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Metropolitan [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 1.0 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 99 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Blu-ray Release Date: July 24, 2012
  • List Price: $39.95

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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:4.5/5]

Whit Stillman’s 1990 auteurist debut Metropolitan is a look at the young, twenty-something, old-monied Upper Class socialites of the East Coast. Set in New York City during the waning months of the 1980s, its prophetic look at the forthcoming members of the entitled class alludes to the stories of Jane Austen and F. Scott Fitzgerald, both seriously and derisively. It revolves around a group of debutantes and their dates calling themselves the SFRP (the Sally Fowler Rat Pack, named  for group’s post-ball hostess). The strength of Stillman’s film is in its witty and dense dialogue packed with ironic and cynical musings on philosophy, literary criticism and class distinctions. The characters themselves are distinctively archetypical 80s preppie, including the de facto group ringleader Nick Smith (Chris Eigeman) with his hyperactive ego and crude observations on class, the adorably naïve Jane Austen fan Audrey (Carolyn Farina) and group outsider Tom ((Edward Clements), who hails from divorced parents and now lives with his not-so-wealthy mom and acts as the catalyst for the entire story. While the low budget production sometimes necessarily leaves Metropolitan looking less luxuriant than would be expected for a film about the upper crust, Stillman and cinematographer John Thomas still manage to create an intimate sense of party glamor that evokes the Nouvelle Vague of the 1950s and 60s.

(For a different take, read our Metropolitan [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review by Lawrence Devoe)

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The transfer for Metropolitan was overseen by writer-director Whit Stillman and cinematographer John Thomas. The film was originally captured on Super 16mm and the high definition digital transfer for this release was done on a Spirit Datacine from a 35mm blow-up interpositive. There is a heavy amount of grain, as to be expected from a 16mm source, and the image is somewhat softer than those taken directly from a 16mm negative rather than a 35mm blow-up. With that being said, there is little n the way of source damage, flesh tones look remarkably natural and the overall effect is an image that seems quite natural.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The monaural soundtrack was mastered from a 35mm magnetic audio track. It’s supplied on this release in LPCM 1.0 (48kHz/24-bit). While there isn’t much that can be said a bout a 1.0 track, it does offer intelligible dialogue and very little audible clicking, hiss, or pops.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

The booklet offered with this Criterion release is thinner than usual for Criterion Collection and on-disc supplements aren’t as robust as usual either, but the provided material is still rather good, especially the excellent audio commentary and well informed film essay.

The supplements:

  • Audio commentary, recorded in 2005 by the Criterion Collection, features writer-director Whit Stillman, actors Christopher Eigman and Taylor Nichols, and editor Christopher Tellefsen.
  • Outtakes:
    • Outtakes Montage (1.66:1; 1080i/60; 00:09:24)
    • Memorial to Line Producer Brian Greenbaum (1.66:1; 1080i/60; 00:01:01)
  • Alternate Casting – These scenes feature Will Kempe in the role if Nick Smith (he was ultimately cast as Rick Von Sloneker) and Lloyd Kaufman as Allen Green, the record producer (played by John Lynch in the final film). The scenes are accompanied by optional commentary director Whit Stillman.:
    • Kempe (1.66:1; 1080i/60; 00:01:52)
    • Kaufman (1.66:1; 1080i/60; 00:02:27)
  • Trailer (1.33:1; 1080i/60)
  • Booklet: An essay on the film by critic Luc Sante.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Whit Stillman’s strong 1990 debut, Metropolitan, remains an amusing to watch and informed classic that over two-decades later is more prophetic than ironic. Criterion’s release is a strong one, even if more barebones than usual for the studio.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Metropolitan [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Download Metropolitan (1990) on iTunes

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[amazon-product]B007USWCO2[/amazon-product]

Purchase Metropolitan [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Download Metropolitan (1990) on iTunes

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:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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