In Darkness (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 2 Old 06-11-2012, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: 395271

Extras: 395280

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Sony Pictures Classics- 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 143 Minutes
Genre: Drama/War

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): Polish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English, English
Starring: Robert Wieckiewicz, Benno Fürmann and Agnieszka Grochowska
Directed by: Agnieszka Holland
Music by: Antoni Lazarkiewicz
Written by: Robert Marshall (book), David F. Shamoon
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 12, 2012

"From The Director of "Europa Europa".

Film Synopsis:

From acclaimed director Agnieszka Holland, In Darkness is based on a true story of one man's rescue of Jewish refugees in the Nazi-occupied Polish city of Lvov.

My Take:

In Darkness is the story of Leopold Soha, sewer worker and thief living in WWII Nazi occupied Poland, and the group a jews that he helps hide in the sewers for over a year. At first it is a business decision, as he takes money to help them. Soon he begins to care for the group he is helping and it becomes a different mission for him.

In Darkness is a tough and dark film. There is no fun to be had with this subject matter, and though technically gorgeous to look at, the horror of knowing this really happened, and was most likely much worse than any movie could ever recreate, makes it that much harder to find any enjoyment in. The key to a microscopic look into what these people had to deal with is connecting with the characters, and I was not sold on the movies ability to make that connection. However, it was interesting that some of the characters were not likable at all, yet we root their survival on. This left me with with only being able to connect with the horror of the situation, which was just not enough to rank this with the best of the films dealing with the Holocaust. The movie is based on a true story, and a miraculous one indeed. I don't feel director Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa) captured the fear and suspense that hiding underground while trying to outsmart the Nazis for you life must have had.

Parental Guide:

Violence, disturbing images, sexuality, nudity and language

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 90

  • Dynamics: 395274

  • Low frequency extension: 395273

  • Surround Sound presentation: 395274

  • Clarity/Detail: 395274

  • Dialogue Reproduction: 395274

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Video: 96

  • Resolution/Clarity: 395275

  • Black level/Shadow detail: 395275

  • Color reproduction: 395274

  • Fleshtones: 395274

  • Compression: 395275

In Darkness comes to Blu-ray disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26.1 mbps DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless surround sound that has a average bitrate of 3.6 mbps.

In Darkness is a stunning Blu-ray with incredible contrast, the deepest of black level and phenomenal shadow detail. Though captured in digital, Cinematographer
Jolanta Dylewska delivers a filmic look. He and director Agnieszka Holland do an amazing job keeping the lightning of the sewer scenes looking dark and preserving details with just a small and realistic amount of ambient light. Above ground details in daylight scenes are equally impressive and colors do pop when not the cold gray tones underneath.

The Polish DTS-HD MA track was superb with an accurate use of surround channels that enhanced the sounds of the sewer. Gunfire and screams can be heard from above ground, sounding what I perceived as incredibly accurate. The movie's music played with a wide stereo spread adding scope to the already panoramic audio design. This is a very impressive track indeed.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) An Evening with Director Agnieszka Holland (30m)

  • (HD) In Light: A Conversation with Agnieszka Holland and Krystyna Chiger (28m)

  • (HD) Theatrical Trailer

  • (HD) Previews: Footnote, Damsels in Distress, Darling Companion, A Separation, Where do we go now?

Final Thoughts:

In Darkness is a tough film on a tough subject. It is hard to critique a movie on a storytelling level that is showing the real horror people had to live through, but I did find the character development of the 12 Jews in hiding to be a bit weaker than I was yearning for, and the fear and suspense of the situation lacking. Technically this sure is a phenomenal Blu-ray, with incredible black levels and shadow detail, and an amazing soundtrack. I do suggest a viewing but would make it a rental


Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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Screen Innovations Solar HD 1.3 120" 2.40:1 CinemaScope Screen
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M&K S-150T Tri-Pole Surrounds
M&K MX-350MKII Subwoofer

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post #2 of 2 Old 06-12-2012, 03:17 AM
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Thanks Lee. smile.gif

I enjoyed this one more than you did but agree on the tough subject matter.


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