The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 102 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Paul Dano, Julianne Moore, Olivia Thirlby, Wes Studi, Lili Taylor
Written & Directed by: Paul Weitz
Music by: Badly Drawn Boy
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 10, 2012
Academy Award winner Robert De Niro, Paul Dano and Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore give powerhouse performances in this compelling exploration of the unbreakable yet fragile bonds between parent and child, written and directed by Paul Weitz (About a Boy). Nick Flynn (Dano) is a young writer seeking to define himself. His father Jonathan (De Niro), however, scrapes through life on his own terms and has not seen his son in 18 years. Taking a job at a homeless shelter, Nick finds purpose in his own life and work until one night Jonathan arrives seeking a bed. To give the two of them a shot at a real future, Nick wrestles with the notion of reaching out to his dad
Based on Nick Flynn’s 2004 memoir “Another ******** night in suck city” Being Flynn, is an exploration of familial dysfunction that zeros in on a father/son that reconnect after an 18 year absence. Nick’s childhood was far from idyllic. His mother did the best she could as a single parent although the parade of men that came in and out of Nick’s life when he was growing up hardly provided him with a father figure/role model. All he knew of his real father back then was that he had spent some time in prison and was an expert at disappointing him. Now an adult, Nick is clearly the product of a dysfunctional familial upbringing and after a recent personal tragedy is looking for a fresh start in a new apartment (complete with roommates), a new job at a local homeless shelter and the hope in a new found relationship with Denise. Things quickly unravel when he receives an out of the blue call from his father Jonathan who is looking for his help. The reunion is far from a tearful one.
Jonathan is a self proclaimed author/critical thinker who’s behavior would be described as eccentric to say the least. His recent eviction has left him without a place to stay which ultimately affects his job driving a cab on the nightshift. Drawn by feelings of obligation and childhood longing Paul reluctantly allows Jonathan into his life. Unfortunately for both men the outcome serves as a cause and effect scenario that fractures their already fragile lives. What they must discover together is can they truly build a foundation as father and son or just move on?
I found this to be an interesting character study played expertly by Robert DeNiro. Jonathan is a pretty unlikable guy who remains empathetic as seen through the eyes of Nick who struggles to find some common ground between them. The film paints a vivid portrait of emotional truths and homelessness via an unsentimentally cascading “slice of life” storyline that sometimes has an abstractness that feels displaced. Nevertheless I was drawn in by the gritty text and darkly conveyed theme that pulled few punches. Hands down this is Robert De Niro’s best performance in quite some time as his earthy portrayal of Jonathan stabilizes the narrative’s context. Paul Dano is equally deserving of praise as is Olivia Thirlby’s supporting turn as “Denise”. Julianne Moore’s limited and less effectual role in the part of Nick’s mother was more window dressing than anything else.
Being Flynn is a morose dramatic expose that ultimately proves rewarding provided you can hang on to the meaning found in it. I enjoyed it for what it was and reveled in the sterling performance by Robert De Niro who proved that he still has what it takes to engage the audience.
The rating is for language, some sexual content, drug use and brief nudity.
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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Being Flynn comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.
This video presentation offers little in the way of high Gloss, razor sharp imagery but it seems to represent the film’s elements well. Primary colors appear satisfying while the film intentionally maintains a cooler overall palette that works well against the drab settings featured in the story. Complexions are texturally descriptive with lifelike tonality that varies only slightly among the cast. Resolution is very good although the film’s inherently softer elements leave some wide angle shots with smoother lines and average delineation. Close ups and mid level shots are more revealing of the resolvable detail that draws out subtle textures in the people and objects within the frame. Contrast is on the money and blacks are stable but not overly dynamic in appearance. This wasn’t really a problem as there were few scenes that utilized low level material where this was consistently apparent. I saw no overt signs of video anomalies or compression related artifacts and thought this appeared to be a pristine quality encoding.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack had no trouble rendering clear and well articulated dialogue. Sound effects had notable dynamic energy so that they sounded full bodied and aurally satisfying. This is not a film that requires heavy use of surround sound to deliver its message but it does rely on the entire soundstage for proper atmosphere and low frequency detail from time to time. The mix excels at creating the right sounds at the right levels and placing them appropriately in the sound field’s acoustic environment. Low frequency effects are used to deliver deep impact when called for and to add solidity to the film’s music. I thought it sounded great.
- (HD) The heart of Being Flynn – 6 minute featurette
- My scenes bookmark feature
- BD-Live enabled
- pocket BLU
Based on Nick Flynn’s 2004 memoir “Another ******** night in suck city” Being Flynn, is an exploration of familial dysfunction that zeros in on a father/son that reconnect after an 18 year absence. It is a morose dramatic expose that ultimately proves rewarding provided you can hang on to the meaning found in it. I enjoyed it and reveled in the sterling performance by Robert De Niro who proved that he still has what it takes to engage the audience. It makes its way to Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment in a technically satisfying offering that suffers from a diminutive supplemental package. Be that as it may Being Flynn is worth checking out so toss it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.
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