Featured In Issue 140, May/June 2009

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Miramax Home Entertainment
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Thematic material
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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John Patrick Shanley
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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Set in 1964 at St. Nicholas Church in the Bronx, Father Brendan Flynn's (Hoffman) progressive views and charismatic presence have won him the respect and admiration of the congregation. At the parish school, Principal Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Streep) keeps her students in line with old-fashioned fear and intimidation. When young Sister James (Adams) shares with Sister Aloysius her concern that Father Flynn has "taken an interest" in 12-year-old Donald Miller (Joseph Foster II), the school's "first Negro student," the older nun launches her own investigation. Determined to protect every one of her charges, Sister Aloysius attempts to use the evidence she discovers to have Flynn removed from the school. Doubt covers the spectrum of truth, emotion, and belief and asks if any decision is ever free of doubt. Based on the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play by John Patrick Shanley, the film was nominated for five Academy Awards®. (Gary Reber)

Special features include audio commentary by Writer/Director John Patrick Shanley, an intimate discussion with the cast and crew on the evolution of the film from real life to stage and finally screen (HD 19:09), the cast speaks (SD 13:53), Composer Howard Shore discusses his inspiration for the music (SD 04:40), the documentary Sisters Of Charity (SD 06:28), plus up-front previews.

The 1.86:1 1080p AVC picture is stylized and exhibits a filtered character to create a dated presence. The picture has a dim, grayish cast, but blacks are deep and solid and shadows are nicely delineated. The color palette is dark with subdued hues. Fleshtones are generally natural but a bit desaturated. Resolution is wanting overall, exhibiting generally soft imagery. The picture exhibits slight grain, but the effect is to soften and date the imagery. The picture complements the grim, depressed storytelling and works to enhance the feeling. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack sounds a bit subdued, though, the orchestral music score is presented on a wide and deep soundstage. Levels are often low, though, there is generally always an enveloping surround presence. Dialogue can be nicely integrated spatially but also quite forward sounding and disconnected, revealing the production and ADR sound technique employed, Except for some thundershowers, the .1 LFE channel is not used. Overall, this is not a forceful or energized soundtrack, but its character serves the storytelling well. (Gary Reber)