has an average rating of 5.7 on IMDb
1080p in VC-1 on a 25gb disc
PCM 5.1 & Dolby Digital 5.1
include featurettes & Digital Copy
– 106 minutes
– Anchor Bay (Starz)
This uses 18.5GB for the movie out of 20.8GB total.
Overall Verdict – Worth A Rental Fare
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself was Directed by Peter Hyams who decided to remake the film based on a 1956 film of the same title. Most folks know our Director (writer of the remake) from his directing credits on films like “2010: The Year We Make Contact” from 1984 and “End of Days” in 1999.
The film’s main character is a TV reporter named “C.J. Nicholas” (played by Jesse Metcalfe) who is romantically involved with a girl by the name of “Ella Crystal” (played by Amber Tamblyn). Ella is the assistant to the D.A. (District Attorney), a high profile lawyer by the name of “Mark Hunter” (played brilliantly here by Michael Douglas). Our lead character, the TV reporter, C.J. decides that his girlfriend’s boss (Hunter) is tampering with evidence to help secure his convictions so he decides to orchestrate an undercover expose (of sorts) by purposely framing himself for a random murder that he picks — because of it’s lack of evidence. This plan to do this expose on the corruption of the D.A. is backed up in the form of video documentation done by C.J.’s friend using a camcorder. They document him buying all of the evidence items (long after the murder has been committed). C.J. tells his friend to not use this footage unless it is needed to avoid a life sentence or death penalty when it comes time to see things out in court.
As you’d expect, this unfolds in the form of a courtroom drama but it isn’t as stereotypical as you’d think. Our lead character is arrested, after purposely covering himself in alcohol and crashing his car while intoxicated. C.J. tells his girlfriend Ella nothing about this so she is torn in what to believe when her boss, the D.A. Mark Hunter is set to convict her boyfriend. This is about all I can tell you about this film without really giving you any “spoilers” but I will say that it is rather enjoyable from start to finish and it does make you think “I guess that is probably what WOULD happen if you tried to do this to expose the corruption of someone”.
In closing, “Beyond A Reasonable Doubt” is a pretty decent crime drama that for the most part seems original in it’s plot (even though it is technically a remake of a 1956 film) and (still) sincere in it’s message (even as a remake 53 years later). Michael Douglas gives a great supporting performance here that is worth seeing if you are a fan of his work.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the VC-1 codec on a BD-25 (25 gigabyte single layer Blu-ray Disc) in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. As IMDb clearly states in their technical specifications for the aspect ratio, this was shot digitally in Hi-Def (HDTV) using the Red One camera. This camera usually turns out some really impressive material but here it does show off some of the weaker aspects of the camera such as a soft tone, namely due to dim lighting conditions and some obvious pixilation on lines that leads me to believe DNR (digital noise reduction) was applied in post-production or in the Hi-Def transfer for this release. The amount of detail is blurred a tiny bit by this as well, which leads me to saying that it does appear again, soft in its tone as some obvious use of EE (edge enhancement) is evidently visible, likely used to try to make up for the blur but only leads to emphasizing the flaws. By now, it should be needless to say this is not one of the best looking of the ever-growing catalog of films shot on the Red One camera but it does deliver a somewhat decent Hi-Def presentation for the most part. Some positive aspects of the Hi-Def visual presentation though include a somewhat solid black level, accurate fleshtones and a somewhat vibrant color palette — even if it does obviously seem dull and subdued at times. There is undoubtedly a good amount of detail found here because of this being shot in Hi-Def on the Red One camera, especially in close-ups but this detail can be lost to the DNR as I discussed above.
I’ll end my opinions of the video quality with the flaws aside and say that this earns a somewhat decent “3.5 Star Rating” for overall video quality. However — some films look great shot in Hi-Def digitally, specifically on this particular camera but in this case, I honestly think the film would have looked much better shot on traditional 35mm film.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in Uncompressed Linear PCM 5.1 & Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround @640kbps. Dialogue is most important in this crime drama aside from the music that makes up the score and the sound effects (Foley) but sadly the dialogue here has some issues. At times the dialogue being delivered (in the audio mix) does not match up with the lips of the actors on screen (visually) which leads me to believing that a majority of the film has been “dubbed”. This can be very distracting at times, I found personally, but this does not mean you will have to make any volume adjustments throughout the film — the dialogue is at the right volume, it just does not match up to the video footage 100% of the film. I would say in actuality, this issue with the dialogue not matching up to the lips happens only probably about 5 to 10 percent of the film but it is enough to be distracting and honestly, downright bothersome and hurts the overall audio presentation (as I’ll discuss further below). Whoever was in charge of the microphone boom and sound editing here has some blame to hold for these problems. Flaws aside (again here, just like with video quality), the audio mix here does however contain some positive points. For instance the LFE near the end of the film is very climactic and builds up a great roar from your subwoofer to get you into the action happening on screen.
Overall, this gets a decent “3.5 Star Rating” for audio quality. It is a shame about the flaws in the dialogue due to obvious dubbing issues and I have to admit I did “knock” the score because of that; even though this is not the fault in any way of the good folks at Anchor Bay (Starz).
Bonus materials are presented in Hi-Def (HD) video quality using the VC-1 codec and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound @224kbps — unless otherwise noted below in the description.
- Digital Copy is included on this release which is compatible with PC and Windows Media portable devices. Sadly no support for Mac or iTunes here.
- Audio Commentary by Writer / Cinematographer / Director Peter Hyams and Actor Jesse Metcalfe
- “The Whole Truth – The Making of Beyond A Reasonable Doubt” (3:12 – HD)
- “Criminal Forensics – The Burden of Proof” (3:39 – HD) while not quite as elaborate and interesting as an episode of “C.S.I.” this does prove to be somewhat informative and worth the watch.
- Trailer (2:02 – HD) for the film is presented and features Uncompressed Linear PCM 5.1 Surround sound @4.6Mbps.
Overall, the bonus materials are somewhat rewarding for fans. The audio commentary with Peter Hyams and star Jesse Metcalfe is definitely worth listening to, the “making of” and forensics featurettes are both worth watching as well. The inclusion of a digital copy is nice, despite lacking Mac and iTunes support. The supplemental material here seems a bit way too short in my honest opinion but does hold a few somewhats enjoyable featurettes as well as the audio commentary mentioned earlier.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.