The International Blu-ray Review
'The International' arrives on region free UK Blu-ray with a near reference quality 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer that's framed handsomely at 2.40:1.
The colour has been deliberately slightly desaturated to lend to the gritty feel of the piece, while the detail of Clive Owen's stubble and indeed skin pores come in for scrutiny in the close ups. We have an amazingly sharp image, yet there's no hint of ringing. We also have a generally smooth image and no tell tale signs of DNR having been applied. It can be done.
The contrast is excellent throughout with good, solid blacks. This is a very impressive transfer throughout and to find fault would simply be to nitpick, so let's just enjoy it.
The audio on 'The International' is of the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround variety and it's very good indeed. While the dialogue is clear and crisp via the centre channel, the carnage of the Guggenheim shootout just has to be heard to be believed. You are there in the thick of the action as bullets careen around you and glass shatters by your right ear. This sequence will no doubt be gracing the comfy environs of Listening Rooms across the land. The use of the bass extension is not overdone, but where it is used it's to great effect. The music, as you would expect, is not of the cheerful melodic variety but its ominous notes are respectfully reproduced by the main stereo pair. Who could ask for more?
- Audio Commentary
Here we have an interesting, articulate conversation between Director Tom Tykwer and screenwriter Eric Warren Singer that covers, among other things, the film's beginnings, the influence of a range of '70s movies upon the production, and how they attempted to find the correct look for the piece. It's clear there's mutual respect going on between the two, although they explain their relationship was not always so smooth at various points during production. Well worth a listen.
- Making 'The International' (HD, 30 minutes)
This is a nice, chunky production doco made interesting due to some detailed input from Director Tykwer and great behind-the-scenes and on-set footage. Stars Owen and Watts break down their respective roles while we also hear about costume design and location scouting from those responsible. Happily, a large section is devoted to the centrepiece Guggenheim shootout scene and we see how the museum's interior was meticulously recreated. We also get to see the challenges facing the crew as they shoot a sequence in a congested Istanbul bazaar.
- Shooting at the Guggenheim (SD, 6 minutes)
This short features the building of the Guggenheim set in an old locomotive warehouse. The construction staff who built the structure explain the problems they faced with the materials utilized to make it appear realistic. Time-lapse photography is used to concertina the timeline of construction.
- The Architecture of 'The International' (HD, 6 minutes)
We hear from Uli Hanisch, the film's production designer, about the contrasting of traditional and modern architecture in the film, and how the buildings are seen as invisible characters in the drama. The stated aim was to create a 'Brave New World' atmosphere with each city being given a distinctive colour to set it apart from others. Most audiences wouldn't even realise this had gone on.
- The Autostadt (HD, 5 minutes)
This short explains that while no film company had previously been allowed to shoot inside the massive Volkswagen headquarters, Director Tykwer got permission, and we hear how it occurred.
- Extended Scene: "Salinger and Whitman" (HD, 11 minutes)
This is an elongated scene feature an intimate moment between Owen and Watts that lends the story some sexual tension that's missing in the final film. We also get a conversation between Salinger and his grown up daughter (who is not seen in the final film) that gives us some background to Salinger's personal life. This would have added some useful character development if it had been left in.
- Theatrical Trailers (HD, total 12 mins)
We have trailers for 'Angels & Demons', 'Taking of Pelham 123', 'Fired Up', '2012', 'Year One' and 'Ghostbusters'.
'The International' crashes on to UK Blu-ray with a stunning 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed at 2.40:1. It has an image that will be remembered for its great clarity, sharpness and overall good looks.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround mix is as good as the picture with clear, crisp dialogue from the centre channels while bullets thud and glass shatters convincingly on the surrounds.
The story requires some concentration but the audience is rewarded with a three course meal rather than a snack. Then there's that fantastic shootout in the Guggenheim Museum with Clive Owen proving that he'd make a great Bond.
A fine array of extras make up a well rounded package that will please fans of a good story, well told by experienced storytellers.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.
- Audio Commentary