Toni Erdmann appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Within the parameters of SD-DVD, this became a solid presentation.
As long as I considered those constraints, sharpness looked fine. Inevitably some softness impacted wider shots, but most of the film offered nice accuracy and definition. Jagged edges and shimmering weren’t a problem, and I saw no edge haloes or print flaws.
Colors seemed low-key, with an emphasis on light teal. These choices felt less than exciting, but the DVD represented them adequately. Blacks provided reasonable depth, while shadows appeared fairly smooth. Ultimately, the image worked nice for its format.
I felt less impressed with the bland Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Erdmann, as it failed to make much of an impression. The soundfield gave us mild ambience at most, without much use of the various channels.
This meant it focused on the front speakers and didn’t bring us much in terms of scope. Even for an introspective character film, the soundscape seemed awfully flat and subdued.
Audio quality was fine. Speech came across as natural and concise, and effects demonstrated passable delineation. They had little to do but they seemed acceptable.
The film lacked any score, so we only got occasional snatches of source music. These came across with decent range. Everything here felt ordinary, so the audio added little to the presentation.
In terms of extras, we get an audio commentary with producer Janine Jackowski and actors Sandra Hüller and Peter Simonischek. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story and characters, sets and locations, cast and performances, and other production areas.
Expect a wholly mediocre commentary. While the participants stay with the film and offer a decent array of thoughts, not much that I’d call memorable arises. We get a perfunctory look at the movie and nothing more.
Toni Erdmann at AFI runs 16 minutes, four seconds and mixes shots from the red carpet with a Q&A. We hear from Hüller, Simonischek, Jackowski, and actor Ingrid Bisu.
At the Q&A, we get notes about the director and what attracted them to the project, rehearsals and performances, and the film’s reception. This becomes a decent look at some aspects of the project, but it seems mostly superficial.
The disc opens with ads for Julieta, Elle, Land of Mine, Our Little Sister, The Meddler and Equity. We also find the trailer for Erdmann.
At its best, Toni Erdmann manages to tell a believable, natural look at family relationships, one that avoids the usual mawkish, melodramatic pitfalls. However, the movie runs far too long and doesn’t always use its running time well. The DVD brings us very good picture along with mediocre audio and bland supplements. Erdmann does enough right to merit a look but I wish it boasted better editing.