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The Last Station [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English PCM 2.0
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: B
  • Classification: 15
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 21, 2010
  • RRP: £22.99

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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]

The Last Station is a riveting biopic and love story from director Michael Hoffman, adapted from the novel by Jay Parini. Set in the last year of the life and turbulent marriage of the great Russian author Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer) and his wife, the Countess Sofya (Helen Mirren), The Last Station follows the couple as their marriages plummets into odds as Tolstoy, resigned to reject all material things in the final days of his life, has become somewhat of a saint to the Russian people.

As he is being urged by his devoted follower Valdimir  Chertkov (Paul Giamatti) to declare a new will bestowing the rights to all of his works upon the Russian people rather than his family, his marriage grows worse. Witness to all the proceedings is Tolstoy’s new wide-eyed secretary, Valentin Bulgakov (Jame McAvoy), eager to please his mentor and follow in the artist’s new aesthetic lifestyle. But Bulgakov has fallen in love with the tempestuous Masha (Kerry Condon) and their heated love and burgeoning passion plays out against the dissolving love of Tolstoy and Sofya.

In a last effort to find peace in a world where he is being pulled at from all sides, Tolstoy makes a run for it on train, with Chertkova and Sofya in hot pursuit, but he will soon only find peace in his final resting place, “The Last Station.”

It is a brilliantly acted film all around that has Mirren stealing the show at every turn with her impassioned performance, dripping with intensity and emotion. Plummer shows ease and understanding to the core of Tolstoy and even McAvoy lends a hand, coming along for the ride as the innocent caught up in the tides of history.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The Last Station arrives in a 2.35:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encoding from Optimum. Despite the richness of the film itself, the transfer never quite comes alive on the screen. Detail is suppressed with a faint softness throughout, white levels are a bit bleached, and black levels aren’t very deep, although this does yield very extended shadow details. On the positive side, the source looks very clean and film grain is stable throughout, offering a positive, film-like presentation.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is subtle, but surprisingly rich in detail. The surround channels are filled with atmospheric information that bring the sound alive, like the sounds of crickets buzzing or the breeze blowing. At no time does the track sound claustrophobic. Dialogue is clean and dynamic with no hints of clipping. This is an extremely well made dialogue-driven soundtrack.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

All supplements on The Last Station are in the PAL format, so you must be in a Region B area or have a Blu-ray player or television capable of playing back this format to access these materials.

There isn’t much offered, only two brief featurettes and a trailer, leaving The Last Station feeling decidedly barebones.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Interview with Director Michael Hoffman (1.78:1; PAL)
  • Conversations on ‘The Last Station’ (1.78:1; PAL)
  • Trailer (2.35:1; PAL)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]


The Last Station
is a film that is not to be missed. Visually pleasing, emotionally touching, and brilliantly acted, this is what great filmmaking is truly about and it only comes along once in while. I recommend picking up this solid Blu-ray release from Optimum ASAP.

Additional Screen Captures:

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