Recount appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though still watchable, the transfer seemed lackluster at best.
Sharpness usually appeared acceptable. Close-ups looked best, as they demonstrated decent clarity and accuracy. However, wider shots tended to be a bit soft and fuzzy, a factor exacerbated by some notable edge haloes. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and source flaws were absent, though the movie was rather grainy much of the time.
Colors remained mediocre. Granted, the flick went with a low-key tone, but the hues seemed rather flat much of the time and didn’t look as natural as I’d have liked. Blacks were reasonably dark and dense, while shadows showed good clarity. This was an acceptable presented but no better than that.
Nothing about a political drama screams “rock-em, sock-em audio”, so I didn’t expect much from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Recount. And I didn’t get much from it, but that was fine given the scope of the film. Music showed good stereo imaging, and effects presented minor environmental information. Events like press conferences proved the most active, as they showed some activity in the side and rear channels. These segments didn’t pop up too frequently, though, so the chatty film concentrated on a low-key soundfield.
Audio quality was fine. Speech became the most important part of the track, and the lines always appeared concise and natural. Music was a moderate factor, as the score remained a background element. The music sounded reasonably lively and full within those constraints, though. Effects were also clear and accurate, though they didn’t have much to do. The soundtrack was more than acceptable for this material.
A few extras complete the DVD. We start with an audio commentary from director Jay Roach and writer Danny Strong. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific track that looks at research and attempts at accuracy, cast, characters and performances, sets and shooting in Florida, factual background info, cinematic influences, condensing such a big story into a movie, and a few opinions about the source material.
The commentary concentrates more on factual issues than it does filmmaking topics, and that’s fine with me. Some may get frustrated by the relative lack of material about the flick’s creation, but Roach and Strong offer enough info in that vein to satisfy me. I like the way the track acts as annotation for the film; this allows us to get a better understanding for what we’re seeing and the various contexts. The men make this a chatty and engaging discussion.
Three featurettes follow. The True Inside Story of the 2000 Presidential Election goes for eight minutes, 36 seconds as it provides remarks from Roach, Strong, Too Close to Call author Jeffrey Toobin, executive producer Paula Weinstein, Florida Supreme Court spokesman Craig Waters, and actors Bob Balaban, Kevin Spacey, Laura Dern, Tom Wilkinson, Denis Leary, Ed Begley, Jr., and John Hurt. “Story” examines research and accuracy in the film, the focus of the script, shooting in Florida, cast, characters and performances, and the general craziness of the 2000 election.
Virtually all of these subjects were covered in the commentary, and they came across in a much less promotional manner there. “Story” essential tells us “Recount is real!!! And it’s real great!!!” It’s not particularly informative or engaging.
Two similar pieces come next. A Conversation Between Kevin Spacey and the Real Ron Klain runs seven minutes, 17 seconds, while A Conversation Between Bob Balaban and the Real Ben Ginsberg lasts five minutes, 26 seconds. The chats concentrate on the “real” subjects more than they do the actors; much of the time, Spacey and Balaban essentially act as interviewers, though they toss in their own thoughts about the story as well.
Nonetheless, as far as viewers are concerned, it’s most interesting to see the real people behind the movie characters so we can compare and contrast the reality with their portrayal in the movie. It’s also good to simply see the men, especially since they don’t necessarily look like the actors; Klain seems to be much younger than Spacey, and he has a much more substantial head of hair. Balaban and Ginsberg maintain a much closer resemblance. Anyway, the conversations prove interesting and enjoyable.
While I wasn’t sure how interesting a film about voting would be, Recount gives us a riveting piece of work. The flick moves at a great pace and turns the source material into fascinating drama. The DVD comes with average picture, audio and extras. I can’t call this a stellar DVD, but the movie itself definitely merits your attention.