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Narrow Margin

Blu Ray

  • Score
    81
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Narrow Margin is a must-see, beautifully mastered thriller; highly recommended.

    Narrow Margin Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    84
  • Narrow Margin's Blu-ray release, with a 1080p 2.35:1 MPEG-4 AVC transfer from a 4K master by Kino Lorber, dazzles in clarity, color, and depth, especially upscaled to 4K, free from age defects.

  • Audio
    84
  • Both English DTS-HD MA 5.1 & 2.0 audio tracks on the Blu-ray offer clear, high-quality sound, with personal preference dictating the choice; optional English SDH subtitles available.

  • Extra
    71
  • Vintage and archival extras for 'Narrow Margin' including two insightful audio commentaries, featurettes, and rare footage offer a peek behind the scenes, albeit with some quirks in presentation.

  • Movie
    79
  • Narrow Margin Blu-ray release by Kino Lorber features thrilling elements and technical extras, reflecting Hyams' fresh remake with dynamic suspense and Hackman's standout performance.

    Video: 84

    The Blu-ray presentation of "Narrow Margin" is a testament to how classic films can be revitalized for contemporary audiences. Presented in a 2.34:1 aspect ratio and encoded with MPEG-4 AVC for a 1080p transfer, this release proudly showcases the film's new life through a very solid new 4K master provided by StudioCanal. The visuals presented are nothing short of a spectacle, presenting a crispness, delineation, and depth that is particularly remarkable when upscaled to 4K. The effort put into the transfer is evident, as the darker scenes display an exceptional clarity that allows viewers to fully engage with the director’s artistic vision, further complemented by fluid motion and impressive color grading throughout.

    Details within the image are robust, allowing for an immersive viewing experience where facial expressions, intricate clothing textures, and the confined spaces of the train compartments are displayed with stunning clarity. The film's grain structure is preserved, maintaining its authentic cinematic feel while enhancing the visual experience with vivid colors, particularly golden tones and yellows, which lend the film a unique atmosphere. Additionally, black levels are deep and rich, contributing to the film’s noir elements and adding depth to each frame.

    The transfer is devoid of age-related flaws such as scratches or speckling, boasting an image stability that respects the original film quality. This exceptional Blu-ray release does justice to "Narrow Margin," acknowledging its status as a modestly successful movie from 30 years ago but presenting it with a visual quality that matches or even surpasses contemporary standards. The sheer quality of this presentation makes it clear that it benefits greatly from the recent 4K master, ensuring that whether viewed in its native 1080p or upscaled to 4K, audiences are treated to a fantastic cinematic experience.

    Audio: 84

    The Blu-ray release of "Narrow Margin" offers two distinct audio experiences through its English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 tracks, complemented by optional English SDH subtitles. The subtitles are thoughtfully positioned within the image frame to enhance accessibility without distractingly overlapping the film's visual elements. Between the two audio options, quality and preference seem to be a matter of situational choice rather than a clear winner, reflecting the film's dynamic range from tight, enclosed sequences to expansive action moments.

    The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is particularly notable for its outstanding clarity, sharpness, depth, and balance across various scenes. Despite its strengths, it occasionally falls short in delivering an immersive surround sound experience during high-action sequences, such as shootouts where the sound potential for environmental engagement seems underexploited. However, it shines during specific set pieces like the helicopter shootout and final chase, displaying a well-calibrated use of the surround channels that adds depth without overwhelming the core audio elements. The dialog maintains a consistent cleanliness and clarity throughout, ensuring that narrative delivery is never compromised.

    In contrast, the 2.0 mix presents a surprisingly robust alternative that might appeal more to purists or those seeking a tighter audio presentation that complements the film's close-quarters setting. Its streamlined clarity focuses the auditory experience without sacrificing the cinematic atmosphere. Both tracks benefit from Bruce Broughton's scoring, which adeptly heightens tension and enhances emotional beats without dominating the soundscape. Ultimately, whether viewers prefer the openness of the 5.1 mix or the concentrated impact of the 2.0 track, both options provide a fulfilling auditory experience that respects and amplifies "Narrow Margin’s" cinematic qualities.

