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Voice Over [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Subtitles: English HOH
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Certification: 15
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Studio: BFI
  • Run Time: 108 Mins.
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 24, 2011
  • RRP: £19.99

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005HPQ7HS[/amazon-product]

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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:3.5/5]

BFI debut’s another film in their Flipside series with Christopher Monger’s (The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain; HBO’s Temple Grandin) controversial 1983 film Voice Over. Chastised upon its release by feminists as propagating a misogynist agenda, the film follows “Fats” Bannerman (Ian McNeice, A Life Less Ordinary; Oliver Twist; Doctor Who), writer and presenter of a successful radio program Thus Engaged, a Jane Austen-inspired romantic serial. The down-and-out Bannerman may have a successful radio show, but it’s not the kind of success he wants. He’s not taken seriously by anyone, like the older, middle class, college educated crowd he’s aiming for, and the younger people that listen to him think he’s funny. Scholars chastise him for plagiarizing Austen, and Bannerman himself has trouble with reality. He’s been living his life through his characters for so long, he’s losing site of the line between reality and fantasy. This will all come to a brutal head when he finds one of his female “fans” on the street one night in need of help, and his last grip on reality slips away with terrible consequences.

Monger and his female producer Laurie McFadden have defended the film against charges of misogyny saying that the Bannerman character did not hate women, that he in fact idealized them, but was unable to accept that they could never live up to the romanticized perception he kept of them in his mind, like some heroine he wrote of for his radio serials.That the film’s dramatic denouement could be interpreted as misogynistic, however, should come as no surprise to anyone, but if one steps away from the emotional reaction and perceives it as the end results of someone who was delusional from the start, the label of misogyny begins to fade.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Voice Over (and Repeater) have been newly remastered in high definition from the only complete surviving 16mm film elements…..The transfer work on both films was done at Deluxe 142 using a Spirit Datacine. Due to the age and unique nature of the film materials, there are instances of sparkle, dirt, and horizontal and vertical scratches throughout, as well as some hiss on the soundtrack. Digital restoration processes have been applied to eliminate and/or reduce some f these defects where possible without compromising the resulting image, but it has not been possible to remove them altogether.

The transfers for these films were overseen by director of photography Roland Denning and the arrive on Blu-ray from BFI in AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfers. Unfortunately, there is only so much of that BFI magic that can worked to restore these films without completely wiping out all remaining detail from he source that is pretty badly damaged to begin with. As far as I can see, BFI has done as well as they can to keep the image looking as naturalistic as possible, and that’s all one can ask for under these circumstances, but Voice Over (or the bonus Repeater) aren’t even close to looking like reference material.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The audio, provided here in LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/24-bit) also has its issues. Hiss is the least of the problems. It’s the sibilant distortions (excessive noise on “s” sounds) that becomes annoying. Again, there isn’t much that can be done without harming the audio, so with that taken under consideration, it doesn’t sound too bad at all.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

Only the companion film Repeater is supplied along with the DVD and another excellent booklet from the BFI.

The supplements:

  • Repeater (Christopher Monger; 1979) (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 01:14:27) — Deconstructed crime thriller inspired by the French New Wave in which a woman’s confession of murder is not as simple as it seems.
  • DVD
  • Booklet: 34-page illustrated booklet contains biographies, promotional materials, recollections by Christopher Monger and Ian McNeice and essays by Amy Simmons, and Roland Dennings.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Voice Over is certainly an interesting early film from Christopher Monger. If you’re going to make a splash as a filmmaker, what better way than to stir up a little controversy. Too bad it wasn’t very well kept and all we have today is this badly damaged print. Still, it’s worth having a look as the BFI have done the best they can with the materials at hand.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005HPQ7HS[/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:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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