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The tempestuous love story about obsessive passion across the class divide, set on the Yorkshire Moors.
For more about Wuthering Heights and the Wuthering Heights Blu-ray release, see the Wuthering Heights Blu-ray Review
Starring: Kaya Scodelario, James Howson, Oliver Milburn, Nichola Burley, Amy Wren, James Northcote
Director: Andrea Arnold
» See full cast & crew
Wuthering Heights Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, April 10, 2012
Winner of Golden Osella Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution at the Venice Film Festival, Andrea Arnold's "Wuthering Heights" (2011) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Artificial Eye. The only supplemental feature on the disc is a collection of photographs by Agatha A. Nitecka. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
In a rainy, cold and dark night, Mr. Earnshaw (Paul Hilton, TV's Princes in the Tower, Klimt) encounters a young black boy (Solomon Glave). He takes him back to his home, Wuthering Heights, and adopts him. Soon after, he also baptizes the boy and gives him a new name, Heathcliff.
In the days that follow, Mr. Earnshaw's daughter, Cathy (Shannon Beer), grows fond of Heathcliff and the two begin spending plenty of time together. Her brother Hindley (Lee Shaw), who feels that he is being replaced by Heathcliff, becomes jealous and eventually confronts the boy. Strong words are exchanged and fists swung.
Things change dramatically when Mr. Earnshaw unexpectedly dies. Hindley takes over Wuthering Heights and immediately proceeds to teach Heathcliff a series of important lessons. Cathy is angered by his actions but can only observe them.
Meanwhile, Heahtcliff, who has also fallen in love with Cathy, struggles with the anger that is eating his soul – he wants to confront Hindley but does not want to lose Cathy.
Heathcliff and Cathy's relationship is soon tested. When the two visit the wealthy Linton family, Cathy befriends the young and well-mannered Edgar (Jonny Powell). Soon after, the jealous Heathcliff confronts Cathy and declares that he could see that she is going to end up marrying Edgar because of his wealth and status, even though he is the one she truly loves. Without a warning, he leaves and breaks Cathy's heart.
Heathcliff's prediction comes true. Cathy (Kaya Scodelario, Moon) marries Edgar (James Northcote) and moves to his lavish home. Her life changes but she often thinks about Heathcliff. Meanwhile, Hindley begins drinking and runs Wuthering Heights into the ground.
A few years later, Heathcliff (James Howson) returns to Wuthering Heights looking for Cathy. Hindley offers him a room, and asks that he pays a year's rent in advance, and then directs him to Edgar's home.
Andrea Arnold's (Red Road, Fish Tank) third feature reminds about Kristian Levring's The King Is Alive. It is a bold, original, and minimalist film which will undoubtedly divide audiences. Unlike The King Is Alive, which was shot under the auspices of Dogme 95, technically Wuthering Heights is a more advanced and diverse film, but the two look equally rough and gritty.
The less-is-more approach works very well during the first half of the film. There are long and deeply atmospheric sequences that would have been far less effective if Heathcliff and Cathy were to spell out their feelings. In the best ones the camera simply spends plenty of time studying their faces.
There is substantially more dialog in the second half of the film, and some of it takes away from the tense atmosphere. Heathcliff's actions are disturbing but the words he occasionally utters do not match their intensity. On the other hand, Cathy's collapse is exceptionally moving.
The decision to film Wuthering Heights with a Panavision XL camera was most appropriate as Robbie Ryan's cinematography is indeed striking. The various outdoor sequences in particular look stunning. It has to be said, however, that this isn't a beautiful – at least not in the classic sense of the word - film. It is a dark and gloomy, completely drained of warm colors film.
Note: In 2011, Wuthering Heights won Golden Osella Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution (Robbie Ryan) at the Venice Film Festival.
Wuthering Heights Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.32:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Artificial Eye.
Shot with a Panavision XL, Wuthering Heights looks spectacular on Blu-ray. Close-ups convey tremendous depth, especially when there is plenty of light, while the large panoramic vistas look exceptionally crisp (see screencapture #3). In fact, considering the fact that natural light has such an important role in the film, the crispness and fluidity during darker sequences are indeed astonishing (see screencapture #2). Color reproduction is also very pleasing - there is a wide range of natural cold blues, greens, browns, grays, and blacks. Furthermore, there are no traces of problematic post-production corrections. There are no transfer-specific anomalies either, such as banding or aliasing. The high-definition transfer also appears to be free of downsampling shimmer. Lastly, there are no serious stability issues to report in this review. To sum it all up, similar to director Arnold's Fish Tank, Wuthering Heights has transitioned to Blu-ray in spectacular fashion. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Wuthering Heights Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English LPCM 2.0. For the record, Artificial Eye have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The film has a distinctively organic sound design (there is no supporting soundtrack), which emphasizes various natural sounds. This is not to say, however, that the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track has a limited range of nuanced dynamics. On the contrary, it is surprisingly aggressive and rich. During the occasional storms, for instance, the audio has outstanding clarity and depth. The dialog is clean, stable, and crisp. Finally, there are no sync issues or audio dropouts to report in this review.
Wuthering Heights Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Wuthering Heights Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I thoroughly enjoyed Andrea Arnold's bold take on the classic novel by Emily Bronte. The film is raw and gritty but at the same time notably handsome, certainly one of the most original period projects I've seen in a very long time. Admittedly, it is not for everyone, but I am convinced that viewers who appreciate creativity in contemporary cinema will have a terrific time with it. The Blu-ray release, courtesy of British distributors Artificial Eye, is equally impressive. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Wuthering Heights Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Wuthering Heights Blu-ray - February 10, 2013
Oscilloscope Pictures will release on Blu-ray director Andrea Arnold's (Fish Tank, Red Road) Wuthering Heights (2011), starring Kaya Scodelario and Oliver Milburn. The film won Golden Osella Award for Best Cinematography (Robbie Ryan) at the Venice Film Festival. ...
• Wuthering Heights (2011) Blu-ray - November 4, 2011
Independent British distributors Artificial Eye have revealed that they are planning to release on Blu-ray acclaimed director Andrea Arnold's (Fish Tank, Red Road) Wuthering Heights (2011), starring Kaya Scodelario and Oliver Milburn. Earlier this year, the film ...
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