    Extra: 71

    The Narrow Margin Blu-ray extras offer a modest yet engaging collection for enthusiasts and scholars alike. The highlight includes two insightful audio commentaries: one by director/cinematographer Peter Hyams, divulging fascinating behind-the-scenes nuances and the challenges faced during production; another by critic Peter Tonguette, offering a more analytical perspective on the stylistic elements and their broader cinematic context. The vintage EPK featurette, along with selected sound bites and B-roll footage, provides additional glimpses into the making of this tightly woven thriller, though somewhat mirrors content found in prior releases. Despite some oddities in commentary editing and less-than-impressive video quality on archival materials, these extras do enrich the viewing experience, particularly for those intrigued by film craftsmanship and the evolution of thriller conventions.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Trailer: Vintage trailer for Narrow Margin.
    • Audio Commentary One: Peter Hyams discusses the film's conception, production challenges, and his directorial choices.
    • Audio Commentary Two: Peter Tonguette analyses the film's visual style and thematic elements.
    • Featurette: A vintage electronic press kit with clips from interviews with cast and crew.
    • Selected Sound Bites: Additional clips from archival interviews.
    • B-Rolls: Behind-the-scenes footage showcasing the film's production.

    Movie: 79

    Peter Hyams’ Narrow Margin, a thrilling adaptation that transcends its origins by blending genres to deliver a fresh and engaging experience, is now showcased on Blu-ray via Kino Lorber with striking clarity and depth, sourced from an exclusive 4K master provided by StudioCanal. This 1990 film, while a remake of Richard Fleischer’s classic, diverges significantly, infusing its narrative with a modern tempo and richer complexities in characterization. The fusion of suspense, action, and neo-noir elements, alongside Gene Hackman’s and Anne Archer’s compelling performances, generates an unyielding tension and dynamism that keeps viewers riveted. Unlike its predecessor, Narrow Margin does not content itself with the predictable and expected, instead weaving a tightly-knit storyline filled with twists and turns on a backdrop of the visually stunning Canadian Rockies.

    Hyams intelligently plays with light and shadows, creating a neo-noir aesthetic that complements the film's tense narrative unfolding primarily on a train where Hackman’s character, Caulfield, employs intellect over brute force to protect witness Carol Hunnicut (Archer). The film is celebrated for sustaining a relentless pace, each scene meticulously crafted to transition into the next without losing momentum or intrigue. Despite occasional dalliances with light humor, which some may argue detract from the otherwise gritty ambiance, Narrow Margin chiefly succeeds in maintaining its suspenseful edge and visual appeal, underscored by outstanding camera work that rivals contemporary action thrillers.

    The Blu-ray edition encapsulates the essence of Hyams’ direction with exceptional visual and audio quality, underscoring the film’s robust action sequences and quieter moments of tense dialogue with equal finesse. However, not just the technical aspects but also the performances—especially Hackman's nuanced portrayal of Caulfield—stand out, offering viewers an immersive experience into Caulfield’s strategic mind game against his adversaries. In essence, Kino Lorber's release of Narrow Margin not only honors the film’s original brilliance but elevates it for home viewing with unparalleled clarity and sound that both new audiences and long-time fans can appreciate.

    Total: 81

    Narrow Margin," directed by Peter Hyams, receives commendations for its enduring appeal and for being a remake that stands out in the sea of cinematic revamps. The Blu-ray presentation by Kino Lorber Studio Classics offers an exceptional audio-visual quality, sourced from a recent 4K master provided by StudioCanal, ensuring that both the tension-filled sequences and the unexpected dashes of light humor in the latter half are conveyed with crisp clarity. Despite some views that the insertion of humor somewhat detracts from the potential of a darker and grittier narrative, the film is still celebrated for its captivating execution and the strong performances of Gene Hackman and Anne Archer. Their portrayal of characters navigating through perilous circumstances aboard a train keeps audiences hooked, proving the movie’s worth beyond its original release over three decades ago.

    The Blu-ray release shines not only in its restoration but also in the supplementary materials it offers, which are deemed informative and valuable for fans and new viewers alike. This package appeals to those who appreciate the craftsmanship of thrilling storytelling blended with technical prowess in movie restoration. "Narrow Margin" is highlighted as a significant piece that deserves recognition, surpassing even its original in terms of cinematic quality and engagement.

    In conclusion, "Narrow Margin" on Blu-ray is a highly recommended acquisition for enthusiasts of thriller genres and admirers of quality film restoration. Kino Lorber has ensured that this release is not merely a nostalgic revisit but a comprehensive package that enhances appreciation for the film’s artistic and technical merits. The integration of humor, although a point of contention, does not significantly mar the film’s overall gripping narrative and aesthetic achievement.