How important can a leading star be?
This film lives or dies on the performance of one man, Denzel Washington and his performance is phenomenal and as a result the movie shines. It's great when an actor who is forever the good guy decides its time to be bad. You'll loath Alonzo Harris from the first moment you see him and Denzel knows it, he could cut you down with only a stare. The Best Actor Oscar was royally deserved.
This is a slow burner of a movie which pays huge respect to the power of character development. You will feel yourself getting slowly drawn in and by the start of the final act the tension is severely cranked up. Ethan Hawke plays it straight and you will sympathise him for the films entirety.
This film seems to get better and better with repeated viewing. I'm surprised this wasn't more of a hit when first released, I always recommend it and am yet to find anyone who isn't approving of it.
A few stars of the music scene arrive, Macey Gray, Dr Dre and Snoop Dog. It's as if the director called in some favours to give the movie some urban coolness, well it doesn't need it, they detract your attention slightly as you start wondering who will turn up next.
This film is all about Denzel and I believe this could well be the role and performance that he will forever be remembered for.
Warner Brothers have granted this movie with an MPEG-2 encoded, 2.36:1 framed, 1080p transfer onto a 25GB Blu-ray Disc of decent to good quality.
This is a very early Blu-ray transfer and would benefit from a more recent codec being used like an AVC or VC. That said it fairs pretty well. It's definitely worthy of a DVD upgrade. Clarity, detail and definition are greatly improved and the colour contrast is a big plus too.
Film grain is hardly noticeable. Textures and object detail are good but the overall image is softer than more recently processed transfers. Skin textures and tones appear very true and lifelike.
The daylight scenes, as always with HD, fare the best with only the darker scenes showing some signs of struggle. Darks and shadows could be richer and on occasion some do take on a more dark grey appearance.
Edge enhancement has been utilised but only on one or two moments and is barely a problem, I didn't detect any moments of compression or digital artifacting.
The print is immaculate with not a moment of damage anywhere.
All in all this is a good transfer which for most will be more than acceptable and when considering its only an MPEG-2 it's actually very good.
Film 5/5 Transfer 3.5/5