Doubt appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie wasn’t exactly a visual showcase, but the image looked good.
Sharpness was fine. A handful of wide shots showed a smidgen of softness, but nothing problematic. Most of the time the movie offered solid delineation. I noticed no jaggies or shimmering, and source flaws remained absent. Edge haloes and digital noise reduction also failed to cause concerns.
Colors tended to look appropriate. The movie featured a low-key “period” palette – with a strong teal tint much of the time - within which the hues appeared concise. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows smooth, as low-light shots showed clear delineation. The transfer represented the film well.
To my surprise, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Doubt packed a little more punch than expected. 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 and other storms occasionally added a little zest to the proceedings.
Music also boasted nice stereo delineation. The film’s scope remained limited, so we didn’t get much to make the mix stand out from the crowd, but I heard more activity than I anticipated from a character drama of this sort.
Audio quality appeared fine. Speech showed good delineation and clarity, as the lines remained natural. Effects offered acceptable accuracy and life, and they appeared pretty powerful in the smattering of louder scenes. Music worked well, as the score seemed rich and full. Nothing here turned this into a great mix, but it deserved a “B”.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD release? Audio showed more oomph, and visuals offered improved clarity and smoothness. I thought the Blu-ray gave us the expected step up in quality.
The Blu-ray duplicates the DVD’s extras, and we open with an audio commentary from writer/director John Patrick Shanley. He provides a running, screen-specific look at story and character issues, Shanley’s childhood experiences and their influence on the film, cast and performances, sets and locations, camerawork and visual choices, and a few other production topics.
Shanley creates a thoroughly engaging discussion here. At the start, I worried he’d reminisce about his childhood to the exclusion of all else; while those elements prove illuminating, I hoped for a balance between that side of things and actual filmmaking subjects.
Happily, as the track progresses, Shanley grows more expansive when it comes to the flick’s creation. He gives us a lot of good tales about the movie; I especially like his reflections about working with the actors, as he throws out quite a few intriguing notes in that realm. Shanley creates a likable and informative chat that covers Doubt well.
Four featurettes follow. From Stage to Screen goes for 19 minutes, nine seconds and includes comments from Shanley, technical consultant Sister “James” Margaret McEntee, production designer David Gropman, and actors Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, and Amy Adams. We learn about the play’s origins and inspirations, the source material and its adaptation into a screenplay, shooting in New York, cast and performances.
Based on the featurette’s title, I expected more about the script and story here. We learn a little about those, but both subjects are covered much better in Shanley’s commentary. “Stage” offers a smattering of new details, but it mostly throws out happy talk about the production. It’s watchable but not especially informative.
During the 13-minute, 53-second The Cast of Doubt, we get a panel discussion conducted by Entertainment Weekly’s Dave Karger. He sits with Davis, Adams, Streep and Hoffman as they discuss thoughts about the original play, the characters and their performances, and interpretations of the story’s events.
I like the context of the piece, as it’s cool to see all four of the actors chat together. Inevitably, there’s a fair amount of the standard general positivity, but the program digs pretty deeply at times, and the participants provide quite a few interesting notes.
Scoring Doubt fills four minutes, 40 seconds with notes from Shanley and composer Howard Shore. As expected, this show looks at the movie’s music. It’s too short to provide much depth, but it offers a few decent insights into the score.
Finally, The Sisters of Charity lasts six minutes, 29 seconds and features Shanley, Streep, McEntee, and nuns Sister Irene Fugazi, Sister Mary McCormick and Sister Rita King. We learn a bit about the nuns’ lives, and that gives us a nice perspective on their presentation in the movie.
The disc opens with ads for Lost, The Proposal and Miramax Films. No trailer for Doubt appears here.
Doubt makes a successful move from the stage to the big screen. The movie suffers from a few flaws, but it packs a punch and keeps us involved. The Blu-ray delivers good picture and audio as well as supplements highlighted by an informative commentary. I find this to be a quality Blu-ray for a stimulating movie.
To rate this film visit the prior review of DOUBT