Killing Reagan appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though nothing great, the image was pleasing.
Sharpness was generally fine. Some shots could be a bit on the soft side, but those instances weren’t a substantial concern. Instead, most of the film showed reasonable delineation. I noticed no issues related to jagged edges, shimmering or edge haloes. No source defects marred the presentation, either.
Colors tended to be fairly natural, with a more emphasis on brown tones. The hues looked reasonably concise and full. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows looked clear and distinctive. This was a reasonable representation of the source.
Similar thoughts greeted the docudrama’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. A fairly talky piece, the track usually focused on the front, but it managed to open up as necessary.
Some more “action-oriented” moments – like campaign stops or the assassination attempt - used the five channels well, and the film’s score broadened to all the speakers on a frequent basis. None of these traits dazzled, but they created an appropriate soundscape for a flick like this.
Audio quality seemed solid. Dialogue was always natural and concise, and though the score tended to get a bit buried in the mix, the music seemed full and lively. Effects showed good clarity and accuracy. Again, this never became an impressive mix, but it was satisfactory.
Under the banner of Behind the Scenes of Killing Reagan, we find six brief featurettes. These include “Tim Matheson on Playing Ronald Reagan” (2:06), “Historical Accuracy” (2:38), “Cynthia Nixon on Playing Nancy Reagan” (3:11), “Behind the Scenes with Bill O’Reilly” (1:53), “Making the Costumes” (2:27) and “The Reagans: A Love Story” (2:54).
Across these, we hear from director Rod Lurie, writer Eric Simonson, executive producer David Zucker, author Bill O’Reilly, costume designer Kimberly Adams, and actors Tim Matheson and Cynthia Nixon. The clips look at story/characters/history, cast and performances, attempts at realism, costumes, and biographical elements. Though we get a smattering of good details, the snippets tend to be promotional and superficial.
For a closer look at what led to a near-assassination, Killing Reagan offers a pretty good overview. It shows us aspects of what led to the shooting and does so in a fairly involving manner. The DVD delivers largely positive picture and audio but it lacks substantial supplements. This turns into an effective docu-drama.