Imperium appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a good but erratic presentation.
Sharpness was the primary weak link, as some interiors seemed oddly soft. Those didn’t pop up often, though, so most of the movie showed positive delineation. No issues with shimmering or jaggies appeared, and I saw no print flaws.
In terms of palette, Imperium emphasized a mix of teal and amber. This was a restricted palette, but the Blu-ray reproduced it as intended. Blacks were dark and deep, while low-light shots appeared clear and smooth. Though often appealing, the sporadic soft sequences made this a “B-“.
With its character focus, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack lacked much breadth. Music showed nice stereo presence, but effects didn’t add much to the package. Some ambient material appeared and that was about it.
Audio quality satisfied. Speech appeared concise and distinctive, and music sounded full and peppy. Though effects remained restrained, they seemed accurate enough. This turned into an acceptable track.
A smattering of extras fill out the package, and we start with an auudio commentary from writer/director Daniel Ragussis and writer Michael German. Both sit together for this running look at story and characters, with an emphasis on German’s experiences as an FBI agent and aspects of the racist movements depicted.
This means one shouldn’t expect to learn much about the movie’s creation, as Ragussis and German rarely discuss filmmaking specifics. Normally that might bother me, but given how much fascinating background we get, I don’t mind. The track offers a lot of great notes about undercover work and the organizations depicted, so it becomes a fascinating listen.
With the 18-minute, 37-second Making Imperium, we hear from Ragussis, German, and actors Daniel Radcliffe, Sam Trammell, and Tracy Letts. The featurette looks at story/characters, research, cast and performances, and the current climate for white supremacist and/or terrorist groups. Some of the material related to German repeats from the commentary, but “Making” brings out good new info and seems meatier than expected.
Next comes Living Undercover. It lasts three minutes, 44 seconds and features Radcliffe and German. They discuss Radcliffe’s character and aspects of German’s career. Virtually all of the same comments pop up in “Making” so “Living” feels superfluous.
Cast and Crew Interviews split into five areas. We find “Times Talks with Daniel Ragussis and Daniel Radcliffe – Part 1” (28:46) and “Part 2” (28:29) as well as sequences with Radcliffe (6:16), Trammell (10:39) and German (30:12).
I’m unclear why the disc splits “Time Talks” into two segments – they’re both from the same panel – but I feel satisfied with the result. Ragussis and Radcliffe talk about research, characters/story, and other aspects of the shoot in a rich, convincing manner. “Talks” also becomes the only place on the disc where subjects directly mention Harry Potter – and indirectly allude to Donald Trump.
As for the three interview clips, these come from the same sessions that form the prior featurettes. Radcliffe and Trammell focus on research, characters and performances, while German covers his FBI career and aspects of his work on the film. Of these, German’s fares best, as he continues to present fascinating insights.
The disc opens with ads for American Pastoral, Blood Father, Manhattan Night, Misconduct and Green Room. We also get a trailer for Imperium.
As a thriller, Imperium occasionally hits the right notes. However, too much of the movie seems flat and pedantic. The Blu-ray offers decent picture and audio along with a nice set of supplements. Imperium only occasionally stirs to life.