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Sofia Coppola
Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst
Writing Credits:
Sofia Coppola

The unexpected arrival of a wounded Union soldier at a girls' school in Virginia during the American Civil War leads to jealousy and betrayal.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 10/10/2017

• “A Shift in Style” Featurette
• “A Southern Perspective” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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The Beguiled [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 2, 2017)

In 1966, Thomas Cullinan’s novel The Beguiled hit shelves, and a big-screen adaptation with Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page came out five years later. 2017 brings another cinematic version of the tale, one from director Sofia Coppola.

Set in 1864, Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) continues to operate a boarding school for girls in Civil War-ravaged Virginia. Due to the conflict, “Miss Martha” retains only one teacher and five students.

Young Amy (Oona Laurence) finds wounded Union soldier John McBurney (Colin Farrell) during a walk in the woods, and she brings him back to the school to help him. This creates a real change in the dynamic, as tensions – sexual and otherwise – escalate due to McBurney’s presence.

Beguiled represents Coppola’s sixth effort as director, a surprisingly small filmography given that she started with 1999’s Virgin Suicides. In terms of critical success, one can’t quibble with Coppola’s choices, as her films tend to receive positive reviews.

That trend continued with Beguiled. If we use Rotten Tomatoes as a guideline, it became her second most acclaimed film after 2003’s Lost in Translation.

I never saw that one, so Beguiled became only my third Coppola film along with Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette. Both had ups and downs but mostly worked for me, so I hoped Beguiled would follow suit.

Alas, it never gels into a satisfying program. Essentially a chamber drama, Beguiled develops at such a slow pace that it takes forever to get anywhere – and doesn’t seem all that compelling when it arrives.

Don’t get me wrong – I approve of movies that opt for a gradual, subdued path. I just don’t think Beguilded succeeds, mainly because its developments rarely feel particularly interesting or involving.

This means the movie brings us general overtones without much real drama or action. The film hints at the tensions I alluded to in my synopsis but stubbornly avoids many temptations to make these relationships dynamic.

Because of this, Beguiled spins its wheels. This becomes a tale that feels like 99 subtext without the more concrete machinations that might make it fly.

The actors seem to do their best in their flat roles, at least. All involved manage to give their parts reasonable life, even if the screenplay leaves them with little to which they can really connect.

I didn’t want or need The Beguiled to become a rip-snorting bodice-ripper, but I would’ve liked something a little more dynamic than this. When the film finally gets around to material that proves more dramatic, it’s too late.

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

The Beguiled appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.66:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a good reproduction of a subdued source.

Much of the film went with natural lighting, and that meant a candle-lit vibe for many interiors. Those created the biggest potential issues, as they gave us an image with a number of dim sequences.

Despite these prospective pitfalls, sharpness remained fairly good. All those dark interiors leaned a little soft, but they gave us reasonable clarity.

I saw no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie also failed to display any source defects.

Colors opted for a low-key brown tone much of the time. Though less than impactful, the Blu-ray presented the hues as desired.

Blacks were mostly deep and tight, and as noted, shadows could be a little iffy, but that resulted from the source photography. I felt pleased with this accurate representation of the challenging film.

Given the movie’s heavy character nature, the film opted for a gentle DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. A few scenes featured the distant boom of warfare, and those gave the mix a little dimensionality, but the majority of the mix concentrated on light ambience, mainly via insects that buzzed in the background.

That left this as a decided underwhelming soundscape. The movie also lacked much of a score, so don’t expect much music. Though the limited soundfield suited the material, it nonetheless felt awfully low-key.

Audio quality was fine. Speech remained natural and concise, and effects showed good range and clarity within their restricted ambitions. Those occasional snatches of music also seemed fine. Nothing here excelled but I thought the mix was acceptable.

Two featurettes appear here. A Shift in Perspective runs six minutes 53 seconds and includes comments from writer/director Sofia Coppola, producer Youree Henley, and actors Kirsten Dunst, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning, Angourie Rice, Oona Laurence, and Addison Riecke.

“Shift” looks at the film’s perspective and Coppola’s take on the material as well as story, characters and cast. This becomes a passable overview, albeit one that tends to the fluffy side of the street.

A Southern Style lasts five minutes, 40 seconds and includes Henley, Coppola, Fanning, Farrell, Riecke, Rice, production designer Anne Ross, costume designer Stacey Battat, hair designer Odile Gilbert, and property owner Keith Marshall. “Style” examines sets, locations and design choices. It offers another short but decent summary.

The disc opens with ads for Atomic Blonde, The Book of Henry and Victoria & Abdul. Previews adds promos for Nocturnal Animals, Hyde Park on the Hudson, Loving, Dallas Buyers Club, The Danish Girl and Suffragette. No trailer for Beguiled appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Beguiled. It comes with the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Slow to the point of stasis, The Beguiled doesn’t offer an especially involving narrative. The actors manage to flesh out their roles in a satisfying manner but the movie’s sluggish development makes it a tough ride. The Blu-ray offers generally positive picture and audio with minor bonus materials. Beguiled never quite turns into a compelling character journey.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 7
5 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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