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The Visitor (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=119527&d=1221138895
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

77






Studio and Year: Anchor Bay - 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 104 Minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English uncompressed 5.1 PCM, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Richard Jenkins, Hiam Abbass, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira
Written &Directed by: Tom McCarthy
Music by: Jan A. P. Kaczmarek
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 7, 2008







"Connection is everything"



Film Synopsis:

The Visitor stars Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under) as Walter, a disaffected college professor who has been drifting aimlessly through his life. When, in a chance encounter on a trip into New York, Walter discovers a couple has taken up residence in his apartment in the city, he develops an unexpected and profound connection to them that will change his life forever. As challenges arise for his tenants, Walter finds himself compelled to help his new friends, and rediscovers a passion he thought he had lost long ago.




My Take:

Richard Jenkins is a great character actor whose has been in dozens of films. His face more so than his name is probably familiar to most who enjoy movies. I have never seen him in a leading role and have grown accustomed to seeing him in small but usually central parts. In The visitor we get a chance to see him in a dramatic film that centers around his character Professor Walter Vale. Walter is not a very complex individual but he is someone who has lost touch with his feelings. He is a professor at a university in Connecticut who has written three books about economics (and is working on a fourth) and is a widower. His wife was a concert pianist who released at least one CD. He has reduced his class schedule down to one so he can spend more time working on his latest book. It is clear right from the film's opening scene that Walter is searching for something to put meaning back into his wife. He has been taking piano lessons but has gone through a total of 5 teachers and really doesn't seem to have the aptitude for it. He maintains an apartment in NY City but doesn't go there very often. He doesn't seem to do much of anything and isn't inclined to. He is sent to NY City to lecture on a story that he co-authored and comes to his apartment to find that a couple has been living there (illegally sublet to them) for the last two months. Once he convinces them that the apartment is his they pack up their belongings and leave. He finds a picture they left behind and finds them standing on the street corner a few blocks away. He invites them to stay in the apartment with him until they find another place. Tarek (Sleiman) is a young man who makes a meager living by playing the djembe which is an African had drum that is shaped like a goblet. His girlfriend Zainab (Gurira) sells handmade jewelry at a street market. Walter and Tarek strike up a friendship after Walter expresses an interest in learning how to play the Djembe. Tarek begins giving Walter lessons and soon after convinces him to come and play along with himself and other Djembe players at the park.

After leaving the park Walter and Tarek go into the subway where Tarek is stopped and arrested by the Police after he is suspected of jumping a turnstile. Walter then finds out that both Tarek and Zainab are illegal aliens. Tarek is placed in a local secure facility where proceedings are begun to have him deported. Tarek's mother Mouna (Abbass) comes to the apartment looking for Tarek after not being able to reach him by cell phone. Mouna is also an illegal alien and can't go to the facility to see Tarek. Walter contacts an attorney in the hope of helping Tarek who he has come to think of as his friend. Zainab moved after Tarek's arrest and is staying with her cousin in Brooklyn. Walter convinces Mouna to stay at the apartment pending the outcome of Tarek's situation. There is an unspoken attraction that develops between Mouna and Walter. Walter continues to play the djembe and finds that he has a passion for it that has reignited his creative side. The story's culmination results in everyone having to face trying circumstances that leaves Walter at a crossroads. He can either return to the life he had or begin life anew.

This was an interesting film. I would imagine that all of us know someone like Walter. I could see where it would be easy for a guy in his situation to fall into the rut that he did. This movie points out that life can be full of surprises. He found friendship and inspiration from people who he literally had nothing in common with. It took their plight to rejuvenate his interest in the human spirit which included romance, helping others, and the personal satisfaction that comes from devotion to a craft like playing the Djembe.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for brief strong 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: 72



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 82


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


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

The Visitor comes to Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 mbps and lossless uncompressed PCM 5.1 channel audio that has a constant bitrate of 6.9 mbps.

