The Goldfinch Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release of The Goldfinch, a drama that is based on the novel of the same name by Donna Tartt, that tells the story of a boy in New York who is taken in by a wealthy Upper East Side family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

88

Details:

Studio and Year: Warner – 2019
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 149 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Oakes Fegley, Aneurin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard, Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright
Directed by: John Crowley
Music by: Trevor Gureckis
Written by: Peter Straughan based on the novel by Donna Tartt
Region Code: A

Release Date: December 10, 2019

“The Story of a Stolen Life”

Synopsis:

“A boy in New York is taken in by a wealthy Upper East Side family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.” – Warner Brothers Home Entertainment

My Take:

The last time 13-year-old Theo Decker (Oakes Fegley) saw his mother, she was gliding away from him into another gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Seconds later, a terrorist bomb exploded destroying priceless pieces of art…and shattering Theo’s life forever. The tragedy changes the course of his life, sending him on a stirring odyssey of grief and guilt, reinvention and redemption, friendship and even love. Throughout the turbulent years, as he grows into adulthood, Theo (Ansel Elgort) secretly clings to a single, precious object—his one tangible connection to the mother he lost on that terrible day—a priceless painting of a tiny bird chained to its perch. The Goldfinch.

My wife and daughter have read Donna Tartt’s novel, upon which this film is based and, they both seemed to enjoy that so I went into viewing The Goldfinch with moderate expectations. I can see where this story would shine on the written page as it speaks to the human condition through the eyes of a youth whose life was fraught with grief, guilt and a yearning for the simplest form of personal attachment, someone to love and to receive that in return.

The film opens with the main character and his current situation, which isn’t clear and, then recounts his story, going back to childhood, then stepping in and out of his life at various stages before bringing things back to the opening moment. At nearly two hours and twenty minutes the film runs long. The narrative’s flow isn’t such that it supports the runtime which at times bogs down the pacing. There are several sets of characters, including Theo, that are portrayed by two actors (adult and child), which I think worked very well and successfully transitions between the plot’s various elements.

The trouble with the adult characters in the story is that there isn’t enough development or relevance for them within the construct of the story to allow their impact on Theo’s life to be emotionally definitive. Given the primary focus for what motivates Theo’s decisions and path in life, this is detrimental to elevating the story’s level of humanity and emotion. Despite this, you can’t help but feel for Theo whose life is a series of broken relationships and inner pain. The painting itself was more symbolic than anything else but, does make for a rather interesting revelation/twist later in the story. I enjoyed the performances by the cast, pretty much across the board, especially young Oakes Fegley who portrayed Theo at 13 years of age.

The Goldfinch isn’t a good movie or a bad movie. It’s the story of a young man’s odyssey and the events and people that shaped him. Having not read the book I can’t say whether or not this adaptation was faithful but, as a film, it needed reshaped script and tighter editing.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for drug use 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.**

Audio: 82
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

The Goldfinch comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master audio sound.

Colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the mood of the scene. The chroma range isn’t broad and hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are warm with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen were exquisitely detailed and sharp with superb depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast is spot on and blacks are deep with revealing delineation that provides excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video has a pristine quality that is free of video related artifacts.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix features dialogue that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects, music and voices are rendered with superior clarity and depth. There is little call for active surround activity and extended dynamics however there is frequent use of atmospheric sounds that utilize the entire soundstage in support of the exterior/interior venues depicted in the film. The end result is an excellent audio presentation that renders the soundtrack’s elements with aplomb.

Bonus Features:

  • The Goldfinch Unbound – Featurette
  • The Real Goldfinch – Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Based on the novel of the same name by Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch is a meandering, albeit interesting, drama that is a bit thematically scattershot but, musters enough heart to bring its point home. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring solid overall technical merits mated with a lackluster supplemental package. The Goldfinch is tough to recommend as a blind buy but, could make for a decent rental when you’re in the mood for something with a poignant edge.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems