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Roger Michell
Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Granger
Writing Credits:
Roger Michell

A young Englishman plots revenge against his late cousin's mysterious, beautiful wife, believing her responsible for his death, but his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$969,941 on 523 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 8/29/2017
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Roger Michell and Producer Kevin Loader
• Promotional Featurettes
• VFX Progressions
• Deleted Scenes
• Scoring Sessions
• Gallery
• Trailers and Previews
• DVD Copy


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My Cousin Rachel [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 13, 2017)

Based on the work of Daphne du Maurier, 2017’s My Cousin Rachel introduces us to Philip (Sam Claflin). Orphaned as a boy, his cousin Ambrose adopted him and raised him in a house devoid of females.

Ambrose moves to Italy for health-related reasons and he marries his own cousin Rachel (Rachel Weisz). In letters to Philip, Ambrose initially sounds happy, but his missives become darker and more filled with fear.

Eventually Ambrose dies, and Philip believes that Rachel murdered Ambrose. Philip plots his revenge – until he actually meets Rachel, a point at which he begins to fall in love with her.

For many people, cinematic adaptations of du Maurier’s work elicit thoughts of Hitchcock. While we’ve seen many films based on the author’s writings, undoubtedly Hitchcock’s Rebecca and The Birds remain the most famous.

That’s what we call “rarified air”. Rebecca because Hitchcock’s only Oscar Best Picture winner while Birds remains a horror classic. Could Cousin hope to match up with those two films?

No, but that doesn’t make it a bad movie. Indeed, Cousin provides an involving, rich little romantic thriller.

One of the flick’s strengths comes from its subtlety. Unlike so many efforts in its genre, it resists the temptation to telegraph its themes and character motifs.

In particular, this means Rachel herself remains tough to pin down. Usually a film like this would strongly point in one way or the other, so we’d be led to view Rachel as a conniving villainess or as a squeaky-clean victim of circumstances.

Cousin refuses to go either way and it benefits from that ambiguity. Because we don’t get a heavy push in terms of the character’s motives, we remain more involved with the tale, as we strive harder to deduce her leanings.

The film also takes its sweet time in terms of plot/character exploration, which works well. We don’t even meet Rachel for a while, and her relationship with Philip develops in a slow, natural manner that allows the story to unfold in a compelling manner.

The actors help – especially Weisz, who delivers a three-dimensional turn. As noted, Rachel could easily become a cartoon but Weisz ensures that we get many shades to the role. She turns into one of the film’s highlights.

All of this adds up to an involving thriller. My Cousin Rachel avoids cheap cinematic techniques to become a rich, dynamic drama.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

My Cousin Rachel appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not stellar, the transfer was good.

Overall definition seemed positive. A little softness crept into some wider shots, but not to a major degree. Those instances were infrequent, so the majority of the movie appeared accurate and concise.

I noticed no signs of jaggies or edge enhancement, and shimmering was absent. The film lacked print flaws and seemed clean.

The colors tended toward teal tones, with some amber along for the ride as well. These appeared fine within the film’s stylistic choices.

Blacks seemed dark and tight, and shadows demonstrated good clarity. This added up to a satisfying presentation.

A character drama wouldn’t seem to be a candidate for a whiz-bang soundtrack, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Cousin fell into expected realms. A few scenes – mainly related to the seaside. – used the various channels well, but the track usually remained oriented toward ambience, so don’t expect lots of sizzle from the mix.

Audio quality satisfied. Although didn’t get much score, the music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy. Speech – obviously an important factor here – appeared concise and crisp. Nothing here soared, but it all seemed positive.

As we shift toward extras, we launch with an audio commentary from writer/director Roger Michell and producer Kevin Loader. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the source novel’s adaptation and story/characters, sets and locations, editing and cinematography, music, cast and performances and related areas.

Overall, this becomes an involving chat. At times it slips a little, but not often. Instead, Michell and Loader provide a pretty literate and engaging view of the film.

17 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 12 minutes, 35 seconds. Given the obvious brevity of so many of these, one shouldn’t expect a lot of substance from the cut clips.

Still, some decent material arrives. We get a little more exposition before Rachel comes to England, and various characters receive a bit of additional development. While I can’t claim any of this seems crucial, we get a few good snippets.

Seven Promotional Featurettes take up a total of 14 minutes, seven seconds. Across these, we hear from Loader, Michell, costume designer Dinah Collin, author’s granddaughter Grace Browning, property owner Bamber Gascoigne, production designer Alice Normington, and actors Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Iain Glen, and Holliday Grainger.

The clips look at costumes, author Daphne du Maurier and the source novel, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations. As expected, these tend toward fluff, though a few decent details emerge, mainly in the pieces about costumes and locations. Don’t expect real substance, though.

A two-minute, 50-second reel of VFX Progressions comes next. It shows scenes at various stages of completion to demonstrate the subtle ways the movie used effects. Given that we don’t think of character dramas like Cousin as “effects movies”, this becomes an illuminating compilation.

Scoring Sessions goes for six minutes, 35 seconds. It presents a view of the music recording without commentary. The absence of information from the composer or others makes this a dull addition, as we don’t really learn anything from it. Instead, it feels like a bland form of music video.

A Gallery offers 12 stills. It mixes movie images with shots from the set. It lacks anything of merit.

The disc opens with ads for Gifted, Far From the Madding Crowd and Wilson. Sneak Peek adds a clip for A Royal Night Out, and we also get two trailers for Cousin.

A second disc offers a DVD copy of Cousin. It includes all of the Blu-ray’s extras.

A romantic thriller imbued with unusual subtlety, My Cousin Rachel tells its tale well. Also abetted by strong acting and moody photography, the film achieves its goals. The Blu-ray presents pretty good picture as well as adequate audio and a mix of supplements. Cousin develops into a solid dramatic experience.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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