The Others

Blu-ray review:

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 15 years since director Alejandro Amenabar caught our attention with Open Your Eyes, his dreamy, twisty suspense film from 1997. Tom Cruise was so impressed with Open Your Eyes, he promptly made a shitty remake with Cameron Crowe, hired Amenabar to write and direct The Others with then-wife Nicole Kidman, and then divorced Kidman to date Open Your Eyes star Penelope Cruz. It’s a film that obviously had a profound effect on Cruise, and The Others, which followed four years later, had a similarly profound effect on theater audiences, banking $96 million in worldwide box office on a $17 million budget. Flaunting an inviting PG-13 rating and strong word of mouth, The Others clung stubbornly to the list of top 5 box office performers for 8 consecutive weeks. It even gained ground during the week preceding Halloween in 2001, indicating that some movie-goers had seen it more than once.

Nicole Kidman plays the overprotective mother of two young children who suffer from an allergy to sunlight. Sequestered in an enormous mansion in the post-World War II British countryside, her little family is plagued by a series of mysterious, supernatural occurrences.

As Kidman explains to her new servants in the early going, the mansion lacks electrical power, and other than its big twist ending, The Others is probably best remembered for its mesmerizing interior lighting scheme. Amenabar is a director who paints with light and shadow, and the high-definition imagery flaunts his artistry. Although I initially dismissed The Others when seeing it in 2001 (I liked it better when I saw it in 1999 and it was called The Sixth Sense), it’s unquestionably a film that takes full advantage of the Blu-ray format. The rich, complicated Foley work is spectacular. Unlike a slam-bang action film that’s perpetually loud and in-your-face, The Others Blu-ray rides the full spectrum of sound design, from the quieter, whispery moments, to the rib-goosing soundtrack swells. It’s a film that can provoke chills of pleasure when viewed in the right environment, and high-definition picture and sound certainly add a buttload to the experience.

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound: DTS-HD Master Audio

Extra Features:

The features seem to mirror those included with the 2-disc DVD release (minus the photo gallery). Lame.

“A Look Inside The Others”: A 20-minute doc that encapsulates the film.

“Xeroderma pigmentosum: What is it?”: An 8-minute look at a family that has experienced the same super-rare disease that caused the children in The Others to be sensitive to sunlight.

“An Intimate Look at Alejandro Amenabar”: How intimate can you get over the course of 8 minutes? Not very.

“Special Effects”: A 4-minute short dealing with the film’s special effects.

Official Score