge enhancement, no digital defects and no distracting DNR issues. The colour scheme generally looks good, with even the intentionally aged flashback sequences looking impressive, despite the fact that the actors don’t look any younger! Blacks are strong and deep, allowing for excellent shadowing and a fine sheen appears to have been applied to the piece to give it a more filmic look. Overall it’s a great, demo quality job that is arguably better than the movie deserves.
The accompanying lossless DTS-HD Master Audio track is similarly impressive, providing us with a frequently immersive, occasionally all-engulfing soundscape which presents all the sounds well – from small and subtle to boisterous and bombastic. The smaller dialogue-dominated sequences not only present the words across the frontal array with the utmost clarity (even Gere’s commonly more restrained speech) but also pick up on some great atmospheric touches; from background street noises to whirring computers. The surrounds get something to do for almost the entire proceedings, and whilst there’s nothing particularly explosive on offer, the combat sequences still boast a suitable punch and a healthy dose of bass permeates the piece. The score, whilst not exactly memorable, still works well to enhance the piece, setting the tone and mood from one scene to the next. Overall it’s a great audio track which, whilst limited by the material, still does an exceptional job at presenting it.
Whilst not boasting a huge set of extras, the ones that do come with this package are both interesting and informative, indicating a very personal input into this production. It’s just a shame that the creators weren’t given more resources to play with to make it a more refined end product.
Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Michael Brandt and Writer/Producer Derk Haas. This full-length discussion offers up plenty of background information into the project, right from its inception, through the medium-budget studio plans which fell through when the studio got into trouble, to the personal stake that the duo had in seeing it through to completion. It’s almost a tragic tale because you can hear how personal this project was, and, to a certain extent, the Commentary does make you see the film in a different light – you realise that it really was a prime example of doing the best with what little we had. Along with details on the changes made in the editing process, comparisons with the original script and the final shoot, and a few anecdotal background titbits this is well worth a listen.
Although labelled on the back cover as a Featurette, the disc menu details that this is actually a set of Producer Interviews, totalling almost 8 minutes of chats with various core contributors that stretch beyond the writer/producer/director team of Brandt and Haas and actually include both Richard Gere and Topher Grace. Whilst running a bit on the short side, there is plenty more information to be gleaned here, further elaborating on the twists-and-turns plot and exploring the character motivations along the way.
The disc is finally rounded off by the original Theatrical Trailer; this is the same one which caused a spark of minor internet furore about the purported spoilers therein. The reality is that the movie is probably better seen without the knowledge divulged in this promo, but the damage done is far from fatal.
Despite an intriguing premise, a whole flurry of unexpected twists and turns, some surprisingly-considering-the-budget cinematography by acclaimed DOP Jeffrey Kimble, and the ever-reliable presence of Richard Gere, The Double remains a fairly limited low-budget piece which probably didn’t even deserve the limited theatrical release that it had. If you had seen this at the cinema then you would have been disappointed, but taken as a straight-to-home-video release, it’s up there with the best of them and is sure to prove entertaining for its relatively short runtime.
On Region A-locked US Blu-ray we get spectacular presentation – both video and audio – as well as a welcome selection of interesting and informative extras that should please fans considerably; it's a great package. If you’re a Richard Gere fan then this is certainly worth a watch, and if you fancy something a little different, and a little unpredictable – even if it’s not as refined as the majority of movies out there – then this could make for a halfway decent weekend rental. It’s not a bad movie, it just needs a forgiving frame of mind.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £18.58
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