Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Duplicity

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Kevin EK, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer

    May 9, 2003
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    Studio: Universal
    Film Year: 2009
    Film Length: 2 hours 5 mins
    Genre: Corporate Espionage Comedy/Romance/Thriller
    Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
    BD Resolution: 1080p
    BD Video Codec: VC-1 @ over 35 mpbs
    Color/B&W: Color
    English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 @ an average 4.0 mbps
    Spanish DTS 5.1
    French DTS 5.1
    Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
    Film Rating: PG-13 (Language, Some Sexual Content)
    Release Date: August 25, 2009
    Starring: Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti
    Written Directed by:  Tony Gilroy
    Film Rating:    3/5
    Duplicity is a lot of fun to watch for the first time, but I have a feeling that repeat viewings may not be as rewarding. To be sure, it’s graced with some great performances by its lead actors, Clive Owen and Julia Roberts, both playing in a nicely understated manner. At the same time, the supporting performances of Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti as rival corporate bosses are nicely overblown in a complimentary fashion. The film sets its tone right off the bat with a verbal and sexual fencing match between Owen and Roberts and then follows it with an outrageous slow-motion title sequence that establishes the rivalry to be played out over the next two hours. From that point forward, the film becomes a kind of spy vs. spy comedy thriller, with repeated interludes that may change or even reverse plot points the viewer may have had a secure idea about. As a first time viewer, this kind of game can be a great time, particularly with performances as good as these. But the ride doesn’t have anything more to it than the fun of watching the surprises unfold. Once all the twists have been shown, there isn’t much more to see. Given that, this is a great way to spend an evening. It’s not a deep statement, but not every film needs to be that.
    Duplicity will be released on Blu-ray next Tuesday, with a high definition transfer in picture and sound, a bookmarking function and BD-Live access, and a scene-specific commentary with Tony Gilroy and his brother John.  There are no other special features, but the commentary itself has a lot to offer.
    VIDEO QUALITY   3 ½/5
    Duplicity is presented in a 1080p VC-1 2.40:1 transfer that tends toward the cooler end of the spectrum, even when showing off locales like the Bahamas or Miami, which is fitting, given the underlying themes at play here. Flesh tones look accurate, and the high definition picture does well particularly with the more exquisite and exotic settings on display. One late image in the film, in an Italian marble lobby, is a delight to see, in terms of its clarity and depth. I should note that I am watching the film on a 40” Sony XBR2 HDTV. If anyone is watching the film on a larger monitor and is having issues, please post them on this thread.
    AUDIO QUALITY   3 ½/5
    Duplicity is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix in English, as well as standard DTS mixes in Spanish and French. Given the nature of the film, most of the mix lives in the front channels. But the subwoofer and the surrounds come to life with the bouncy musical score, which is a lot of fun to hear.
    The Blu-Ray presentation of Duplicity really has only one special feature – a scene-specific commentary with the Gilroy brothers. There is also the usual BD-Live functionality and the “My Scenes” bookmarking feature. 
    Feature Commentary with Tony Gilroy and John Gilroy  – This scene-specific commentary with the Gilroy brothers is quite informative, including a shocking revelation about how much this film was essentially rewritten in the editing room.   The Gilroys discuss the challenges of shooting each major sequence, as well as Tony Gilroy’s work in preparing for the shoot. There’s great stuff here, particularly for people well-versed in filmmaking jargon.   Listening to the commentary is probably the one big reward I can see for watching the film for a second time. It’s too bad that no other special features were included, but this was definitely a nice one to have. 
    BD-Live - This Blu-ray includes access to Universal’s BD-Live online site, allowing for the viewing of trailers online.
    Subtitles are available for the film and the special features. A full chapter menu is available for the film.  The Blu-ray menus also include the “My Scenes” bookmarking feature and a BD-Live User Guide.
    IN THE END...
    Duplicity is a fun spy vs. spy romance comedy/thriller that will provide a lot of surprises for viewers on their first trip through the story. The Blu-ray includes a nice picture and sound transfer to go with the experience, along with a solid commentary by the Gilroys. Fans of Clive Owen and Julia Roberts will likely have a good time here (as will fans of Paul Giamatti), and fans of Tony Gilroy will enjoy both the film and his commentary.
    Kevin Koster
    August 18, 2009.
  2. Worth

    Worth Screenwriter

    Jul 17, 2009
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    Real Name:
    Nick Dobbs
    I'm guessing that's a typo, as this was 2.35:1 in theatres?
  3. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer

    May 9, 2003
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    Good catch, Nick.

    I can explain. See, what happened was, well, I was, well, oh heck with it. I guess I picked the wrong week to give up (fill in the blank) while writing reviews....

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