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The Firm

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    79
    from 3 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • The Firm excels in storytelling and performance, with a 4K release that leaves fans wanting.

    The Firm 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    83
  • The Firm's 4K Blu-ray from Paramount UK shows inconsistent quality with occasional artifacts and compression but overall offers a satisfactory upgrade with vibrant colors and improved details.

  • Audio
    82
  • The Firm's Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack delivers clear dialogue and a distinct piano score, offering authenticity without the frills of Atmos, matching its dialogue-driven essence with ease.

  • Extra
    62
  • Paramount's 30th Anniversary UHD release of The Firm disappoints with zero extras or slipcover, downgrading from previous versions' minimal content to flat out nothingness, despite digital copy inclusion.

  • Movie
    90
  • John Grisham's gripping tales of legal thrills, from deep South injustices in 'A Time to Kill' to the corruption-exposing journey in 'The Firm', captivate through cinema adaptations and critical acclaim.

    Video: 83

    The Firm" makes its entry into the UK 4K Blu-ray market with a release from Paramount UK that showcases some of the inherent challenges and irregularities that come with upscaling older catalog titles to the latest home video standards. While the upgrade to 3840x2160/24p BT.2020 resolution, supported by Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Dolby Vision does bring noticeable enhancements, it is accompanied by a mixture of compression issues, digital artifacts, and an occasionally inconsistent sharpness across scenes. Paramount's efforts have rendered a product that shines in moments—exhibiting superb close-ups, improved detail, and a vibrant color scheme—but also disappoints with sporadic quality drops. Viewed on advanced setups, such as an LG 55B7 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD OLED TV coupled with a Panasonic DP-UB820EB-K Dolby Vision HDR10+ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the strengths and weaknesses of this release become evident.

    In terms of specific strengths, "The Firm" on 4K UHD Blu-ray displays notable gains in visual quality over its predecessor, predominantly in the richness and liveliness of its colors. The judicial thriller benefits from Dolby Vision grading, which amplifies whites and deepens blacks to create a more dynamic and engaging viewing experience. Skin tones are rendered with natural fullness, and the textures of attire and settings receive a commendable boost in depth and vitality. However, the pleasure derived from these improvements is periodically dampened by scenes that suffer from a flatness and an artificiality in texture, suggesting mild digital noise reduction (DNR) has been applied. These interventions may have aimed to smooth over grain but instead often result in a loss of the filmic quality many purists value.

    Despite heralding from a new remaster and promising an enthralling leap to Ultra HD territory with a marginally satisfactory HEVC H.265 encode, the transition introduces issues not uncharacteristic of attempts to modernize films shot in an era not anticipating such technological advancements. The inconsistency in visual fidelity—ranging from commendably detailed to disappointingly soft or altered—mirrors Paramount's varied success with their back catalog in 4K. While the film certainly looks its best more often than not, thanks to periods of solid effort visible in specific scenes and sequences, it struggles to maintain this consistently throughout its runtime. This release evidences the complex dance between preserving and enhancing older films for contemporary formats, where excellence is sporadic yet the overall direction is forward-moving, albeit with reservations regarding some technical aspects of the upgrade.

    Audio: 82

    The audio presentation of "The Firm" on 4K UHD Blu-ray retains the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack from its previous release, presenting a sound design that is meticulously faithful to the film's dialogue-driven nature and subtle sonic landscape. The piano-heavy score by Dave Grusin, which is not just memorable but also Oscar-nominated, takes a central role, filling the soundstage with a spacious and airy quality that enhances the film's tension without overwhelming it. This choice of score is adeptly realized across the front channels, setting a distinct tone for the film that remains consistent and engaging.

    Dialogue clarity is paramount in this release, a critical aspect given the legal thriller’s reliance on intricate conversations and intense monologues. Voices are perfectly balanced and centered, ensuring that every whisper, threat, and dramatic exclamation is delivered with precision and without any distortion or loss of fidelity. Ambient sounds and the sporadic inclusion of effects, like aircraft noises and environmental buzzes, provide a realistic backdrop, subtly utilizing the rear channels to forge a modest yet effective sense of immersion.

