Check out our review of this powerful dramatic film that chronicles Dr. Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 128 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: David Owelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Giovanni Ribisi, Lorraine Toussaint, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Andre Holland, Colmon Domingo
Directed by: Ava DuVernay
Music by: Jason Moran
Written by: Paul Webb
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 5, 2015
"One dream can change the world"
Selma chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.
The Civil Rights Movement was one of the most turbulent and trying times in our nation’s history. We as a nation owe a debt of gratitude to those who stood before grave opposition in an effort to secure many of the privileges we now enjoy. The marches in Selma were integral to the movement and through the courageous sacrifices of those involved brought the struggles for equality to the attention of the nation and ultimately the world. Selma takes a snapshot of Martin Luther King’s life beginning with his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize win and follows it through to the final march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama which ultimately resulted in President Johnson’s signing of the Voting Rights Act.
Screenwriter Paul Webb and Director Ava DuVernay paint a vivid portrait of the grimness of those times and the steadfast devotion of a select group willing to die in order to secure rights that should be shared by all Americans. I appreciated the attention to detail in the design of the characters with respect to their real life counterparts, especially with respect to those involved in the movement. Selma isn’t an easy film to watch as it’s difficult to imagine living through such difficult times especially when you consider that it wasn’t all that long ago.
It is clearly evident that the film is a labor of commitment and respect for all involved. The cast is simply marvelous, with David Oyelowo leading the way in his gripping portrayal of Dr. King. There is little else that I can add other than to say that Selma is an important, and in light of 2015 being the 50th anniversary of the march, significant film that is deserving of the accolades it has received. I highly recommend it.
The rating is for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, 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 effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
- DSU Rating * (non-rated element): NA
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
Selma comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.
This is a good looking presentation from Paramount that features intentionally stylized visuals that coincide with the film’s thematic and somber tone. The color palette is limited and those used are held to neutral tones and reserved hues that are rarely eye catching. Processing is applied to give the video a light amber toned cast that is maintained throughout. The result isn’t deleterious to contrast or color fidelity. Fleshtones are minimally effected but not to the point of appearing unnatural. Black levels are slightly elevated and depth and detail in low light and dark backgrounds is discerning. Resolution is excellent as images have good definition and noticeable delineation that is apparent during close-up camera shots. I found this presentation to be free of video related anomalies and a very good match with the film’s subject matter.
This is a dialogue driven film that features a surround mix that maintains a predominantly frontal orientation with occasional use of the rear channels and subwoofer for added enhancement. The soundfield is primarily one dimensional with crystal clear vocal reproduction, discriminating channel separation, and excellent high level detail.
- Feature film in high definition
- (HD) The Road to Selma – 13 minute featurette
- (HD) Recreating Selma – 26 minute featurette
- (HD) “Glory” Music Video featuring John Legend and Common
- Historical Newsreels – 5 minutes
- Photo Gallery
- (HD) 6 Deleted and Extended Scenes
- (HD) National Voting Rights Museum and Institute – 7 minutes
- (HD) Selma Student Tickets: Donor Appreciation – 3 minutes
- Selma discussion guide – Interactive feature
- Commentary by director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo
- Commentary by director Ava DuVernay, director of photography Bradford Young and editor Spencer Averick
- Bonus DVD
- Digital HD Copy
Selma chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. I commend the filmmakers and cast for their fervent commitment to bringing these significant events to the big screen in such compelling and reverent fashion. Selma comes to Blu-ray from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring faithful high definition video and crystal clear lossless sound mated with a fair supplemental offering that includes a look behind the scenes as well as insights from the cast/crew. Selma is a must see film that comes highly recommended.
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