Piano, The (UK - BD RB)
Marcus goes technical with The Piano Blu-ray but not for Harvey Keitel favours
Ada (Holly Hunter), a mute Scottish woman is sent to New Zealand with her daughter (Anna Paquin) for an arranged marriage to lonely landowner Stewart (Sam Neill). When she arrives with her beloved piano in tow, Stewart forces her to leave it on the beach rather than carry it through the jungle to his home. The estate manager, Baines (Harvey Keitel), watches and listens in amazement when Ada visits the beach to play and subsequently he makes a deal with Stewart to keep it at his own house. Baines is enchanted by both the piano and Ada and eventually makes a bargain of sexual favours whereby Ada can win back her much loved instrument.
The image is immediately dark, but in a good, even great way due to the deep black areas of the frame and crispness in the image. Grain is ripe throughout the opening credits and the image seems a bit soft at times but coming out of the credits there's an improvement and The Piano really begins to feel alive on Blu-ray.
The image has some nice moments of depth to it and provides an almost Gothic appearance at times with its deep black costumes and moody blue lighting. The image can also warm with impressive results and it brings with it the finer details. Holly Hunter’s freckled face looks fantastic in the stark lighting and the warmer tones bring faces to life consistently, both in the eyes, wrinkled faces and general details throughout.
The overall result here is a good, and often great image. It's sometimes quite gritty due to the grain layers but in a filmic way as opposed to anything disappointing or lacking with the disc. Dynamics range across a stylised use of colours such as blue and sunset oranges to a very natural looking affair. Yes, there's some softness at times and it’s not the perfect image but it’s a fine catalogue title and everything looks great despite the film’s age. In fact, the film style here is much more akin to a movie of the 2000s as opposed to the actual 1993 release and that makes the image feel much fresher.
The emotional and powerful score is well served from the outset. The layers are heard through the set up and sit well in the front and rear speakers. The dialogue sits in the centre speaker with a crisp sound, especially with the voiceovers and the sound effects as well as the general ambience around the mix sounds generates the required atmosphere. Some of the beach dialogue can sound a bit crushed by the sea and sometime hollow but this never holds back the score. This is a strong track and one that benefits the film’s emotional core in wonderful ways.
The commentary by Jane Campian and Jan Campion it thoughtful and insightful and this is continued (and sometimes repeated) in the ‘Interview with Jane and Jane Campion’ (76 minutes) which has the pair spoken to separately but the run time is full of great stories, metaphors and a fantastic insight into the film.
Next up is the original 'Making of' (15:10 SD) which is way more thoughtful than these things general muster and lastly there’s the trailer.
The Piano is a beautifully constructed film that’s emotional impact makes the story all the more successful. The film’s new home on Blu-ray is the best the film has looked and really makes for a pretty watch with its moody yet great looks. The score if obviously great and is presented well here and with a wealth of extras runtime wise, The Piano on Blu-ray is an all round success for the award winning film.
Note: The above images 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.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 19th May 2014
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Subtitles: English HoH
Extras: Commentary, Making of, Interviews, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Jane Campion
Cast: Holly Hunter, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin, Harvey Keitel
Length: 120 minutes
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