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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - October, 2011

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"The Hour" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Stephen Hornbrook

movie-october-2011-thehour

Synopsis

BBC reporters Bel Rowley (Romola Garai) and Freddie Lyon (Ben Whishaw) are given the opportunity to escape their jobs producing dull newsreels and work on a new, weekly investigative news program. The interplay and intense ambitions between the rising news team plays out against the backdrop of a rivalry between Freddie and lead anchorman Hector Madden (Dominic West) for Bel's affections. But it's only when Freddie has a chance encounter with a childhood friend, Ruth Elms, that he is thrust into the middle of a mysterious murder along with a controversial and dangerous investigation.  The mini-series begins with the murder of an unknown man which then unravels a ball of conspiracy yarn upon the young, ambitious reporter, Freddie Lyon.

Specifications

  • BBC
  • 2011, Color, Not Rated, 344 Minutes
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • 1080i
  • English Stereo 2.0 LPCM
  • Starring: Ben Whishaw, Anna Chancellor, Anton Lester, Romola Garai, Dominic West
  • Directed by Harry Bradbeer, Coky Giedroyc, Jamie Payne
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

Going into The Hour I had no idea what to expect. Turns out that The Hour is a suitable mix of Mad Men and a bit of the behind-the-scene intrigue of The West Wing, but set in 1950's England. The show is centered around a new nightly news program looking to be the top dog of edgy reporting. The Hour takes place in 1956 during the Suez Crisis, a war fought by the UK, France and Israel against Egypt.  I was actually blown away by the production values of this show.  It never felt like I was watching a TV show, but rather a well made motion picture. The sets, costuming, acting, and photography were of a very high level. The photography alone really grabbed my attention, with its beautiful, richly composed shots. Dominic West does an excellent job at his schmarmy character and Ben Whishaw makes for a very intriguing character.  After a couple episodes, my wife and I were hooked on this show and I definitely recommend giving it a chance. The Blu-ray presentation makes for a wonderful viewing experience.

Technical

As I mentioned above, The Hour is shot beautifully with excellent contrast and a wonderful color palette. Don’t be taken aback by its technical stats, as the 1080i transfer is very well done. 

With just a 2.0 soundtrack, it serves the purpose just fine, but it won’t be rocking your home theater. I was actually a bit surprised at how nice the audio presentation was. The classical and period jazz that fill the background sound quite nice.

Extras

Creating The Hour - Set Design Piece, Behind the scenes of The Hour.