WSR Score5
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Paramount Home Entertainment
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Ava DuVernay
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Selma is the powerful depiction of the 1960’s American civil rights movement with the incredible story of how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Oyelowo) led the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to secure equal voting rights in an event that forever altered history. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the legendary march. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary by Director Ava DuVernay, and Actor David Oyelowo, commentary by DuVernay, Cinematographer Bradford Young, and Editor Spencer Averick; the featurettes The Road To Selma (HD 13:16) and Re-creating Selma (HD 26:29); the “Glory” music video featuring John Legend and Common (HD 03:10); historical newsreels (SD 05:16); a photo gallery; six deleted and extended scenes (HD 29:43); National Voting Rights Museum and Institute (HD 07:50); Selma Student Tickets: Donor Appreciation (HD 02:57); a Selma Discussion Guide; and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture was photographed in the Hawk Scope anamorphic format using the Arri Alexa XT digital camera system. The imagery is warmly rendered with a generally natural color palette under a dramatically darkened setting that casts a dull overall image. Hues are well balanced in both bright and dark scenes, though, they lack vibrancy. There is no exaggeration, but the hues are somewhat subdued and earthy. Fleshtones reveal natural facial features against stylish lighting to highlight the photography composition. Often scenes are dark, yet contrast is effectively balanced and shadows are revealing. Black levels are consistent but never really black. Instead they appear murky but still contrast against the lighting highlights, Resolution is excellent, with fine detail revealed throughout, especially during facial close-ups as well as clothing and object texture. This is a powerfully dramatic visual experience that is emotionally wrenching as it graphically depicts the courageous struggle of the negro race to gain human respect and equal rights. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is superb and perfectly complements the dramatization of the struggle. There is a wonderful balance between the dialogue and the backdrop of nuanced and not-so-nuanced atmospherics using quiet discussions and loud public speeches. Sound effects are perfectly enhanced during the more violent segments with clubbings and beatings, an explosion, and gunshot sounds. Dialogue is powerful and impressively integrated spatially with a naturalness that is moving. The orchestral music score is beautifully recorded and spans the soundfield with nuanced reverberation in the surrounds. The music is nuanced and at times dynamic and energized in the surrounds, and the song “Glory” is so very moving. At times the surrounds deliver crowd voices that are directionalized during the various marches. This is at times an emotionally holosonic® soundtrack that conveys grief and sadness and yet is uplifting in the outcome. (Gary Reber)