Customer Review

Reviewed in Australia on 29 May 2020
This is a highly divisive movie that I expect you will either love or hate. It’s the kind of film you find on a film festival circuit that generates the most debate. If you know the kind of film I am talking about, you can probably tell already whether you should invest the time. I don’t suggest you put this on for family viewing night, or with some friends over for a pizza and movie night. It’s not that kind of film. My review here is about the disc, however, not the movie. The movie was shot on 16mm film and then scanned at a 2K Digital Intermediate and digitally manipulated to raise the black level slightly and add filters boosting orange colours. This filtering changes the colour palette of the film drastically from the general white point of D6500 to a much redder white point somewhere around D5500 or perhaps even lower. In doing so, it also reduces the intensity of certain light and colours, and changes the hue of everything from skin tones to the colour of grass, and also the colour of shadows. There is method to this madness, which is apparent once you watch the film. But it doesn’t make for a necessarily pretty film - this is not your go to demo disc for 4K UHD. So why bother with 4K UHD at all given all the image manipulation and the frankly pretty ugly picture? Put simply, standard 1080p Blu Ray struggles to render this properly, by which I mean, in a manner that is, as close as possible, an accurate representation of the image the director intended. The 8-bit Rec.709 colour spectrum of 1080p Blu-Ray doesn’t have the range of reds and oranges to make this look as it should, standard Blu-Ray doesn’t have the HDR to make the shadow detail appear as it should (blacks sometimes get crushed down to black in SDR, not the reddish brown-grey they are meant to be), and it doesn’t have the bit rate to properly render the digitally manipulated grain structure of 16mm film (it comes out every now and then as digital noise). In some respects the 1080p Blu Ray is easier on the eye, but once you see how it is meant to look, you realise that the 4K UHD disc is the superior viewing experience. Of course, you’ll need a display capable of rendering 10-bit colour greater than the Rec.709 spectrum to see the benefit, and I suspect a display greater than 80” to see the added benefits to image detail (or sit 1m from a 55” screen). At 120” the differences are appreciable, but again, this is the type of film best seen on a massive screen as it progressively ramps up its assault to the senses. One undeniable fact though is that the Dolby Atmos track on this disc is one sensory jangling, nightmare inducing audio track. However, this is also the same track on the Standard Blu-Ray, so is not a reason alone to buy the 4K UHD version.
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