    Noteworthily, despite its repurposed nature, the track benefits significantly from modern AV receiver technologies, such as Dolby Surround and DTS: Neural:X up-mixing functionalities. These enhancements expand the soundscape beyond its original boundaries, subtly elevating the ambient detail and Grusin's score into the overhead channels for a more immersive auditory experience. While the soundtrack might not venture into bombastic territory, its handling of "The Firm's" nuanced sound elements with professionalism and an evident understanding of the film’s needs ensures a satisfying auditory experience that complements the on-screen narrative effectively.

    Extra: 62

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "The Firm" by Paramount Pictures has been met with considerable disappointment regarding its lack of extras. Despite marking the 30th anniversary of this cinematic classic, the studio has failed to include any additional content that could have enriched the viewing experience. Notably absent are the original teaser and theatrical trailer, which were previously available on earlier DVD and Blu-ray editions. This oversight is particularly glaring as even these basic inclusions, potentially remastered for 4K, would have added value to this release. Furthermore, the package does not accompany a physical Blu-ray copy, only offering a digital copy code, and lacks even a slipcover, signaling an overall reduction in physical content and presentation quality compared to prior releases.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Unfortunately, there are no extras included in this release.

    Movie: 90

    John Grisham's sophomore novel "The Firm" swiftly transitioned from page to screen, securing Tom Cruise for the lead role as Mitch McDeere, a bright yet naive lawyer drawn into a sinister web by a seemingly benevolent law firm. Fresh off "A Few Good Men," Cruise delivers a riveting performance, backed by an all-star ensemble including Gene Hackman in a role initially eyed for others, and supported by stellar turns from Holly Hunter, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Ed Harris, among others. Directed by Sydney Pollack, the film eschews the conventional courtroom drama for a deep dive into corporate and legal corruption, marking it as a standout in the genre. Its cinematic execution is enhanced by John Seale's adept cinematography and Dave Grusin's memorable score, blending seamlessly to create a tense and classic thriller vibe reminiscent of 70s cinema.

    Set against the backdrop of Memphis, the narrative weaves Mitch's journey from an ambitious Harvard Law graduate to a man ensnared in the firm's illicit dealings with the Mafia. His descent into this morally murky world is paced immaculately over the film's substantial runtime, never feeling bloated but instead building tension with each revelation. The script expertly balances character development with suspense, leaving audiences invested in Mitch's fate amid the ever-tightening grip of his employers. This intricate plotting, combined with Pollack's direction, offers not just a legal thriller but an incisive exploration of ambition, ethics, and the personal costs of success.

    Celebrating its 30th anniversary, "The Firm" makes its 4K UHD Blu-Ray debut devoid of extras yet improved visually via a 2160p/Dolby Vision presentation that promises to bring Pollack's vision to life with greater clarity and depth than seen before. However, the choice to recycle the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack from previous releases may leave audiophiles wanting more. Nonetheless, the film's transfer to the UHD format ensures that both new audiences and longtime fans can experience this gripping legal thriller with renewed vibrancy, setting a high bar for home media presentations of classic films.

    Total: 79

    Thirty years since its original release, "The Firm" stands as a testament to storytelling prowess and cinematic tension. Sydney Pollack's direction ensures that the film remains a tightly wound thriller, emphasizing suspense and intelligent dialogue over gratuitous action. The adaptation of John Grisham's novel is noteworthy, distinguished by its faithfulness to the source material and bolstered by stellar performances from a cast led by Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, and Ed Harris. This convergence of a gripping narrative and exceptional acting ensures that "The Firm" remains relevant and engaging decades after its premiere.

    Paramount's 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "The Firm" arrives with its own set of expectations. Native 4K and Dolby Vision HDR enhance the viewing experience, offering an upgrade from previous 1080p versions. However, the upgrade, while solid, is not without its flaws. The video quality, though improved, still shows limitations, and the audio presentation, featuring a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack, is commendable but not extraordinary. Furthermore, the release is particularly sparse on extras, lacking even the basic inclusion of a trailer, which might disappoint collectors and fans of special features.

    In conclusion, while "The Firm" itself remains an exemplar of the thriller genre, the 30th Anniversary 4K UHD Blu-ray release from Paramount feels like a missed opportunity to celebrate such a landmark film fully. The visual and auditory improvements are appreciated but lack the polish expected of a milestone release. Collector's enthusiasm may be tempered by the barebones offering, suggesting a purchase on sale rather than at full price. Despite these limitations, the release is reluctantly recommended for fans who have yet to own the film in any high-definition format or those looking to complete their collection with its most updated version.