Benedict Cumberbatch plays a British aristocrat who finds his personal life caught up in the wake of massive societal changes in the early 20th Century. The Blu-ray’s excellent high definition presentation comes courtesy of HBO Home Entertainment.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DTS, French 5.1 DTS
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: Approx. 5 hrs.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 09/10/2013
Based on the celebrated novels by Ford Madox Ford, and adapted for the screen by playwright Tom Stoppard, Parade’s End tells the story of British government statistician and aristocrat Christopher Tietjens (Benedict Cumberbatch) as he struggles to maintain his dignity and morality in the midst of a less than happy marriage to Sylvia (Rebecca Hall), his cruel socialite of a wife. That their personal drama takes place during the Great War and ongoing suffrage movement creates a sometimes subtle counterpoint, but the story’s historical context ultimately has a rather large role in Tietjens life, influencing the choices he makes about his marriage and his prospect for true happiness with kindred spirit and suffragette Valentine Wannop (Adelaide Clemens).The first installment of the five-part mini-series is a little slow going and mildly confusing as it introduces characters and skips around in time, but by its conclusion the key players and central conflict are well laid out for the remaining installments. Ongoing interest in a seemingly simple tale on its face comes down to uniformly strong performances from Cumberbatch and Hall, playing characters at turns both sympathetic and infuriating. The methodical pacing and period setting may prove a hindrance for some, but those with the patience and inherent interest in the tumultuous time period will be rewarded with a well-conceived, and ultimately thought provoking, historical drama.
The Production Rating: 4/5
Framed at 1.78:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer features beautifully saturated color, deep blacks, and spot on contrast. Detail is consistently first rate, from close ups of performers to landscapes. Noise is sometimes visible in shadow areas or regions with a lot of fine detail, but the picture is otherwise clean of digital artifacts.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is crisp, clear and intelligible, though I couldn’t help noticing an odd reverberant quality to Cumberbatch’s vocals in the early part of the first episode; however, things seemed to improve as the story progressed. LFE is effectively non-existent and surround channels provide slight support for the score and some environmental effects – unsurprising given the nature of the production.
Audio Rating: 4/5
Special Features Rating: 1.5/5
- [*]Tom Stoppard Interview on KCRW’s The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell (28:04): The film critic talks to Stoppard about adapting the source material. The interview is also available online through KCRW.[*]Digital Copy: Options for Mac, Windows, and mobile platforms. Offer expires 9/30/2015.[/list]
HBO Home Entertainment delivers a lovely high definition presentation for a methodical, but engaging, historical / character drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall. The bonus features are meager, however, and the price point noticeably high, making the title best viewed as a rental first or purchased with the appropriate discount.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewed By: Cameron Yee
Support HTF when you buy this title: