‘The Rum Diary’ staggers on to American Region A locked Blu-ray with an unappealing looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
Apparently the film was shot on Super 16 and this would account for the grainy look of the interiors. The movie has a very ‘in yer face’ feel to it, no doubt due to the proximity of the camera to the actors and it conveys a feeling of claustrophobia. The interiors also have a murky look that delivers a seedy, run down feeling. On the exteriors, we get bright, rich colours with vibrant blue skies. Contrast is healthy and we do get deep blacks in the night shots. The transfer does not have the sharpness or detail that I’ve come to associate with the High Def format. There’s just something missing – and I’d put it down to the lack of use of 35mm as the origination medium.
In short, like the movie itself, I wasn’t impressed by the picture quality.
The audio on ‘The Rum Diary’ comes in the DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround flavour and it delivers crisp, clear dialogue from the front centre channel, while the main stereo pair come alive with the rather pleasant score. Indeed the wide front soundstage, adds much needed airiness which provides relief from the claustrophobic images.
There were one or two surround moments, such as when a bowling ball smashes several bottles of rum in a bowling alley. The shattering glass fills the room and there’s enough oomph in bass to make it feel real. When Sanderson and his team visit the island, the Naval gunfire has a solidity that adds threat and the explosions are discretely placed around the listening area. It’s not a blockbuster movie soundtrack, but it has its moments.
A Voice Made of Ink and Rage: Inside ‘The Rum Diary’ (HD, 13 mins) - This promo has Johnny Depp explaining his desire to make the film and we hear of his friendship with Hunter S.Thompson. The cast, crew and director chip in with their liking for Mr Depp and the story.
‘The Rum Diary’ Back Story (SD, 46 mins) - Hunter S.Thompson himself tells us of his life, career and writing in very unclear speech that may well be the effect of alcohol. At one point subtitles are used. I stuck with it for as long as I could, but found it hard going.
Johnny Depp’s pet project ‘The Rum Diary’ staggers on to American Region A locked Blu-ray with a visually unappealing 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Interiors are murky and grainy due to the Super 16 origination format, while exteriors are bright with vibrant colours.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix delivers crisp, clear dialogue while the main stereo pair come alive with the music score. There are a few standout surround moments that make it worth a listen.
A promo piece and a look at writer Hunter S.Thompson make up the extras.
As a movie, it’s the semi autobiographical, meandering tale of writer Paul Kemp (Depp) who arrives in Puerto Rico to work on the local rag, but gets involved with a rich entrepreneur and his girlfriend. It just doesn’t ever get off the ground and is over long by about 100 minutes.
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