Lucky Number Slevin appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not poor, this became a lackluster presentation.
Most of the issues stemmed from sharpness, which came across as erratic. While some aspects of the movie showed pretty positive delineation, more than a few elements became oddly fuzzy. Some noise reduction appeared to become a factor here.
I noticed no signs of shimmering or jagged edges remained absent. No source defects presented themselves.
Slevin went with a stylized palette, one that favored ambers and greens. The colors felt appropriate, if not especially vivid.
Blacks were rich and tight, while shadows seemed clear and appropriately visible. Without the softness, this would’ve been a good image, but the movie felt awfully ill-defined too much of the time.
I also thought that the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Lucky Number Slevin proved effective, though much of the time the soundfield remained fairly subdued. It usually went with general environmental information and also added good stereo imaging for the music.
Occasionally it kicked into higher gear, though, and those scenes added punch. For instance, the storm segment early in the film used all five speakers well, and a few other louder pieces were successful. This wasn’t an incredibly active mix, but it spread out when necessary.
Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, and I noticed no edginess or other problems.
Music was tight and lively, and the score also showed good range. Effects presented accurate elements that were clear and concise. Bass response appeared deep and powerful at times. This was an appropriate mix for this story.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? The lossless audio offered a bit more warmth and dimensionality.
Even with the softness, visuals offered a step, as the Blu-ray felt more stable than the DVD. This didn’t turn into a major upgrade, but despite its weaknesses, it still topped the DVD.
A mix of extras rounds out the package, and we get two separate audio commentaries. The feature offers a solo track with director Paul McGuignan as he presents a running, screen-specific chat.
He starts with notes about how he came onto the film and what he wanted to do with the opening credits. From there we hear about cast and performances, sets and locations, cinematography and visual goals, set and costume design, editing, deleted/alternate sequences and other production topics.
Though McGuigan starts off full force, he tends to drag a little as the track progresses. However, this is a minor complaint that arises more out of slight disappointment; he opens so well that it leads us to hope the commentary will be consistently excellent. It’s not, but it remains quite engaging and informative; it’s definitely an above average discussion.
For the second piece, we hear from actors Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu and writer Jason Smilovic. Hartnett and Liu sit together for a running, screen-specific chat, while Smilovic does his own track and gets his comments edited into the actors’ piece.
The commentary looks at the goals for the script and the specificity of its language, shooting specifics, costumes and many character issues, dialogue details, story and plot aims, inspirations and influences for the movie’s events, performance reflections and a mix of general topics.
I always fear the worst from actor commentaries, as they usually tell us little. This one proves pretty good, largely due to the nice chemistry between Hartnett and Liu.
Hartnett does most of the work and provides the lion’s share of the information, but she makes things lively and adds zest to the chat. Smilovic includes many fine notes about his work, and the two commentaries mesh smoothly. This is an interesting and useful track.
Four Deleted Scenes last a total of 20 minutes, 32 seconds. These include “Elvis and Sloe” (7:13), “The Bodyguards’ Story” (4:27), “The Rabbi and the Boss – Extended Scene” (8:00) and “Alternate Ending” (0:51).
Most deleted scenes suck. Surprisingly, these do not.
All are quite interesting, though I understand why the filmmakers cut most of them. “Sloe” and “Story” are fun but would’ve really dragged in the final product.
The “Alternate Ending” is significantly darker than the actual conclusion. Only the extended “Boss” should’ve stayed because we need as much Freeman/Kingsley as possible.
Except for “Boss”, we can watch these with or without commentary from McGuignan. He covers production details and lets us know why the scenes were trimmed or cut. McGuignan gives us the appropriate info in this worthwhile chat.
In addition to the film’s trailer, a featurette called Making Lucky Number Slevin runs 13 minutes, 19 seconds and presents movie snippets, behind the scenes materials and interviews.
We hear from Hartnett, Smilovic, McGuigan, Liu, producer Tyler Mitchell, and actors Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis, and Ben Kingsley. We get notes about the script’s path to the screen, the cast, the characters and the story.
For the most part, “Making” falls into the same bland category as most promotional featurettes. A few good notes emerge, but it’s pretty general.
However, some of the shots from the set redeem the piece, especially when Willis jokes with Freeman. (I especially like “You were good in Se7en - crabby, but good!”)
Finally, An Intimate Conversation goes for 14 minutes, 27 secons and offers a chat between Liu and Hartnett. They talk about how they came to the film as well as aspects of their experiences. They retain the chemistry from the commentary and make this a pretty engaging piece.
With a truly excellent cast and a potentially intriguing premise, Lucky Number Slevin could have been a winner. Unfortunately, it concerns itself with twists and turns and rarely bothers to become anything more than a Tarantino imitation. The Blu-ray presents spotty picture, good audio and some useful extras. Despite its flaws, Slevin moderately entertains – but don’t expect a lot from it.
To rate this film, visit the original review of LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN