Blu-ray Review: A SERIOUS MAN

GATW Guest Writer

by: GATW Guest Writer
February 8th, 2010

Blu-ray Rating: 5/10

This review will focus on the Blu-ray release. If you want a review of the film, click HERE, and your need will be met.

One of the ten best films of the year (according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) is A SERIOUS MAN. The film is nominated for Best Picture, the famous (or for many, infamous) category that grew from five to ten nominations this year. It is also one of the ten best films of the year according to Rusty Gordon (a personal hero of mine), so now you know it is legitimately great even if that first sentence did nothing for you. The A SERIOUS MAN Blu-ray, on the other hand, finishes far behind the quality of the film, officially clocking in at disappointing.

A great amount of disappointment with the Blu-ray comes from A SERIOUS MAN being the latest film from two of the boldest and unique filmmakers still doing their thing, Joel and Ethan Coen. Yet we do not hear or see much from them on the Blu-ray, which would have been very intriguing. There is so much intelligence and calculation that goes into their films, and it would be fascinating to hear the filmmakers dissect and offer insights into what they have created. Someone recently told me that the Coen brothers don't do commentary because they feel the film should speak for itself. You can respect that reasoning (if it is true) but it is still unfortunate for both the film and Coen brothers fans.

You do see a little of the Coen brothers in the special features, popping occasionally in the Becoming Serious extra (a making of feature) and Creating 1967 (exploring the creation of the film's authentic look). The small amount you get from the directors gives you an alluring taste of the insights you could get from the duo discussing the film with a feature length commentary. Hearing the directors talk about the creation of the film's prologue (a Jewish fable that is not actually fable because they made it up) makes you crave more from them, but sadly you do not get much more beyond this.

Becoming Serious, aside from the Coen Brothers presence, is a pretty uneventful feature. You get a lot of the actors and a few others involved talking about what the film and their characters mean to them, and of course in this case, praising the greatness of the Coen brothers.
Creating 1967 is an amusing extra. A SERIOUS MAN is set in an unnamed Midwestern city in 1967, and this feature gives you an idea of how the film's look was created, and some of the specific inspirations.

The final feature is Hebrew and Yiddish for Goys, where Hebrew terms used in the film are defined in this very brief feature (a little over two mintues). A cool little feature, but a very minor one.

There are only three features with the A SERIOUS MAN and none of them offer what is most desired with the Blu-ray or sufficiently explore the depths of A SERIOUS MAN. There is not enough Coen brothers on the Blu-ray release of A SERIOUS MAN, this may be the brothers doing, but it is still a big part of what the Blu-ray is missing.

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