Tamara Drewe appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. For SD-DVD, the picture looked fine.
Sharpness came across reasonably well. Some wider shots tended to be a bit iffy, but those failed to create prominent distractions. Overall, the image was acceptably accurate. No issues with jagged edges occurred, but I saw some light shimmering and edge haloes. Source flaws caused no concerns, as the flick remained clean and fresh at all times.
Drewe went with a stylized palette. Most of the flick oriented toward a golden tint, though the tones became chillier as the movie progressed. Within the visual constraints, the hues were fine, though they weren’t especially memorable. Blacks seemed deep and firm, while shadows provided nice clarity and delineation. For the most part, this was a positive presentation.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Tamara Drewe worked fine for the material. The soundscape didn’t provide a lot of pizzazz. Music demonstrated nice stereo imaging, and various scenes added a nice sense of place. This was a forward-oriented mix that used the surrounds in a moderate manner to reinforce the sound of different settings – a rock festival being the most prominent - and it did that well.
Audio quality seemed satisfying. Speech always appeared warm and natural, with no edginess or other issues. Music was full, as the score showed solid reproduction. Effects also boasted good clarity and definition, though they didn’t exactly push the auditory envelope. Overall, the soundtrack was perfectly acceptable for this sort of flick.
We open the extras with an audio commentary from actors Gemma Arterton and Luke Evans. Both sit together for their running, screen-specific look at cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, comparisons with the graphic novel, and general anecdotes from the shoot.
Pleasant but not remarkable, this is a genial chat. Arterton does most of the heavy lifting, especially in terms of notes about the movie’s inspirations; she provides some nice notes about aspects of the graphic novel and Far From the Madding Crowd, on which the Drewe comic was based. She and Evans interact in a likable manner, but the track simply lacks enough solid info to make it better than average. Still, I’ve heard worse, so this is a decent enough listen.
Two featurettes follow. The Making of Tamara Drewe runs 13 minutes, 44 seconds and offers notes from Arterton, Evans, director Stephen Frears, producer Alison Owen, screenwriter Moira Buffini, costume designer Consolata Boyle, and actors Roger Allam, Dominic Cooper, Bill Camp, and Tamsin Greig. The show discusses the original comic and its adaptation, cast, characters and performances, costumes, and Frears’ impact on the production.
Don’t expect more than the usual promotional blather here. Actually, “blather” is a little harsh, as the participants provide concise thoughts about the movie, its story and characters. However, we don’t really learn much about the production; a few decent notes emerge, but not much of substance.
Reconstructing Tamara Drewe goes for 10 minutes, 21 seconds and features Frears, Arterton, Evans, and Cooper. The piece compares the movie to the original comic, and that makes it reasonably enjoyable. We get to see different images from the strip and learn a little about their adaptation. It never becomes a fascinating show, but it has some good moments.
A few ads launch the disc. We get promos for A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop, Get Low, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Barney’s Version and Made in Dagenham. The disc also includes a trailer for Drewe.
At its core, Tamara Drewe has potential, but the result on screen doesn’t really work. The movie appears to condense its source material so severely that it feels rushed and thin. The DVD presents reasonably good picture and audio as well as mediocre supplements. While not a bad film, Drewe never comes together in a satisfying manner.