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Certified Copy (Copie Conforme) [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Classification: 12
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 17, 2011
  • RRP: £19.99

[amazon-product align=”right” region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0042AEU6Y[/amazon-product]

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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]

I had an interesting debate just a few nights ago with someone over what imparts value in an object. Naturally the discussion veered off into differing thoughts on perception, but the idea was that everyone somehow makes their own reality and we all impart our own sense of value and reality into what we cherish. This whole philosophical debate stemmed from a viewing of the PBS series Antiques Road Show and a particular episode where a man brought in some rusty tin cans that ended up being worth tens of thousands of dollars.

The reason I mention this, is that one of the central characters in Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami’s (Taste of Cherry; Through the Olive Trees) first “European” film Certified Copy (Copie Conforme), James Miller (William Shimell), is a writer who has penned a book entitled Copie conforme (Certified Copy), in which he puts forth the idea that everyone would be just as satisfied with copies of great works of art as the originals. Juliette Binoche’s character, who is never referred to by name in the film, is so intrigued by Miller’s assertion at an appearance in Tuscany on his book tour, that she agrees to take him to village of Lucignano to view artworks.

This is where Kiarostami’s film takes an interesting intellectual turn. Until now, we’ve been in familiar, if still far better than Hollywood, romantic comedy territory, but when a woman in a café mistakes the pair for a married couple, Binoche fails to correct her and instead invents a fifteen-year marriage between the two that, for whatever reason, Miller decides to play along with. From that point on, the pair are a bickering, married couple working through a fifteen-year-old relationship, just past their anniversary. They, in essence, are mirroring the theory of creating your own realty that Miller has written in his book.

Kiarostami perhaps leaves things a little too open, never really answering or questioning why these two people are so willingly at play in this false relationship, particularly Miller, who seems to have the least to gain from the whole thing. The long, flowing camera shots, not unlike that of Hitchcock, the beautiful Tuscan backdrops and the aural vehicle of often pushing the main dialogue out of focus for a more realistic sense of how we hear things in the world nonetheless make for an interesting and thought provoking romantic comedy that Hollywood could never dream of.

The film struggles the most in its mismatch of leads. Binoche, always a fine actress and winner of the Best Actress award at the 2010 Cannes for her role here, is marvelous, but she is coupled with William Shimell who is really an opera singer and not an actor proper. He does an alright job holding down the role, but one can easily tell he is overwhelmed by Binoche’s far superior acting skills in their back-and-forth scenes. Still, it is hardly enough to take away from this quietly delightful treasure.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Captured in HD at 4K on a Red One camera, Certified Copy looks every bit as clean, sharp, detailed, and free from artifacts as one would expect a modern production to look, despite its purposely-desaturated color palette. It shows up on this Blu-ray release from Artificial Eye in a 1.85:1 framed 1080p/24 encoding that has superb shadow delineation and very little video noise. What little there is, looks more grain-like and organic.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The multilingual DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is necessarily dialogue-driven and rather front-heavy, despite the aural tricks of the film that quite often push the main dialogue into the background on purpose, drowning them out with atmospheric sound effects. The surround channels are rather quiet and low frequencies non-existent, but the mix is still rather effective for this sort of material.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

There is really only one true supplement here and it is the pleasant if obligatory The Making of Certified Copy (1.78:1; 720/24; 0:52.02), which offers up lots of behind the scenes production footage and time with the cast and crew. Other than that, only the Trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) is supplied.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

The night before watching Certified Copy I had the misfortune of seeing Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler. In a way, both films can be looked at as romantic comedy road movies, but how superior one is to the other. Certified Copy is hardly perfect, but it is a pleasure to watch a romantic film that is somewhat intellectually stimulating and contains such a high quality performance (Binoche). Recommended for your next date night!

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right” region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0042AEU6Y[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

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