This is nice looking video presentation that features colors that are naturally pleasing with a conservative palette and bland textures. Skin tones are well delineated with tonal warmth and fairly lifelike quality. Images were rendered with good high definition detail, two dimensional quality and above average depth. Sharpness was inconsistent here and there but never to a point where it became bothersome. Audio quality was fine for the source material and clearly delivered dialogue, music and sounds across the front three channels. There was no discrete surround activity and only limited ambient sounds through the rear channels. This film relied on dialogue almost exclusively so this didn't pose a problem.



Bonus Features:



The bonus content consists of two short features, director's commentary, a few deleted scenes, and the theatrical trailer. The inside look was brief at just 4 minutes and really didn't offer much information about the production and touched on the story, cast, and characters. The 7 minute piece on the Djembe was mildly interesting and contained more cast interviews than the inside look feature. The deleted scenes didn't add anything to the story and were appropriately cut. The audio commentary was the best of the bunch and worth checking out if you liked the film.




  • Audio commentary with Director/Writer Tom McCarthy

  • Playing the Djembe - featurette

  • An inside look at The Visitor featurette

  • 4 deleted scenes with optional commentary featuring Actor Richard Jenkins and Director Tom McCarthy

  • Theatrical trailer




Final Thoughts:



The Visitor is a good film. It is a story about people and how one man took a chance by following his instincts and opened up to a young couple which ultimately changed his life. It comes to Blu-ray high definition from Anchor Bay day and date with DVD and features good audio/video quality with average bonus supplements. It is easily worth the cost of a rental.







attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS1x 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Outlaw Audio Model 7700 seven channel amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 18
Just read from another forum, someone said this was a very good movie. After reading your writing and watch the trailer, I think this movie is interesting to watch, especially on blu-ray.
post #3 of 18
Aye, excellent flick!
post #4 of 18
Very good movie.certainly worth a rental.
post #5 of 18
thought the movie was ok, ultimately it left me wanting more though.
post #6 of 18
This is a great little movie. I saw it on standard DVD. Brilliantly acted and directed.

shane
post #7 of 18
I finally got around to watching The Visitor. I thought that it was intriguing but it left me wanting more, too. Richard Jenkins performance alone makes the film well worth watching, though. Jenkins, as poor, sad, lost, Walter Vale, gives the performance of a lifetime in the role of a lifetime. Much more of the movie is told in Walter's expressions, gestures, and tone of voice than by dialog. The writing and direction by Thomas McCarthy, who also wrote and directed the wonderful, The Station Agent, are brilliant. Most of the film's scenes are short, some only a few seconds long, but each tells us something new that we need to know.

The story, which I won't give away here describes a genuine tragedy, in which there are no heroes or villains, with the exception of a couple of arrogant, hard headed, New York transit cops, whose actions put the rest of the movie in motion. But despite its core of sadness, the movie projects a quiet sense of hope, because we see Walter finally reengaging with the world after a long withdrawal from it.

I agree with Ralph's assessment of the audio and video: the audio was adequate, but little more than that, and the video was in the very good to excellent category.

The Visitor is a beautifully made and thoughtful film, highly recommended.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

I finally got around to watching The Visitor. I thought that it was intriguing but it left me wanting more, too. Richard Jenkins performance alone makes the film well worth watching, though. Jenkins, as poor, sad, lost, Walter Vale, gives the performance of a lifetime in the role of a lifetime. Much more of the movie is told in Walter's expressions, gestures, and tone of voice than by dialog. The writing and direction by Thomas McCarthy, who also wrote and directed the wonderful, The Station Agent, are brilliant. Most of the film's scenes are short, some only a few seconds long, but each tells us something new that we need to know.

The story, which I won't give away here describes a genuine tragedy, in which there are no heroes or villains, with the exception of a couple of arrogant, hard headed, New York transit cops, whose actions put the rest of the movie in motion. But despite its core of sadness, the movie projects a quiet sense of hope, because we see Walter finally reengaging with the world after a long withdrawal from it.

I agree with Ralph's assessment of the audio and video: the audio was adequate, but little more than that, and the video was in the very good to excellent category.

