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The Iron Lady Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Discs: 3 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD + 1 x Digital Copy)
  • Studio: The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 10, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

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The Iron Lady -

Purchase The Iron Lady on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Fact and fiction, well, mostly fiction, prevail in this somewhat tepid biopic about the controversial British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. In Phyllida Lloyd’s (director) and Abi Morgan’s (screenwriter) The Iron Lady, riots, strikes, poll taxes, culture wars, privatisation, and racial tensions of Thatcher’s eleven run – the longest of any 20th Century British Prime Minister – are glossed over in preference to the story of a benign old lady, the prisoner of both her age and failing mental health, who looks back fondly on her past in politics and feels bitterly the loss of her beloved husband Denis (Jim Broadbent).

While Meryl Streep’s performance as “the Iron Lady” (Thatcher had been dubbed that by a Soviet Journalist) is beyond reproach, hitting every note in her mannerisms, inflection in her voice with a spot on accent, it is the overall film that is in question. This “biopic”, if one can even call it that, misses the essential points of Thatcher’s influence on British and global politics so profoundly that, whether one considers themselves conservative, liberal, left, right, or none of the above, they are bound to be disappointed with this effort. It’s as if the filmmakers were afraid to wade too deep into the bloodied pool of politics lest the sharks were stirred up into a frenzy. So instead, we were given a cup of warm milk, biscuits, and only a glimpse of the outer shell of one of the 20th Century’s most influential figures.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Iron Lady was shot on Kodak Vision3 200T 5213 and Vision3 500T 5219 35mm film and arrives on Blu-ray in a pleasant and natural looking AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer from The Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay Entertainment. Grain in unobtrusive, although visible throughout the presentation, colors, particularly in flesh tones, look rather strong even given the obvious era-specific veneer that has been applied. There’s lots of texture and detail and a strong sense of contrast.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack for The Iron Lady is surprisingly robust and engaging for a film such as this one. While I was expecting an unimaginative, front-heavy mix focused squarely on dialogue anchored to the center channel, the sound designers open up immediately with crowd noises that surround the listener. The mix then, rather early on, gets literally bombastic with big, booming sounds of World War II Britain during the blitzkrieg. There are moments throughout the film where the sound of a distant radio is panned far right or left, utilizing the paired front and surround channel for an extremely wide soundfield. Something might equally be panned right off to a surround channel and then swung back to the front. This is all done quite tastefully, and only when the moment calls for it, not excessively. There’s excellent balance and clean, distinct dialogue throughout.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

The supplements consist mainly of a few brief, self-explanatory, featurettes and one on “history” in the cinema that just happens to focus on recent Weinstein Company critical successes My Week with Marilyn, W.E., CoriolanusThe Artist plus this film, The Iron Lady.

The supplements:

  • Making The Iron Lady (1.78:1; SD; 00:12:20)
  • Recreating the Young Margaret Thatcher (1.78:1; SD; 00:02:44)
  • Denis: The Man Behind the Woman (1.78:1; SD; 00:02:33)
  • Battle in the House of Commons (1.78:1; SD; 00:02:28)
  • Costume Design: Pearls and Power Suits (1.78:1; SD; 00:02:43)
  • History Goes to the Cinema: Featuring My Week with Marilyn, W.E., Coriolanus, The Iron Lady and The Artist (1.78:1; SD; 00:18:04)
  • DVD
  • Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

From its production all the way down to the acting, The Iron Lady is extremely well done, but the biography in it rings hollow, never allowing anything but a mere suggestion – good, bad, or indifferent – of the impact of Thatcher’s personality and policies on 20th Century life in Britain and beyond her shores. It’s a shame, really, for had the filmmakers had the intestinal fortitude, as it were, to go all the way, this could have been one hell of a film.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product]B0059XTUXQ[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
The Iron Lady -

Purchase The Iron Lady on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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