Duplicity, Blu-ray (2009)

by | Sep 14, 2009 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Duplicity, Blu-ray (2009)

Starring: Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Giamatti
Director: Tony Gilroy
Studio: Universal 61105480 [Release date: Aug. 25, 09]
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9, 1080p HD
Audio: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1; English, Spanish DTS 5.1, English DD 2.0
Extras: Audio commentary, BD Live content
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Feature Length: 125 minutes
Rating: ***

Writer and director Tony Gilroy has carved out quite a name for himself recently; he wrote the screenplays for the three highly successful Bourne films, and he wrote and directed Michael Clayton – he really seems to have a knack for movies that abound in action, suspense and intrigue. And that continues with his latest film, Duplicity; Gilroy also wrote and directed here, and while not exactly an action film, it takes the heavy intrigue this time around into the arena of corporate espionage.

Julia Roberts and Clive Owen play two spies who have a long-term ongoing relationship; however, instead of their usual entanglement in matters of national security, they’re now battling each other to obtain the secrets of big business. The chemistry between Julia Roberts and Clive Owen often sizzles as the multi-layered story line seriously jumps about from their ongoing romance to the struggle they each engage in as their industry bosses pit them against each other. I have to confess, for what is essentially a romantic comedy, this film has a pretty complex story line, and I had to hit the rewind button a few times to successfully follow the onscreen action. Veteran actors Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti play the Madison Avenue bosses who are pulling the strings of both Roberts and Owen, and they all turn in memorable performances as the struggle between them deepens through a seemingly never-ending series of double crosses.

Technically, this Blu-ray is close to reference quality, and offered one of the most eye-popping visual presentations I’ve recently seen. The video is stunningly good, with brilliant color representation and sharp highly detailed images. I couldn’t detect any type of artifacting or edge enhancement going on at all, and the image contrast was also excellent, with really deep black levels present. And the good work on the video side thankfully carries over to the audio presentation; the DTS HD Master Audio track offered a highly detailed and immersive surround experience. And while there weren’t any bombs or explosions or such to test your subwoofer, normal street sounds of the city and the subway did regularly employ enough deep bass to give the Blu-ray an impressive sense of realism throughout.

In terms of the overall package, however, this Universal Blu-ray release is seriously lacking; most every run-of-the-mill Blu-ray release that comes out nowadays is loaded with making-of featurettes, interviews, publicity stills, deleted scenes – you get the picture. This release comes with none of those, save for an audio commentary with director Tony Gilroy and co-producer John Gilroy – come on, Universal! Do you really think that anyone other than the most die-hard of fans spends much time accessing what’s frequently a limited BD-Live offering? Give us the extras along with the movie, which at this price point (SRP $39.98!) ought to include a second disc loaded with bonus materials! Recommended – the movie presentation is excellent, just don’t expect anything else.

— Tom Gibbs


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