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When Did You Last See Your Father?

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For Sexual Content, Thematic Material and Brief Strong Language)

Running Time: 92 Minutes

Starring: Jim Broadbent, Colin Firth, Juliet Stevenson, Gina McKee, Sarah Lancashire, Elaine Cassidy, Claire Skinner, Matthew Beard

Screenplay by: David Nichollis
Based on the book by: Blake Morrison

Directed by: Anand Tucker

 

Studio: Sony

Retail Price: $28.96

Features: Audio Commentary with Director Anand Tucker, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (28 Scenes)

Released: November 4th, 2008


 

 

"When Did You Last See Your Father?" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a very crisp, film-like transfer that looks lovely overall. Fleshtones hit the spot and are accurate, detail is excellent and colors are well-saturated and very warm - be it in scenes that take place in restaurants or some fantastic exterior shots. The flaws in the transfer are noticeable, but are not always too distracting. First and foremost are the abundance of edge halos. There's also edge enhancement, and a softness that persists at times. Still, the film looks quite good, and the many positive attributes of the transfer overcome the negative ones.


 

"When Did You Last See Your Father?" is given a English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Much like the film itself, this one is very low-key. The film is very dialogue driven, and as a result, that's the main "action" when it comes to the sounds. But the dialogue in this mix is very clear, and is always audible. Subwoofer use is non-existent, while dyanmic range is predictably small. Still, there are some nice subtle surrounds - such as crowds in key scenes, which lends itself to a warm ambience. Also lending to a warm ambience is the classy score from Barrington Pheloung, which is also mixed through the channels. In all, this is a track that won't shake any home theater, but is more than suitable for what's happening in the story. Well done.

There are subtitles in French and Spanish, and English - but only for Anand Tucker's audio commentary. For proper English subtitles for the actual film, there are English closed captions available through your TV set. 
 




Not too much, but what's here is very satisfying. The main course in the extras is the fantastic Audio Commentary by Director Anand Tucker. Name a topic, and Tucker covers it. Tucker discusses the film's characters and themes, and even relates it a little to his own life and his own father. Tucker also touches upon how the film had trouble finding finance, his introduction to the material, that Blake Morrison's original book made him cry and also how to take what is a personal story and make it cinematic. Tucker speaks in a very warm and friendly manner, but also with a very appealing quiet confidence. Also impressively, there are no dead spots in this commentary. Anyone who enjoyed the film should give Tucker's comments a list.

There are also seven Deleted Scenes in non-anamorphic widescreen, five of which feature Optional Commentary with Tucker and what seems to be a woman... perhaps producer Elizabeth Karlsen? In any case, the scenes are rather short - totaling only a little over 8 minutes. There are some interesting moments, but as usual, nothing that is desperately needed for the film. Tucker and his companion discuss the context of the scenes, and reasons the cuts.

Rounding out the disc is the original Theatrical Trailer.

 

"When Did You Last See Your Father?" is a well-rounded character study, with universal themes of family that pretty much anyone can relate to. The film looks and sounds nice on DVD, but the real highlight of the disc is the wonderful commentary from director Anand Tucker. I hope this film gets discovered on DVD, and with that said, this makes for a great rental.