The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Classic Pictures - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 106 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 3.25:1
Audio Format(s): Hebrew/Portuguese DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, French
Starring: Shlomo Bar Aba, Lior Ashkenazi, Alisa Rosen, Alma Zak, Michah Lewensohn, Daniel Markovivh
Written & Directed by: Joseph Cedar
Music by: Amit Poznansky
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 24, 2012
FOOTNOTE is the tale of a great rivalry between a father and son, two eccentric professors, who both dedicated their lives to work in Talmudic Studies. The father, Eliezer, is a stubborn purist who fears the establishment and has never been recognized for his work. His son, Uriel, is an up-and-coming star in the field, who appears to feed on accolades, endlessly seeking recognition. Then one day, the tables turn. When Eliezer learns that he is to be awarded the Israel Prize, the most valuable honor for scholarship in the country, his vanity and desperate need for validation are exposed. His son, Uriel, is thrilled to see his father's achievements finally recognized but his enthusiasm is short lived thanks to a disturbing call from the Israel Prize selection committee.
Footnote is the story of insane academic competition, the dichotomy between admiration and envy for a role model, and the very complicated relationship between a father and son. Eliezer is a difficult man that has spent many years of his life in pursuit of compeer affirmation that the recognition granted him via a footnote (for a mutual Talmud discovery which he technically found first) while deserving, falls short of defining the true impact and disciplined dedication he has made in his field.
His son Uriel is a devoted family man that works in the same field as Eliezer. He openly receives the respect/admiration of his colleagues via a progressive approach that has been met with success. Growing up wasn’t easy for Uriel as Eliezer was stern, idealistic and inflexible. Eliezer sees his son’s work as less important and his contributions to be empty vessels arrived at via shortcuts that took little to achieve. Uriel respects his father and struggles to discern the bitter edge displayed by him where he is concerned. Eliezer is unconscionably envious of any recognition bestowed upon Uriel regardless of its merits and sees everyone associated with the issuance of the coveted Israel Prize to be sellouts bent on keeping him down.
Eliezer’s life suddenly takes a 180 degree turn when he receives a telephone call announcing his selection as a recipient of this year’s Israel Price for recognition of his contribution in the field of Talmud Studies. Uriel sees this long overdue distinction as a means for him and Eliezer to mend fences and cease their unspoken rivalry. Unfortunately his bubble is quickly burst when he receives a troubling telephone from the Israel Prize selection committee. Now, in a darkly funny twist Uriel finds himself caught between a rock and his father’s shot a glory.
This is an interesting film with an outwardly esoteric theme that is underscored by genuinely fallible characters that aren’t unlike people we may all know. The difficulties between Eliezer and Uriel begin within the familial dynamic but extend well beyond. This is a well crafted drama with a defining ironic spin and natural humor that is enhanced by cleverly infused visuals that drive home the point. I must admit that I simply didn’t care for the ending. This may be the result of cultural differences and the expectations associated with outcomes in films but I needed more. Regardless there is much to like about Footnote. Writer/director Joseph Cedar has a firm grasp of the subject matter and its correlation both within and outside of the cultural boundaries that may separate his audience. These are genuine feeling characters and their portrayals by Shlomo Bar Aba and Lior Ashkenazi further that feeling. This is far from a feel good movie but it’s an honest one that pulls few punches. I really enjoyed it.
The rating is for thematic elements, brief nudity, language and smoking.
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:
Footnote comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.
By design this film doesn’t boast vibrant colors are eye popping visuals but the encoding appears solid. Colors have a muted level of saturation and those used are rarely bright 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 texture. Blacks are respectable with above average delineation. Shadow detail is quite good which enhances visual perception during the scenes shot in limited lighting. Resolution is adequate so that varying degrees of detail can be seen in close ups but the video isn’t razor sharp or dimensionally strong. It isn’t a bright film which when coupled along with the reserved chromatic scheme gives it a dull finish. This seems to coincide with the creative decisions of the filmmakers and results in stable imagery that lacks the eye popping definition that some may expect from a newer film.
The DTS-HD Master Audio sound quality is solid and offers a one dimensional, frontal oriented perspective that is highlighted by the film’s great music which sounded silky smooth, tonally neutral and exquisitely detailed. Dialogue is centrally focused and lucid with distinguishable intonation and requisite clarity. Surround activity is limited to subtle ambience that occasionally offered some spatial dimension that extended the depth of the sound field.
** CIH users should note that the subtitles appear within the picture area. **
- Behind the scenes of Joseph Cedar’s: Footnote – 24 minute making of documentary
- (HD) An evening with Joseph Cedar – 9 minute Q&A
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- BD-Live enabled
Footnote comes from the mind of writer/director Joseph Cedar and is the story of insane academic competition, the dichotomy between admiration and envy for a role model, and the very complicated relationship between a father and son. I found it to be an interestingly engaging film with an outwardly esoteric theme built around genuine characters. Footnote comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring satisfying high definition audio/video quality and a middling supplemental offering that provides a look behind the scenes as well as insightful comments from writer/director Joseph Cedar. This may not be for everyone (it is far from a feel good movie) but it’s an honest film that tells it like it is. Give it and rent and see for yourself.
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