The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Anchor Bay Films - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 105 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: VC-1 (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English PCM 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Micheal Douglas, Jesse Metcalfe, Amber Tamblyn
Directed by: Peter Hyams
Music by: David Shire
Written by: Peter Hyams (screenplay), Douglas Morrow (1956 screenplay)
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 22, 2009
"Why would a man frame himself...for murder?"
High profile lawyer, Martin Hunter (Michael Douglas) has an impeccable record putting criminals behind bars and is a shoo-in for governor in the upcoming election. But when ambitious rookie journalist, C.J. Nicholas (Jesse Metcalfe) begins investigating Hunter for tampering with evidence to secure his convictions, the district attorney’s perfect record is up for scrutiny. Commencing a risky game of cat and mouse with Hunter, C.J. frames himself as a murder suspect to catch the corrupt D.A. in the act. Romantically involved with C.J. but unaware of his assignment, Assistant D.A. Ella (Amber Tamblyn) becomes caught between her boss’s political ambitions and C.J.’s dangerous expose. As mounting evidence stacks up against both men, Ella’s own life becomes threatened as she discovers incriminating proof that puts the fate of both Nichol’s innocence and Hunter’s reputation in her hands.
I knew something was rotten in Denmark when I received a movie I had not heard of written and directed by Peter Hyams (2010, Outland and one of my favorites, Running Scared) based on a 1956 Fritz Lang (M, Metropolis) film and starring Michael Douglas. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt looked reasonably decent, I liked the description on the case, and Anchor Bay usually puts out good looking Blu-ray’s. So, I was interested. This turned out to be a squandered opportunity and is one of those straight to video movies you catch at 2AM on Showtime; you enjoy it but never think of again. As always, Michael Douglas did a fine job. Douglas plays D.A. Martin Hunter, the dirty D.A. who will do anything to further his career--but there just was not enough of him on screen. That left us with Jesse Metcalfe in the lead role of investigative reporter C.J. Nicholas. Metcalfe couldn't command the attention needed to hold this bland script together. I did enjoy Amber Tamblyn as the assistant D.A. who is caught between her love for C.J. and her job. The problem with Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is the script not the plot. The idea of framing yourself for a murder you did not commit, all to prove that the D.A. is planting last minute DNA evidence was interesting and had potential. Too bad Hyams's script was full of convenient plot devices, forced dialogue and no real sense of urgency. There are holes in this script that I'm just not able to forgive.
Rated PG-13 for a sex scene, violence and 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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt comes to Bluray Disc from Anchor Bay featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 16.5 mbps and Uncompressed PCM 5.1 sound that has an constant bitrate of 4.6 mbps
Dull and drab sum this up from an A/V standpoint. Yes it's a passable release but this is HD and we expect more! There were times I felt as though I was watching a SDDVD. Black levels were crushed and I found myself futzing with my gamma to try to remedy the issue to no avail. The colors were natural but the Skin-tones were washed out and for lack of a better term, were too contrasty. There were the occasional times where it looked nice, mostly during the brighter daytime scenes but unfortunately it was a mostly underwhelming transfer. The audio was a bit better. The LFE had some impressive big room shaking low end during the 2 car chase scenes. Besides that the rest was again, passable with some annoying traits. At first the dialogue seemed a bit boxy but cleared up as the film progressed (or did I just get used to it?). The effect speakers were used a bit much when it was uncalled for. The mix was off enough for me to notice but not enough to completely kill the experience. All in all Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is mid-level Blu-ray release that could have used a bit more attention to detail.
- (HD) The Whole Truth: The Making of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
- (HD) Criminal Forensics: The Burden of Proof
- Audio Commentary with Director Peter Hyams and Actor Jesse Metcalfe
- Digital Copy
There is a reason why this never got a wide release and why you most likely have not heard of it. Lackluster storytelling, lackluster A/V and lackluster extras sum up this release. If you happen to flip on to it one evening when nothing else is on you won’t be too disappointed. I can say, beyond a reasonable doubt this Blu-ray release is a pass.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Prismasonic HE1500R Anamorphic Lens
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC07 Receiver
Pioneer BDP-320 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer