The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a positive presentation.
For the most part, sharpness looked good. A little softness crept into the image at times, but not frequently. Instead, the movie almost always appeared nicely detailed and distinctive. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws were a non-factor, as this was a clean presentation.
In terms of colors, the movie went with a stylized palette that varied based on character. Eleanor’s side favored orange, while Conor’s went with teal. The hues consistently seemed clear and concise within those parameters. Blacks were deep and firm, and shadows showed good smoothness. Overall, the picture appeared solid.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it worked pretty well. The audio tended to be somewhat restrained most of the time, but some sequences – such as those at bars or on the street – opened up the spectrum in a satisfying manner. Cars and other elements moved around the room, while other effects added a good sense of ambience.
Audio quality was perfectly acceptable. Speech showed nice clarity and naturalism, and music was reasonably distinctive and dynamic. Effects lacked much to stand out, but they appeared accurate, and they showed mild punch when necessary. All of this seemed good enough for a “B-“.
In terms of extras, we open with a Q&A with James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain. In this 21-minute, 28-second piece, the actors discuss story/character areas, aspects of how “Them” mixes “Him” and “Her”, other cast and performances, and reactions to the film. We get a pretty good look at various topics in this enjoyable overview.
On a second disc, the prime attraction comes from the two “individual” versions of the tale. We find The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him (1:36:09) and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her (1:45:38). These offer the same story as “Them” but stick to the individual perspectives of Conor (“Him”) and Eleanor (“Her”).
Though “Him” and “Her” bring us a combined running time of nearly three and a half hours, that doesn’t mean we find 202 minutes of unique material. However, it comes close, as we don’t see much in one version that also appears in the other – and even the same events come via alternate perspectives. For instance, both films include a sequence in which Conor passes a note to Eleanor, but the viewpoints vary. We also get very different takes during a scene in which Eleanor finds out what Conor’s been up to during the separation.
This set doesn’t come with a commentary or any discussion from writer/director Ned Benson to tell us why “Them” came to exist. From what I’ve gleaned online, I get the impression Benson originally just planned to make “Him” but when he cast Chastain, he expanded “Her” as well.
So what led to “Them”? Commercial considerations, I suppose, as two separate feature films would be a tough sell. Not that it mattered, as “Them” earned no bucks at the box office anyway, but at least one two-hour movie seems like it’d be easier for the audience to swallow than two feature-length pieces.
Whatever the rationale behind “Them” may be, “Him” and “Her” deliver substantially superior experiences. By comparison, “Them” feels choppy and rushed, as “Him” and “Her” let the material breathe and develop. I won’t say “Him” and “Her” rectify all the flaws of “Them”, as the dialogue can still be clunky and there’s more navel-gazing than I’d like – especially in “Her” - but I nonetheless feel these two flicks combine to present a pretty impressive character study.
Footnote: I think the package fits best if the viewer checks out “Him” first and then watches “Her”.
Disc One opens with ads for Lawless and Blue Valentine. No trailer for Disappearance appears here.
When viewed as intended via two separate movies, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby works fairly well. However, the edited “Them” feels less satisfying and effective. The Blu-ray presents solid picture and acceptable audio along with the more interesting “Him” and “Her” versions of the film. If you get this release, do so for “Him” and “Her”, as “Them” falls flat.