- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
- Region: A (Region-Locked)
- Rating: R
- Run Time: 162 Mins.
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: Miramax/Lionsgate
- Blu-ray Release Date: January 31, 2012
- List Price: $19.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Mark me down as one of the people who can’t seem to figure out what all the fuss is or was about The English Patient. While I have nothing against a good romance every now and then and I cannot deny director Anthony Minghella’s (Cold Mountain; The Talented Mr. Ripley) way with the camera, I just find The English Patient to be one long melodramatic bore – an unrealistic World War II love story bordering on fantasy.
The story tells of a World War II nurse (Juliette Binoche) who has a tendency to fall in love with her patients that ends up having to care for a badly disfigured mystery patient (Ralph Fiennes). The film then tells the man’s story, from the 1930’s through the Second World War, as a series of flashbacks as he lay on his deathbed. What is revealed is a romantic drama involving an ill-fated love affair with a beautiful married woman (Kristin Scott Thomas), political intrigue, heartbreak, and betrayal.
Strip away the lavish cinematography of the Sahara from John Seale and the sweeping, sugary score by Gabriel Yared, and all there is left to The English Patient is a contrived war-time romance with lots of longing looks, stolen kisses, and not much else.
The English Patient was previously released on Blu-ray in the UK for Miramax by StudioCanal. Rest assured that this Lionsgate Miramax release is vastly superior. Where the UK release had obvious compression artifacts and video noise, a cooler looking color palette, hot white levels and narrower contrast, this U.S. Release has a much more natural looking grain structure, a natural looking color palette with rich midtones, and wider contrast. The image looks mostly clean, although there are some instances where source damage crops up. In some places the image still looks a bit soft and this is still hardly a reference quality catalogue release, but I do urge all the region-free capable people out there who may have been considering the StudioCanal release to pass it up for this one.
(Editor’s Note: Read our The English Patient [UK Release] Blu-ray Review
This release of The English Patient is supplied with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that is particularly bombastic in the early war sequences, with explosions that are big and weighty supported by somewhat extended low frequencies and lots of activity in the surrounds. The rest of the film is more relaxed, however, with more concentration on the front soundstage, but still supported by a lavish amount of atmospherics like birds chirping and so forth in the surround channels. The sweeping score has a good amount of dynamics to breathe and dialogue is clean and intelligible.
Much of the production featurettes and audio commentaries on here are still the same DVD and even laserdisc-era stuff that has been ported-over to Blu-ray. There are no new HD features. Also, all but a few of these have previously been released on the UK Miramax/StudioCanal Blu-ray release as well.
- Commentary with Director Anthony Minghella
- Commentary with Director and Screenwriter Anthony Minghella, Producer Saul Zaentz, and English Patient author Michael Ondaatje
- About Michael Ondaatje (1.33:1; SD):
- His Writing Roots
- The Booker Prize and Canadian Following
- The Challenge of Turning the Novel into a Film
- About Writing the Novel
- Reading from the Novel
- From Novel to Screenplay – Interviews with Cast and Crew (1.33:1; SD; 00:07:09)
- The Formidable Saul Zaentz (1.33:1; SD; 00:01:59)
- A Historical Look at the Real Count Almásy (1.33:1; SD; 00:08:18)
- Filmmaker Conversations (1.33:1; SD):
- A Conversation with Screenwriter and Director Anthony Minghella
- A Conversation with Producer Saul Zaentz
- A Conversation with Writer Michael Ondaatje
- A Conversation with Film Editor Walter Murch
- The Work of Stuart Craig – Production Designer (1.33:1; SD; 00:03:57)
- The Eyes of Phil Bray – Still Photographer (1.33:1; SD; 00:02:50)
- Master Class with Anthony Minghella – Deleted Scenes (1.33:1; SD; 00:59)
- CBC Documentary: Making of The English Patient (1.33:1; SD; 00:53:01)
The Definitive Word
As I’ve said before, I’m not and probably never will be on The English Patient bandwagon, regardless of how many awards or other praises this film has garnered. At least this latest Miramax Blu-ray edition of the film is actually worth spending money on for fans of the award-winning film.
Additional Screen Captures
- The English Patient [UK Release] Blu-ray Review
- Cold Mountain Blu-ray Review
- The Talented Mr. Ripley [UK Release] Blu-ray Review