Burn After Reading appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a somewhat drab but usually good presentation.
Sharpness mostly worked fine. A few soft shots materialized, but the majority of the film brought us competent accuracy and delineation.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. I also detected no signs of print flaws.
Colors also seemed more than acceptable. The film’s palette tended toward a cool amber or teal feel, and those elements appeared well-reproduced.
Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows showed positive delineation. No one will use this as a demo image, but the movie showed pretty positive visuals.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Burn wasn’t great, but it seemed competent, as most of the movie focused on general ambience. The front and rears speakers added a decent sense of place, and a few louder elements like thunder occasionally added a little zest to the proceedings.
Music also boasted nice stereo delineation. However, the film’s scope remained limited, so we didn’t get much to make the mix stand out from the crowd.
Audio quality appeared fine. Speech showed good delineation and clarity, as the lines remained natural.
Effects didn’t have much to do, but they offered acceptable accuracy and life. Music worked best, as the score seemed dynamic and full. Nothing here turned this into a great mix, but it deserved a “B-”.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio offered a bit more oomph, though the limited nature of the soundscape held back the improvements.
Visuals proved more effective, though, as the Blu-ray offered superior colors, accuracy and smoothness. The DVD looked semi-ugly, so this became a clear upgrade.
Only a few extras accompany Burn. Finding the Burn runs five minutes, 31 seconds as it presents notes from writers/directors/producers Joel and Ethan Coen and actors Frances McDormand, George Clooney, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, and Richard Jenkins.
“Finding” looks at the project’s story and a few aspects of the shoot. It falls into the category of “promotional featurette” and provides few insights. Fans might give it a look for some shots from the set, but they’ll learn almost nothing about the production.
For the 12-minute, 24-second DC Insiders Run Amok, we hear from Joel and Ethan Coen, Jenkins, McDormand, Clooney, Swinton, Malkovich, costume designer Mary Zophres, and production designer Jess Gonchor. “Amok” examines cast, characters and performances, sets and locations.
“Amok” definitely provides more substance than “Finding”, especially when we hear from Zophres, as she offers some nice notes about the visual design for some characters. The piece never becomes terribly substantial, but it includes a few decent insights.
Welcome Back George goes for two minutes, 51 seconds. It features Joel and Ethan Coen, Clooney, Malkovich, and Zophres.
“George” works just like the character aspects of “Amok” except it concentrates solely on Clooney’s role. Why not include this snippet as part of “Amok”? I don’t know. It’s interesting but it has no reason to stand on its own.
The Coen brothers’ Burn After Reading delivers moderate charm but ultimately disappoints. While it boasts a great cast and creates intrigue in its first half, it sputters too much after that. The Blu-ray offers generally good picture and audio along with minor supplements. Reading becomes lackluster Coens.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of BURN AFTER READING