The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 87 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Aasha Davis, Charles Parnell, Sahra Mellesse, Kim Wayans
Written & Directed by: Dee Rees
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 24, 2012
"Who do you become when you can’t be yourself? "
Seventeen-year-old Alike (pronounced ah-lee-kay) lives with her parents and younger sister in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood. She has a flair for poetry, and is quietly embracing her identity as a lesbian. But whenever Alike's development becomes a topic of discussion at home, her parents' already strained marriage is pushed to the breaking point. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity - sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward.
Pariah is a moving and spirited coming of age/coming out drama that speaks deeply to the human condition as seen through the eyes of a bright, conflicted and aspiring teen that struggles with her identity. Alike is a lesbian and is fearful of what coming out to her parents will do not only to her relationship with them but to theirs as well. Her mother is especially resistant in terms of acknowledging what she already suspect and her father sees her as “daddy’s little girl” and has his head buried deeply in the sand. On top of that Alike is trying to cope with her first steps toward a relationship/intimacy and the awkwardness commonly associated with it. Writer/director Dee Rees’ does a fantastic job making this conventional subject matter feel fresh while avoiding the stereotypical pitfalls often affiliated with the formula. The urban setting has an earthy aesthetic that enhances the narrative without derailing the focus. I enjoyed the strong performances by the ensemble cast and found Adepero Oduye’s stirring portrayal of Alike to be especially worthy of note. Pariah is a heartfelt, and compelling portrait of optimism and hope amidst the difficulties of familial strife and teen angst. It transcends the boundaries of race, gender or urban/suburban status and is a poignant and genuine film that is well worth its 87 minute runtime.
The rating is for sexual content 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)
- 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:
Pariah comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2 Mbps.
By design this film doesn’t boast vibrant colors or eye catching definition but the encoding appears solid. Colors have a muted level of saturation and those used are rarely vivid which give the perception of a limited palette. Overall they are naturally rendered and appear to fall within the visual range intended. Fleshtones have appreciable complexional distinction but the lighting used can sometimes leave them appearing flat and lacking in tonal texture. Blacks are respectable with above average delineation. Shadow detail is quite good which enhances visual perception during the scenes shot at night or in limited lighting. Resolution is adequate so that varying degrees of detail can be seen in close ups but the video isn’t dimensionally revealing. Couple that with the drab lighting and muted chroma and the result is a satisfactory high definition video presentation that supports the film’s thematic tone and coincides with the creative decisions its filmmakers .
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack renders clear dialogue that maintains a notable position of prominence within the front soundstage. This is not a film that requires heavy use of surround sound to deliver its message but it appropriately conveys the film’s elements via a convincing front soundstage which is supported by occasional splashes of atmosphere from the rear channels. Detail is rendered well which attenuates slight environmental cues and augments the subtle texture of voices and sound effects. There is no deep bass associated with the sound track but it contains low frequency support where appropriate.
- (HD) Dee Rees: A director‘s style - 2 minute featurette
- (HD) A walk in Brooklyn - 2 minute location featurette
- (HD) Trying out identity: Pariah‘s wardrobe - 2 minute featurette
- My Scenes bookmark feature
- pocket BLU
- BD-Live enabled
Pariah is a moving and spirited coming of age/coming out drama that speaks deeply to the human condition as seen through the eyes of a bright, conflicted and aspiring teen that struggles with her identity. Writer/director Dee Rees’ paints a heartfelt, and compelling portrait of optimism/hope amidst the difficulties of familial strife/teen angst via an engaging narrative that transcends the boundaries of race, gender or urban/suburban status. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring satisfying high definition audio/video quality and a barebones supplemental offering that provides a limited perspective from writer/director Dee Rees and members of the cast. Pariah is a poignant and stirring film that is well worth devoting 87 minutes to.
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