The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: The Weinstein Company - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 101 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Mathew Goode
Directed by: Tom Ford
Music by: Abel Korzeniowski
Written by: Tom Ford & David Scearce (screenplay), Christopher Isherwood (novel)
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 6, 2010
"We're invisible, don't you know that?"
A Single Man is based on the novel of the same name by Christopher Isherwood. It is the story of a British college professor (Colin Firth) who is struggling to find meaning to his life after the death of his long time partner. The story is a romantic tale of love interrupted, the isolation that is an inherent part of the human condition, and ultimately the importance of the seemingly smaller moments in life.
In ‘A Single Man' Colin Firth plays George, a British College Professor living in 1962 Los Angeles. After a cold and heartless phone call from his lover Jim's (Mathew Goode- Watchmen) family notifying him of Jim's death, George is left searching for meaning in his new life alone. The repression of the times and his lovers family's reaction left him without an outlet to properly grieve. The film is one the day in George's life, where he must face his reality and find a reason to keep going. All he wants, no needs, is for someone to actual see and understand him. Maybe that small moment when he finds a new 'real' connection will let him understand himself...again.
This film is an acting tour de force and Colin Firth was more than worthy of his best actor Oscar nomination. His mono-tone style really complimented George's emotional journey, making us feel the numb disconnect that losing his lover of 18 years has caused. The chemistry he had with an equally sad and lonely Charley, played by Julianne Moore was marvelous. She is a woman he was with many years ago and she still wants him. Their friendship is bittersweet as she knows he will never be with her, yet she is always there for him. The supporting cast of Mathew Goode as Jim and Nicholas Hoult as Kenny, a flirtatious young student were perfect as well. First time director and screenwriter Tom Ford really new what he wanted and accomplished getting it. He is a superstar fashion designer with an impeccable eye for detail that really showed in his directing; it was like he had been doing this for years. The way he changed color palette's, composed his shots and paced scenes really worked and enhanced the film.
‘A Single Man' is not for everyone; but even those who do not like it will be hard pressed not to recognize that it is a great film. It is a story in the best sense; it's a tale of the human condition. Yes the lead character is gay, yes the main players are all depressed, lost, scared and searching for meaning. It is all of that without shoving anything down the viewers throat. If you are in the mood for something off the beaten path that has acting worthy of it's Oscar nomination then this engaging character study with style, talent and grace might be for you.
Rated R for some disturbing images and nudity/sexual content.
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:
‘A Single Man' comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 mbps and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround Sound that has an average bitrate of 3.9 mbps.
‘A Single Man's' DTS-HD Master Audio track was a very pleasing. Abel Korzeniowski's score was majestic and whimsical yet it had a a sense of frenzied urgency; it was one of the best I have heard in years. Surround activity was kept atmospherically minimalistic but added depth and dimension; especially to scenes like the late night swim where waves and water filled the room. That scene also showed the mixes capabilities with a nice deep low end. However, this is a dialogue based drama and thankfully every word was clear, upfront in the mix and predominantly in the front sound-stage.
The 1080p AVC encoded video is another top tier release by Sony. Director Tom Ford and cinematographer Eduard Grau served up a subtle visual treat utilizing covert mid-scene color shifts from a high to low color temperatures. When a character seemed upset, turned on or it was in real-time, the color palette was reddish. Flashbacks, depressed and disconnected cold emotions had a high color temperature with a blueish hue. There were also moments that faded black and white which were quite effective. Shot in 35 mm, there was a satisfying level of film grain which enhanced the sharpness of the image. The fine details on George's face, suite fabric and bedspread were all impressive. Coupling that with the shifts from over to under-saturated colors with all having a natural look to the flash-tones made watching ‘A Single Man' a pleasure.
- Commentary with Producer/Director Tom Ford
- (HD) The Making of A Single Man
- (HD) Previews: Breaking Bad, Damages, Chloe, Broken Embraces, The Runaways, Nine
- movie IQ+sync
- BD LIVE enabled
‘A Single Man' is not an uplifting film. Its not a big budget faced paced blockbuster and its far from generic. It is artistic, poetic and beautiful to look at and it is for those open-minded and looking for something deeper than and whiz-bang action extravaganza. With an outstanding performance by Colin Firth, an impressive first outing for new director Tom Ford and a stunning score by Abel Korzeniowski, this comes as a highly recommend Blu-ray. This release isn't packed with extras, but Tom Ford's commentary was interesting, especially considering it was his first film. Where Sony doesn't skimp is in the A/V department, as ‘A Single Man' looks and sounds superb. Enjoy!
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS35 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC27 Receiver (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer