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Liam Neeson stars in this historical drama written and directed by Neil Jordan. Set in 1916, the film follows the story of Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins (Neeson), telling of his struggle to release Ireland from British rule in the 1920s, his love affair with Kitty Kiernan (Julia Roberts) and political struggles with Sinn Fein president Eamon De Valera (Alan Rickman).[ Offical Synopsis]

Video


The HD upgrade here is notcied immediately. The age of the film (20 years old already??!) is still felt in a sense but the sharp edges, the strong lighting and bold colours make this one feel as fresh as the day it was released.

The film has a colour style, largely a blue one early in the film but skips between greyer cold tones and warmer orange tones throughout the film but none of that really holds back or overpowers the natural skin tones or the general realism of film. The black levels here boost those nice edges and adds so much to the detail in costumes and sets alike. Lighting throughout the film is classic in style and of course shows off in an HD realm, extremly well in fact, especially when it's at its most romantic.

Wider shots of crowds in natural daylight look pretty great. Individual faces pop out of the crowd and there's absolutely no sense that a softness to the image. All in all, I wasn't expecting the presentation here to be this solid to be honest. I expected a slight boost as this is a rather niche catalogue title as opposed to a much loved classic but this looks more like a full overhaul, with no dirt, no corner cutting and generally an all round pretty looking HD image.

Audio


The explosive opening scene is strong and powerful and when the gunfire dies down and the score does the heavier of the lifting, that too is impressively stong and drives the film on.

Dialogue is clean and central throughout. It's a bit dated and small sounding at times but this is only a minor thing within the well layered mix that uses subtle elements in the rear speakers, such as steam engines, car engines or livestock to fill out the world of the film.

Crowd scenes work well and grow with the tension, small moments sound personal and of course raised voices up everything a notch. The track isnt particulalry bass driven but it still has a nice bit of power to it that is called upon when needed.

Extras



The Neil Jordan commentary track is like a history lesson running alongside the film. He skims along behind the scenes film moments as well but the focus her is filling out the true story elements that the film is based on.

'In Conversation With Neil Jordan (04:43 HD) is a short butsweet chat with the director.

The 'South Bank Show' special (51:11 SD) is an episode of the old ITV show that took at look at the makingof the film.

Last up on the disc is the Trailer and Deleted Scenes.

Overall


Watching Michael Collins really highlighted that they dont really make films like this anymore. Back in the 90s these sorts of things seemed to roll around once or twice a year but this style of film seems to have disapeared a fair bit now but then I guess even its star Liam Neeson doesnt exactly have the same career he did then either. The film is level headed, focused and extremly engaging without showboating or playing on the nastier side of the events more than it has to.

The disc itself is very nice to look at, the audio compliments that and theres a solid slice of extras too. All in all this is a pretty great catlaogue release.

* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.

 Michael Collins
 Michael Collins
 Michael Collins
 Michael Collins
 Michael Collins
 Michael Collins


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