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Andrew Haigh
Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay
Writing Credits:
Andrew Haigh

A married couple preparing to celebrate their wedding anniversary receives shattering news that promises to forever change the course of their lives.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend:
$65,775 on 3 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $39.95
Release Date: 3/7/2017

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Andrew Haigh and Producer Tristan Goligher
• “The Making of 45 Years” Documentary
• Interview with Author David Constantine
• Trailer
• Booklet


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


45 Years: Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 16, 2017)

As she approached her 70th birthday, Charlotte Rampling earned her first-ever Oscar nomination for 2015’s 45 Years. She lost to Brie Larson’s turn in Room, but at least she finally received some love from the Academy!

As their 45th anniversary nears, Geoff Mercer (Tom Courtenay) and wife Kate (Rampling) plan to celebrate with a massive party. They entertained a similar concept for their 40th, but Geoff required emergency surgery and that scuttled the bash.

To compensate for that, the retired couple intend to host dozens of friends. However, when Geoff gets a letter than reveals the fate of his former lover Katya, the situation changes, as he and Kate confront the way this information impacts their relationship.

The nature of Katya’s demise adds intrigue to the proceedings. She disappeared half a century earlier but no one discovered the body until modern day. That means Geoff was left with uncertainty and “what might have been” for all that time, factors that give Years an interesting twist.

One that it needs, as the film easily could turn turgid and tedious. Given its almost total concentration on interactions between Kate and Geoff – and its refusal to entertain soap opera dramatics – the film threatens to become so introspective that it goes nowhere.

I do appreciate the movie’s lack of theatrics, though, especially because the storytelling allows the audience to make their own deductions. For instance, the rush of youthful memories related to Katya give Geoff renewed sexual vigor, much to Kate’s delight – it seems clear they’ve not been intimate in quite some time.

All goes well in the sack until Kate asks Geoff to open his eyes. When he looks at his wife, he immediately loses his erection. Why? Because he can’t fantasize about Katya any longer.

That’s how I interpret the events, at least – the film doesn’t spell out this element to us, and that’s why it works. Much of the movie provides subtextual elements the viewer figures out without direct guidance, and that means it offers a more involving journey than one that follows a more explicit path. Both actors do well in their roles, but Rampling probably fares better. Again, some of that is because the movie concentrates on her, so she earns more screen time. The film expands Kate’s character more than Geoff’s, so Rampling receives a more three-dimensional depiction.

Kate also seems like a better fleshed-out role in general. While not a true weakness, the semi-superficial manner in which the movie treats Geoff seems like a minor liability.

Geoff comes across as a semi-grumpy jerk too much of the time, and the film doesn’t allow him to expand much beyond that. I’m glad Courtenay doesn’t soften his edges, but a little more depth would’ve been nice.

Because we spend so much time with Kate, though, this becomes less of an issue, and the rich manner in which the movie treats her more than compensates. In a part that lacks broad theatrics, Rampling aptly portrays a woman whose marriage threatens to rupture out of nowhere.

As much as I appreciate the movie’s quiet nature, I will admit the American in me wishes it could be a little “louder” at times, as its heavily introspective nature can make it drag – one man can only stand so many shots of a mopey-looking elderly woman. Despite those slow spots, though, 45 Years offers a largely engaging human drama.

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

45 Years appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This became a pleasing presentation.

Sharpness was strong. Virtually all of the film looked concise, with nary any softness on display. No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws also failed to create problems.

In terms of colors, Years went with a palette that favored a cool teal tone and some amber. Within those parameters, the colors appeared pretty clear and concise. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows showed good delineation. All of this left us with an “A-” transfer.

One shouldn’t expect much from the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundscape, as it remained decidedly low-key. Still, it offered a bit more pep than expected. The film included no score, but effects used the side and rear speakers in a moderate manner.

Not much occurred in this regard, as this was a chatty movie, but the mix managed to spread elements in discrete locations, and these moved well. For instance, an airplane quietly flew from left front to left rear to right rear. Nothing here dazzled, but the effects prompted more involvement than I anticipated.

Audio quality was fine. Speech sounded natural and distinctive, without edginess or other issues. Effects were clean and accurate; they didn’t tax my system but they satisfied. This was a more than acceptable soundtrack for a quiet character piece.

How did the Criterion Blu-ray compare to the original 2016 release? Both presentations seemed virtually identical. The Criterion hit shelves less than nine months after its predecessor and already reproduced the film well, so I didn’t expect picture/sound improvements here.

Whereas the 2016 Blu-ray lacked any extras at all, the Criterion set includes a good array of materials, and these open with an audio commentary from writer/director Andrew Haigh and producer Tristan Goligher. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, locations and production design, cinematography, cast and performances, audio, and related domains.

Across the board, this becomes a useful commentary. Both men – but mainly Haigh – go over a good array of subjects and do so in a brisk, compelling manner. All of this combines for an informative chat.

The Making of 45 Years runs 36 minutes, 42 seconds and includes remarks from Haigh, Goligher, editor Jonathan Alberts, director of photography Lol Crawley and actors Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling. They cover the source novel and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, the shooting schedule, cinematography and editing, locations, and similar subjects.

Overall, “Making” gives us a positive overview of the production. It takes a methodical approach to the subject matter and covers topics well to create a solid take on the topics.

We also find an interview with author David Constantine. In this 13-minute, 14-second reel, the writer discusses his original short story and contrasts it with the film version. He throws out a smattering of insights.

In addition to the film’s trailer, the set finishes with a booklet. It features an essay from critic Ella Taylor and completes the package well.

With an intense character focus, 45 Years delivers a quiet and powerful drama. It lacks phony theatrics and creates an involving effort. The Blu-ray delivers excellent visuals and perfectly acceptable audio along with a small but informative set of bonus materials. 45 Years provides a worthwhile tale and the Criterion release becomes its strongest home video release.

To rate this film visit the prior review of 45 YEARS

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