The Salesman Blu-ray Review
Death of a...
Asghar Farhadi's latest is another exquisitely crafted drama which details real-life horrors, and trades in honest emotions.After The Past and A Separation, there should be little doubt of Farhadi's status as one of the world's leading filmmakers, capable of taking seemingly mundane - or at least relatively normal - narratives and interweaving such a degree of authenticity that it often feels like you're watching real life unfold. His latest feature ups the ante as a couple move when their old apartment block is demolished, finding a new flat which seems too good to be true, and turns out to be just that.Set against the backdrop of playwright Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman - which both offers some tangential parallels to the main narrative, and is the play that the main characters are rehearsing - The Salesman is a worthy addition to Farhadi's collection, with the writer/director not only delivering on the script front, but also eliciting some fabulous performances in front of the camera. His is a very unique, organic style, which has no pretentiousness about it; a refreshing trait these days.
Picture QualityThe Salesman reaches UK shores on a Region B-locked disc courtesy of Curzon, promoted with a strong and richly textured 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation of the digitally shot source footage, framed in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen.
Despite not having an expansive budget, the image is still visually rich, lapping up the nuances of the dilapidated opening residential block - the cracked windows and walls - and all of the work that needs to make the new flat inhabitable; whilst further offering interest in the details of the stage upon which the play is taking place, complete with neon signs framed above the stage.
A very nice looking video presentation
The colour scheme is also rich, despite a lack of striking primaries, with the grey and brown dominated palette well represented, and skin tones healthy and natural. Black levels are strong and deep, allowing for impressive shadow detail and overall it's a very nice looking presentation.
Audio QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is also a strong affair, promoting the Farsi dialogue - which is the dominant element in the proceedings - with clarity and aplomb, taking precedence across the frontal array.
Far from a bombastic offering, the track offers up little more significant engagement, although natural features of the environment are brought to the fore in a very authentic fashion - right from the opening scene, which makes you feel like you're going through a minor earthquake.
A strong audio effort
The score is largely minimalist, with some more sweeping moments to engage with your emotions, and overall every aspect of the audio is presented accurately and respectfully. Even though it may not win any demo awards, it's a strong effort.
It should be noted that the film defaults to LPCM 2.0.
ExtrasA small but interesting selection of extras
A trio of extras adorn the disc, including an excellent little quarter hour French Making of Featurette/Interview which looks at the production and process, featuring extensive interviews with the writer/director himself talking about working his magic. There's also a quarter hour Trafalgar Square Featurette which looks at some of the off-screen controversy surrounding Donald Trump's executive orders, which would have otherwise left Farhadi banned from the Oscars. It's a small but interesting selection of extras, and the disc is rounded off by the Theatrical Trailer.
Ultra HD Blu-ray VerdictIf you've yet to discover the power of Farhadi's work, then now's the time
The works of Asghar Farhadi are powerful and unmissable. He is one of the greatest writer/directors currently working, and his latest, The Salesman, is a fine addition to his impressive body of work.
This Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release boasts excellent video and audio and a nice selection of extra features. If you enjoy the works of Farhadi, it's a must-have release, and if you've yet to discover the power of his work, then now's surely the time.
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