The Commitments appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The image held up reasonably well.
For the most part, sharpness worked well, as much of the movie showed nice clarity and accuracy. Interiors could be a little fuzzy but not to a substantial degree. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and source flaws were minor. I noticed a small speck or two but nothing more.
Colors seemed adequate. Commitments went with a drab palette much of the time, so it didn’t feature a lot of tones. Nonetheless, the elements we got looked solid. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows delivered smooth material. I felt the transfer reproduced the source reasonably well.
The film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundfield generally provided a forward emphasis and those elements were accentuated with a moderate amount of general ambience. The soundscape featured street sounds and plenty of music, of course, but it didn’t present an especially involving array.
The surrounds failed to add much. Even during scenes where the track could’ve provided involvement – such as a rainstorm – the material focused on the front and did little with the back speakers.
Audio quality seemed good. Speech was clear and concise, with no edginess or other issues. Effects appeared clean and accurate, and they packed a good punch when appropriate.
Music showed nice clarity and range. The songs sounded good, as they demonstrated clean highs and punchy bass response. This wasn’t a particularly ambitious track, but it worked fine given the movie’s scope.
This 25th Anniversary Blu-ray offers a good mix of extras, and we start with an audio commentary from director Alan Parker. Recorded for a 2004 DVD, Parker offers a running, screen-specific look at how he came to the project, the source novel and its adaptation, story/character areas, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, editing, photography and connected domains.
Parker makes this an effective commentary. He touches on a good variety of subjects and does so well, especially when he touches on the challenges of working with so many inexperienced actors. Expect many useful details in this informative, engaging chat.
A new piece, 25 Years Later goes for 19 minutes, nine seconds and features comments from Parker and actors Robert Arkins, Glen Hansard, and Ken McCluskey. “Later” looks at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, photography and editing.
In theory, it’s nice to hear new perspectives from the actors. However, Parker dominates “Later”, and he tends to cover material already discussed in the commentary. A few fresh thoughts emerge but much of the featurette seems redundant after Parker’s comprehensive commentary.
During The Making of Alan Parker’s Film The Commitments, we get a 22-minute, 37-second show with Parker, Arkins, novelist Roddy Doyle, and actors Dave Finnegan, Maria Doyle, Angeline Ball, Andrew Strong, Michael Aherne, and Johnny Murphy. This one examines story/characters, cast and performances, and music. In terms of information, we tend to hear some of the same material from other pieces. However, the behind the scenes footage adds value.
Looking Back fills 47 minutes, 11 seconds with info from Parker, Roddy Doyle, Aherne, McCluskey, Murphy, Arkins, Strong,
producers Lynda Myles and Roger Randall-Cutler, screenwriters Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement, casting directors Ros and John Hubbard, director of photography Gale Tattersal, and actors Dick Massey, Felim Gormley and Bronagh Gallagher. “Back” views the source novel, its adaptation, and path to the screen, auditions, cast and performances, auditions and improvisation, the movie’s reception and aftermath.
Although it follows a few other extras, “Looking Back” manages to provide quite a lot of new information. The added participants/perspectives helps, and we get a frank appraisal of different areas. This creates a solid program.
With the 14-minute, 53-second Dublin Soul, we hear from Roddy Doyle, McCluskey, Massey, Aherne, and Independent Member of Parliament Tony Gregory. “Soul” delivers notes about the Irish settings featured in the film. It adds more good info.
Next comes Making of The Commitments. It lasts eight minutes, five seconds and includes Parker, Strong and Ball. Created to promote the film in 1991, it seems superficial and consists mainly of movie clips.
After this we locate a music video. “Treat Her Right”
Arkins and Parker open this with an introduction and then we see the video for Arkins’ performance. It’s a pretty straight performance piece and not especially interesting; the intro offers the most fun part of this five-minute, 51-second piece.
Finally, the package includes two Still Galleries. We see “Production Stills” (14) and “Behind the Scenes Stills” (10). Neither adds much to the package.
As a tale of a band’s rise and fall, The Commitments offers some entertainment value. However, it lacks much depth and never lives up to its potential. The Blu-ray provides generally positive picture and audio along with an informative set of supplements highlighted by an excellent commentary. The movie leaves me less than enchanted, but I feel pleased with this release.