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Beautiful Boy Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Mono
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish Subtitles
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 101 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Anchor Bay Films
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 11th, 2011
  • List Price: $29.99

[amazon-product]B005CA4SP6[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Beautiful Boy -

Purchase Beautiful Boy on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

Beautiful Boy is, simply put, a powerful film that deals with a very tough subject. For Kate (Maria Bello) and Bill (Michael Sheen), life is all about just getting by. They seem to be happy and their marriage is working for what it’s worth. They have a son, Sammy (Kyle Gallner), who attends a local college. All seems well until one late night, the two receive a terrible call. It seems that there’s been a shooting at Sammy’s college,  a shooting that has left 20 people dead, including Sammy. But it turns out that Sammy died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after murdering said 20 people. Questions arise and answers are demanded, but neither parent wants anything to do with it, refusing to answer anyone. As the film progresses, the subject of hope and attempting to figure oneself out in the darkest of moments is dealt with. The film is at times difficult to watch due to the intense emotions it evokes.

I’ll be completely honest and admit that I had to pause this film more than a few times through. Not due to myself being ‘bored’ per se, but rather due to the impact the subject was having on me. It wasn’t necessarily the subject matter of school shootings (while a tough topic to deal with), but more the aftermath. Few films have tackled this. I briefly thought of Elephant in that light, but that handles the psyche of the shooters, not the impact it had on the people surrounding them. Beautiful Boy rawly shows the full impact, on nearly every emotion I might add, this horrible event has had on Kate and Bill. What resonated the most with me  was that for every feeling of pain, of despair, of  every question, we eventually see that this horrible event showed Kate and Bill that hope does exist. The hope of each other and relying on one another day in and day out. Beautiful Boy show that sometimes it takes something terrible to bring out the message of always believing to discover something new about your loved ones.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Beautiful Boy arrives with an AVC/MPEG-4 encoded transfer. The film’s color palette, while having moments where it does shine, tends to focus on a mostly drab sequence of colors. Light blues, grays and washed out blacks dominate here. As a result the color palette can appear to be a bit bland at times; however, detail is mostly rock solid. Grain levels are quite heavy throughout, but I feel that is mostly to capture the film’s thematic elements, the essence of depression, very moody topics. The film’s print is in fine condition, though, as there were no instances of damage or overly problematic noise. All in all, this is a good effort from Anchor Bay.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

I was a bit surprised to see an included Dolby TrueHD mix as I had figured most studios had  sided with DTS-HD mixes. Whatever the case, the provided TrueHD mix is serviceable for the material at hand. Dialogue, being the most key aspect of this film, is reproduced well via the center channel. Atmosphere is somewhat subdued only occasionally opening up the sound field mostly when musical moments occur. Dynamics are rare and few in between as is LFE. This track is far from ‘bad’ but just doesn’t do much outside of what is required.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

The supplements, while thin, are highlighted by a solid commentary. They are provided in full HD.

  • Deleted Scenes – Roughly 2 minutes of scenes are provided.
  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Shawn Ku, Editor Chad Galster and Cinematographer Michael Fimognari – Like the recently reviewed Baaria, I found the commentary to be excellent. Of note, the varying elements spoken of include topics that we can all relate to. If you enjoyed the film, definitely give this a listen.
  • Trailer

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

While Beautiful Boy may not reach a larger audience due to its subject matter, those who do ultimately watch will be moved. Anchor Bay has brought home a solid Blu-ray with good video, audio and a excellent commentary track. Definitely worth a rental for those looking for a drama that shows the strength of hope in even the most dire times.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B005CA4SP6[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Beautiful Boy -

Purchase Beautiful Boy on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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

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