- Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Region: A
- Rating: R
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Image Entertainment
- Release Date: December 15, 2009
- List Price: $35.98
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The Other Man is all tedious drama that in the end offers no real payoff to its viewers. Directed by Richard Eyers (Notes on a Scandal) and adapted from a Bernhard Schlink short story, The Other Man tells the story of a husband (Liam Neeson) who discovers his wife’s (Laura Linney) infidelities after she disappears without leaving word of her whereabouts one day.
While snooping through the emails on her computer Peter, the owner of a successful software firm near Cambridge, England, uncovers his wife Lisa, a designer of high-end shoes, had an affair and he enlists the IT security specialist from his firm to help him track the email address to an address in Milan to a man named Ralph (Antonio Banderas). He becomes enraged at the idea of his wife having had this affair. Things are made even worse when he manages to open a password-protected folder of photographs on her computer showing her cavorting with Ralph.
Obsessed with finding Ralph and uncovering all the unsavory details of how his wife, whom he believed he was happily married to for 25-years, could have cheated on him with this man, Peter leaves for Milan with the idea of killing Ralph. When he arrives, however, he instead ensnares Ralph in a false friendship, playing confrontational games of chess — an obvious metaphor — while Ralph reveals little bits of his relationship with Lisa. As the film shows collages of flashbacks, it is slowly revealed that Ralph is not the wealthy international playboy that he pretends to be, but it also reveals the truth about where Lisa has really gone in a most unsatisfactory plot twist that leaves the whole first three quarters of the film completely obsolete.
What happens after this maddeningly frustrating twist in the story means that all of the build-up and overwrought drama (Neeson’s Peter comes across like a lunatic who one wonders why no one has notified law enforcement on) that has taken place up to that point is rendered moot and viewers are left with a sense of being cheated. The hastily tacked on ending then has the feeling of a second film, because the actions of the characters through the first parts do not add up to the conclusion whatsoever. This is not suspenseful or thrilling, it’s just bad writing.
Not even the trio of A-class actors can save the dismal banality of The Other Man. Antonio Banderas’ Latin playboy with piercing eyes and a hint of danger is well-played and probably the best part of the film, but Laura Linney is unfortunately underused while Neeson spends the whole film teetering on the brink of a poorly explained insanity.
There have been much better films dealing with the subject of marital infidelities, both seriously and in an exploitative way, such as Fatal Attraction and Indecent Proposal or even Eyers’ own Notes on a Scandal, but The Other Man is just dull, pretentious, and downright insulting.
The Other Man arrives on Blu-ray in a 2.40:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encoding from Image Entertainment. The film’s color palette is rather muted, so The Other Man will certainly not leap from your screen and dazzle with its presentation. Also, whether it is artistic intention or a consequence of this transfer, overall brightness is set quite high. The end result of this is that there is a very strong amount of shadow detail, but the picture looks washed out, and blacks are very greyish and show high amounts of grain and noise.
The source for The Other Man does look clean, as is to be expected, and there are no compression artifacts such as blocking or posterization nor are there post-processing issues such as edge enhancement present.
The sole audio option provided on The Other Man is an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack. It offers sufficient amounts of low-level ambient effects in the surround channels and clean dialogue, but the dialogue-driven mix is rather boring and stagnant otherwise.
The supplements on The Other Man are slight giving the release a barebones feel. What is provided is not really very compelling either. Much of it feels tacked on, like an afterthought just to fulfill the obligation of having supplementary materials on a home video release.
The supplements provided on this release are:
- Audio Commentary with Director Richard Eyre — Eyre’s style of commentary is rather dry and he takes a very detailed approach, getting very bogged down in the technical minutiae of how each scene was filmed.
- Interviews — These brief interview segments find the actors and director simply examining their character and story motivation and briefly recalling their time spent working on the production:
- Liam Neeson (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:03.54)
- Antonio Banderas (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:06.59)
- Laura Linney (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:03.13)
- Romola Garai (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:02.46)
- Richard Eyre (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:07.16)
- Trailer (2.35:1; 480i/60)
The Definitive Word
Unless you want to feel cheated out of 90-minutes of your life, you might want to avoid this terribly thought out drama on infidelity from Richard Eyres despite its star-studded cast. Although the Blu-ray transfer is clean and free from artifacts, it is only second-tier in comparison to other new-release titles and its barebones nature means it is no value either.