The Visitor is a beautifully made and thoughtful film, highly recommended.

Greetings,

gwsat, thanks for sharing your impressions of The Visitor...

Regards,
post #9 of 18
We enjoyed this one very much. Amazing acting, much of it without words. It didn't leave me wanting more at all. Although the story seems unresolved on the surface, the main theme (involving Walter's emergence from his self-imposed emotional exile) is brought home quite convincingly.

And it very much made me miss having lunch in Washington Square Park listening to some of the most brilliant performers in NYC.
post #10 of 18
I watched this movie last night and I loved it!

Wow, great actors, great story, and the setting in NY was perfect. [IMG]http://z09a0222gshv273.imageshacknow.info/img/3044************************[/IMG]
post #11 of 18
I had mixed feelings about this film. The acting was top notch, especially the main character.

I felt the film tried to generate symathy for the young characters. Why? Because they got caught for being illegal aliens!

It looks like the young couple got ripped off being rented an apartment that the landlord had no right renting, but they continued to feed off the trough of a lonely guy when offered.

The main character got two benefits from the relationship. A new outlook on life, and a quick night in the sack with the mother of the illegal kid. He would likely have paid more cash than he invested in the young couple for a hooker and a series of visits with a phychaitrist, so he ultimately came out ok.

I was uncomfortable with the notion that stand up citizens are likely lonely and detached from their emotions, making them good willing targets for hustlers.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Gilvey View Post

We enjoyed this one very much. Amazing acting, much of it without words. It didn't leave me wanting more at all. Although the story seems unresolved on the surface, the main theme (involving Walter's emergence from his self-imposed emotional exile) is brought home quite convincingly.

And it very much made me miss having lunch in Washington Square Park listening to some of the most brilliant performers in NYC.

The Visitor didn't leave me wanting more, either. I did enjoy the film, though, probably more after I had a chance to reflect than immediately after it ended. Its most appealing aspect was Richard Jenkins' sensitive portrayal of an emotionally stunted man who in the course of the film learns a number of beneficial things about himself as a result of his own generosity.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

Its most appealing aspect was Richard Jenkins' sensitive portrayal of an emotionally stunted man who in the course of the film learns a number of beneficial things about himself as a result of his own generosity.

Agreed. Some truly funny moments, also, which he brought off so well.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Greetings,

Gentlemen, I absolutely agree..


Regards,
post #15 of 18
Late review here, but I absolutely loved this movie. I gave it 5 stars on Netflix and I've probably given less than 10 of those since I've been a member. I put this in my queue so long ago that I had no idea what I was about to watch, which made it all that much more of a treat. Excellent acting & great story of unlikely friendships. Many ranges of emotion while watching this film. As a side note......I've personally played guitar for years, but the fact that I just took up drums a couple months ago added an additional attachment to the movie. Regarding the video quality, I agree that focus was off in some scenes, but the detail on Walter's rough facial complexion was amazing.
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad T View Post

Late review here, but I absolutely loved this movie. I gave it 5 stars on Netflix and I've probably given less than 10 of those since I've been a member. I put this in my queue so long ago that I had no idea what I was about to watch, which made it all that much more of a treat. Excellent acting & great story of unlikely friendships. Many ranges of emotion while watching this film. As a side note......I've personally played guitar for years, but the fact that I just took up drums a couple months ago added an additional attachment to the movie. Regarding the video quality, I agree that focus was off in some scenes, but the detail on Walter's rough facial complexion was amazing.

Greetings,

Thanks for sharing Chad and I am glad that you enjoyed this excellent film.


Regards,
post #17 of 18
I really enjoyed this film and so did my wife. Excellent acting, and a very touching film. We need more movies like this

(And don't get me wrong, I like a good action/superhero movie as much as the next guy, but I want to see more films like this (including more indies and documentaries) on Blu-Ray.
post #18 of 18
I saw this film a while back, and really loved it. I agree with Gswat that Richard Jenkins' performance was excellent. I love little gems like this.
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