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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - August, 2011

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"Brazil" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen

movie-august-2011-brazil

Synopsis

Brazil takes place in an unnamed country, with a government that is reminiscent of Big Brother in 1984, only a bit more inept.  Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is a low level employee who deals with lots of paperwork and frequently slips off into daydreams.  Often he dreams about a woman that he is to save.  When a fly causes a typo, leading to the incarceration and execution of the wrong person, he is sent out to remedy the situation.

Upon visiting the family of the deceased, he finds the woman of his dreams to be living upstairs.  As she was the one that reported that the wrong person had been arrested, the bumbling government now considers her a possible terrorist as well and is out to get her.  Of course, the real terrorist (Robert DeNiro) is still out there, and has to be found by Sam as well.

Specifications

  • Universal Studios
  • 1985, Color, Rate R, 2 Hr 12 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Jonathan Pryce, Robert DeNiro
  • Directed by Terry Gilliam
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

Summarizing a film from Terry Gilliam is an exercise in frustration, as the absurdity that springs forth from his films can best be explained only by watching them.  Brazil was originally released in the US with a totally different cut than the rest of the world, and a happy ending that Gilliam did not enjoy.  Thankfully this Blu-ray restores most of his original vision to the screen and make for a much more enjoyable film.  Brazil is a very bizarre film, but one that is worth watching.

Technical

While some shots are a bit soft, and there is a fine level of grain present for most of the film, this is pretty standard for films from the 80’s that are released on Blu-ray.  All the details of the original film seem to come across, though there are some scenes that are sharper than others.  Overall this is a nice image, but not an extraordinary one.

Audio has been upgraded to a lossless surround track, and while most of the audio is still focused on the front there is some use of the surround channels.  Dialog comes through relatively clear, and overall does a nice job.

Extras

Nothing.  Given the wonderful DVD set that Criterion has put out, it’s a shame they couldn’t license that, or have a branching version with the original “Love Conquers All” cut of the film.