Don't Look Now

Blu-ray makeover brings the best out of Nic Roeg's classic British chiller

Don’t Look Now has often been called one of the best films in the history of British cinema – and with good reason. Adapted from a short story by Daphne du Maurier, director Nic Roeg’s film is more than a mere horror film – although it’s certainly not short on scares – rather it’s a remarkable psychological study of grief centred on a married couple (played by Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) who lose their daughter in a freak accident. And while the story that unfolds is itself gripping, it’s visual elements and symbols that Roeg brings into play that allows the film to transcend the limitations of genre and become something truly special.

Picture: Over the past decade, Don’t Look Now has received three DVD releases in the UK, all of which appeared to be based on the same master. As good as they were, this Blu-ray release is still a huge improvement. Supervised by director Nic Roeg, the new restoration brings fresh life to the film’s beautiful colour palette, while the shift to 1080p resolution ensures that the AVC 1.85:1 encode unearths plenty of intricate detailing that went unnoticed on earlier incarnations. And, while some DNR scrubbing is evident, it certainly isn't too much of an issue when the film is in motion.
Picture rating: 3/5

Audio: Your impression of this Blu-ray’s soundtrack will be heavily dependent on whether or not you are familiar with the earlier DVD releases. For those of you coming to the film for the first time, it’s simply a nicely restored LPCM 2.0 that copes well with the limitations of the source material. However, for those of you familiar with the distorted music and inaudible dialogue on the old DVDs will see this as nothing less than a revelation. There’s a clarity and range to the material (particularly Donaggio’s haunting score) that has simply never been heard before, which makes this an unmitigated triumph.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: Optimum has wisely carried over the extras it prepared for its old Special Edition DVD releases, as well as providing a handful of exclusive goodies. In the former camp are a superb commentary by director Nic Roeg, an intro by Alan Jones, the 20min retrospective featurette Looking Back, the trailer and a 16min extract from a 1980s documentary about the director entitled Nothing is as it Seems. Making their debut on the Blu-ray are lengthy interviews with composer Pino Donaggio, screenwriter/producer Allan Scott, cinematographer Tony Richmond, Donald Sutherland and fan Danny Boyle. The latter is also responsible for a compressed version of the film now included on the disc, which was created for a BAFTA tribute to Roeg.
Extras rating: 4/5

We say: Roeg’s unsettling masterpiece finally gets the home release it deserves

Optimum Releasing, Region B BD, £20 approx, On sale now
HCC Verdict: 4/5