Around a year ago I saw a trailer for a film called Solitary Man. It looked somewhat interesting, but the main selling point was Michael Douglas as the star. Generally a consistent actor in his performances this was a movie we were keen to check out at cinemas. But here we are, no cinema release, and a direct to Blu-Ray release here in Australia.
New Yorker Ben Kalman had it all - a successful car dealership, loving family and a beautiful home. But through his own bad choices he lost the lot. Now in his fifties and divorced from Nancy, his college sweetheart and the one person who knows him better than anybody else, Ben seems to be on the verge of a comeback. But could Ben make the same mistakes again? Although he still finds time to hang out with his daughter Susan and his adoring grandson, she breaks off contact when she discovers he's seeing one of her friends. His girlfriend Jordan is the daughter of a very influential director on the board of a major auto manufacturer. Now if Ben can just keep his hubris in check for a little longer, he will be back as big as ever. But circumstances are placing him in very close proximity with one girl he shouldn't touch, Jordan's daughter Allyson.
Now we must warn that despite being M rated this isn't a movie which we would recommend to youngsters as there are plenty of sexual references, themes and profanities littered throughout the film.
Solitary Man certainly isn't the best movie ever but Michael Douglas is always watchable, and even despite his characters choices through this journey, it remains a compelling movie.
Being a film released to cinemas not twelve months ago it is not surprising to see such a clean, dirt free, encoding on this disc. The film has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec at the aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and its generally a very good presentation with a high level of detail in the 1080p image. If there is one negative it's that the encoding tends to have some black crush with detail in the darker sections being lost. One need only look at the scenes where Ben, and other characters, are wearing dark blue or black clothing, or indeed anyone with black hair. Still, this is a nice transfer well beyond the DVD's video quality.
In terms of other audio track this disc includes a Dolby Digital 2.0 track encoded at 640kbps (which isn't available through the menu, but only by manually changing audio tracks, and also an English Descriptive Audio track encoded with Dolby Digital 2.0 (640kbps). Both are impressive tracks given the high bitrates. There is one English Descriptive Subtitle track on this release with text colour coded according to who is talking. Some of the dialogue has been shortened a little to allow the dialogue time to be read.
There is only one single extra on this disc which is a little disappointing given the strong cast. Still, with a box office of only $US3 million or so, it's possible not surprising that little effort has gone into this release which will be primarily rental sales only.
Inside The Crisis: The Making of Solitary Man (16:28/HD): A little promotional and too much replaying of scenes from the movie but this is still a somewhat decent look at the making of this film. A nice little extra, but sadly the only one on this disc.
Review By: Dave Warner