Blu-ray Review: ‘Footnote’

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Blu-ray Review: ‘Footnote’
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Lior Ashkenazi and Shlomo Bar-Abba in the Israeli film Footnote

"Footnote," the Israeli film that received the Best Foreign Language Film nomination at the 84th Academy Awards, releases on a single-disc Blu-ray package. This 2011 moral parable by Joseph Cedar garnered the prestigious Best Film Award at the Israeli Film Academy, along with eight other wins and three nominations. It also received the Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival, along with a Palme d'Or nomination.

This quintessential character film examines the lives of two dedicated academicians' strained relationship, a career of meaningless research and repeated rejection, a man's thirst for recognition, and the dichotomy between admiration and envy. It centers on the rivalry story of a father and son, two eccentric professors in a university in Jerusalem. The spiteful father is a stubborn purist who has grown bitter and resentful of the society's unwilling take on his lifelong contributions to his field. Meanwhile, the more charismatic son, a man with a more modern approach to research, has a penchant for accolades.

Visuals

"Footnote" delivers a satisfying transfer with gorgeous color reproduction and respectably clear and accurate visuals. Its muted palette is frequently tinged with blue and teal hues. The competent scenes are not always very sharp, but tight shots often reveal solid details, especially in facial features.

Black levels are consistently rich, especially in night shots. Even with limited lighting, shadow details remain adequate with above-average delineation. No notable artifacts, banding, blocking, edge enhancement, and other visual anomalies plague the picture.

Audio

This potent character study presents a five-channel lossless Hebrew soundtrack, along with an alternative five-channel material dubbed in Portuguese. The mix provides excellent spatial dimension and channel separation, along with limited but imaginative surround activity. Its lavish score showcases music cues that often highlight the story's varying comedic and dramatic beats.

The well-engineered track does this dialogue-driven film justice through its inventive and multi-layered mix. Its front-loaded perspective is generously spacious with pleasant and immersive elements that contribute much to the story's key moments. Overall, this lifelike presentation is exquisitely detailed with naturally flowing dialogue and without hints of serious distortion and other crucial audio problems.

Supplements

This Blu-ray edition contains the featurettes "Behind the Scenes of Joseph Cedar's Film: Footnote," "An Evening with Joseph Cedar," and "Footnote Soundtrack." The first video is presented in SD format, while the second and third are both in HD. The film's HD trailer wraps up the disc's supplements. Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

Final Thoughts

"Footnote" is a deceptively simple but well-crafted narrative revolving around the concepts of truth and compassion. Amidst some abrupt tonal shifts, its amusingly clever script still effectively raises many thought-provoking questions as its ethical struggles aptly explore the absurdity and emotional impact of pride and tension in a relationship. Ironic, humorous, and absorbing, its central moral dilemma rests on its densely packed layers of gray. With balanced, heartfelt, and intense characterizations, it presents a darkly funny twist to the story's familial dynamics in between its clever comedy and heartbreaking drama.

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