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Robinson in Ruins [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: LPCM 2.0
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Classification: U
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Studio: BFI
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 20, 2011
  • RRP: £19.99

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B004O2Z58M[/amazon-product]

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
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:3.5/5]

Robinson in Ruins continues on from Patrick Keiller’s 1990s films London and Robinson in Space. Using the vehicle of the fictional character Robinson, just released from prison and wandering around the English countryside with a video camera against the backdrop of the 2008 US banking crisis, the film is a photo-essay meant to explore the devastation of capitalism on British society and the inexorable hooks of American militarism and expansionism in the UK.

The case is made, presumably, through what is meant to be the “lost” film canisters and notebooks of Robinson, narrated by his “research assistant” (Vanessa Redgrave) from his notes. Politically speaking, Keiller is very harsh against the Tory party, which is to be expected, one would guess. From a visual aspect, the film is a stunning pastoral, using many lingering symbols of British commercialism and governmental influence over the lives of its citizenry, like repeated looks at the iconic Royal Mail or posted regulations.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

Robinson in Ruins looks beautiful in this transfer from the BFI. Originally filmed on 35mm Kodak 5OD 5201 color negatives and converted to DVCAM for digital editing before being scanned in 2K and fully graded at Deluxe 142 in London, this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer on Blu-ray is an absolutely reference release, full of vivid color and strong detail Grain is very reserved, but there is still a filmic quality to the presentation.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Vanessa Redgrave’s narration is full and clear in this LPCM 2.0 soundtrack while background sounds seem perhaps a tad too low, but natural nonetheless.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

There is an option to playback the film without the narration, but other than that there really are no special features on the Blu-ray. All extras besides the booklet are provided on the DVD only.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Optional Effects-only Soundtrack
  • Panel Discussion: Patrick Keiller, Doreen Massey, Patrick Wright, and Matthew Flintham on their project The Future of Landscape and the Moving Image (2011; 15 mins.; DVD only)
  • Original theatrical release trailer (DVD only)
  • Downloadable PDF of Doreen Massey’s essay: ‘Landscape/Space/Politics’ (DVD only)
  • Booklet: Illustrated booklet with Doreen Massey essay, introduction by Patrick Keiller, and a review of the film by Mark Fisher.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Robinson in Ruins looks wonderful, that’s undeniable, but it’s also undeniable that the film has a bent towards pretentiousness that will rub most the wrong way. Thankfully, the option is offered to watch without listening to the rambling pontifications that often seem convoluted rather than standing on firm ground.


[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B004O2Z58M[/amazon-product]

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

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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