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Nanny

Blu Ray

  • Score
    60
    from 1 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Nanny intrigues with great casting but falters in horror and ending, sparking mixed reactions.

    Nanny Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    75
  • Rina Yang's cinematography in 'Nanny' stands out for its artful composition, bold colors, and soft image detail enhancing the story's depth, superbly presented on Criterion's Blu-ray, though a 4K version was missed for its visually stunning elements.

  • Audio
    70
  • The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix excels in clarity, balancing well-recorded dialogue with strategic rear-channel effects for emotional depth, maintaining a mostly front-focused soundstage with well-balanced volume and strong dynamic range, fitting its modest budget. Includes English subtitles.

  • Extra
    50
  • This release features minimal extras and a focus on horror elements in its design, alongside interviews and a short film by Nikyatu Jusu, yet lacks deeper thematic exploration.

  • Movie
    60
  • Nikyatu Jusu's 'Nanny' impresses at Sundance with a unique narrative and strong casting but faces criticism for its underwhelming horror elements and a disappointing ending, overshadowing its bold storytelling.

    Video: 75

    Rina Yang's cinematography shines brilliantly in the Blu-ray release of "Nanny," where her skillful artistry in framing, lighting, and color usage is showcased with outstanding clarity and depth. While the release could greatly benefit from a 4K version to fully encapsulate the film's vivid visual storytelling, Criterion's Blu-ray edition still manages to admirably preserve the film's aesthetic integrity. The choice to employ a slightly softer image detail as a creative reflection of the protagonist's psychological journey is particularly noteworthy. This, coupled with the strategic use of Panavision lenses, creates a captivating visual narrative that enhances the thematic depth of the film.

    The color reproduction on this release is nothing short of exceptional, perfectly capturing the wide and bold palette Yang employs—from the serene turquoise of the family's apartment to the striking red of Aisha's dress. These choices are not merely aesthetic but are part of the film's narrative language, deeply enriching the storytelling. The black levels and shadow details stand out for their precision, avoiding common issues with compression artifacts that tend to plague even high-quality releases. This ensures that each scene retains its intended impact, with the textures and details in both high and low-light conditions clearly discernible.

    Moreover, Criterion's handling of the video encoding on a dual-layered disc demonstrates a keen understanding of the importance of space for optimal quality. The reduction of artifacts like banding or macroblocking is commendable, allowing for a smoother viewing experience that faithfully represents the original cinematographic quality. This Blu-ray release, despite its lack of a 4K option, significantly succeeds in offering viewers a visually rich and immersive experience that is both technically impressive and emotionally impactful, fully honoring Rina Yang's exceptional work on "Nanny.

    Audio: 70

    The audio presentation of the Blu Ray for "Nanny" is delivered through a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix that matches well with the film's narrative and thematic essence. Given its primary focus on human drama set within largely intimate indoor settings, the audio mix excels with clarity and precision. Dialogues, irrespective of the dialect being spoken, are recorded cleanly, ensuring that every word is heard distinctly. The film occasionally transitions into more visually and emotionally charged sequences, where the audio subtly but effectively expands into the rear channels to enhance the impact of these moments. However, such exploratory use of the soundstage remains limited, as the film predominantly leans towards a more traditional front-heavy presentation. This restrained approach aligns perfectly with the film’s modest production values, delivering an audio experience that is both fitting and immersive.

    Volume balancing and dynamics are handled with care, providing a smooth auditory experience throughout. The dynamic range stands out, capable of accommodating quiet, dialogue-heavy scenes and the more rare instances of musical cues. These musical selections, whether they emerge naturally within the story or serve a more atmospheric purpose, are integrated in such a way that they command the listener's attention without overshadowing the narrative. It's a delicate balance that's struck impressively, ensuring that these moments pack an emotional punch without compromising the overall audio clarity.

    Subtitling options are limited to English (SDH) for the main feature only, catering to audience members who may require them for an enhanced viewing experience. This inclusion underscores the audio presentation’s commitment to accessibility and clarity, ensuring that all viewers can fully engage with the film’s nuanced storytelling, irrespective of their auditory preferences or requirements. The technical execution of "Nanny's" audio elements thus complements its storytelling beautifully, presenting a well-balanced and technically proficient auditory experience that respects its narrative heart and production scale.

    Extra: 50

    The Blu-ray release of "Nanny" features a modest assortment of extras that cater more to enthusiasts of the film's production and aesthetic choices than those seeking in-depth explorations of its narrative or thematic layers. The physical packaging, consistent with Criterion's high standards, cleverly hints at the film's eerie undertones, while inside contents include a fold-out insert with valuable A/V specifics and an insightful essay by Angelica Jade Bastiën. However, the bonus content, notably sparse for a Criterion edition, offers a brief, though engaging, glimpse into the making through "Truth and Terror," a series of interviews from the film's key figures that intriguingly touches on the creative process and visual storytelling but leaves much to be desired in terms of story depth. The inclusion of Jusu's earlier work "Suicide by Sunlight" provides an interesting, albeit short, detour into her thematic interests without necessarily enhancing one's understanding of "Nanny." The collection wraps up with a trailer, which, while finely crafted, feels like a missed opportunity to further enrich the viewing experience with more substantive behind-the-scenes insights or a director’s commentary.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Truth and Terror: A featurette comprising interviews with writer/director Nikyatu Jusu and part of the cast and crew, focusing on the creation and visual style of the film.
    • Suicide by Sunlight: A short film by Nikyatu Jusu that explores themes similar to those in "Nanny," presented in a visually compelling narrative.
    • Trailer: The official trailer for "Nanny," showcasing its prime elements.

    Movie: 60

    Nikyatu Jusu's "Nanny" presents an engaging, albeit imperfect personal drama that explores the psychological horror genre in a distinctive manner. Winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2022, the film sets its ambitions high, placing Anna Diop's Aisha at the center of a narrative interlacing the pursuit of the American dream with eerie visual storytelling. While "Nanny" is marketed as a horror film, it veers away from conventional scares, opting instead for a nuanced exploration of its characters’ psychological unraveling. The occasional unsettling imagery and drifts into the supernatural feel more adjunct than integral, somewhat undermining the clarity of its conclusion and leaving its genre classification intriguingly ambiguous.

    The movie thrives on the strengths of its cast, particularly through the character of Aisha, a Senegalese immigrant navigating her challenging role within a wealthy New York family. The dynamics between Aisha, her employer Amy (played by Michelle Monaghan), and Amy's daughter Rose are depicted with complexity, revealing the tension between professional obligations and personal aspirations. As Aisha's struggle for a better life for her son becomes entangled with her employer's unstable household, "Nanny" skillfully illuminates the sacrifices and silent battles immigrants endure. However, the narrative’s detours, including a romantic subplot and moments of psychological distress shown through Aisha’s visions, occasionally detract from its core focus, hinting at a broader commentary yet feeling somewhat unresolved.

    Despite its promising build-up and strong performances, "Nanny" falters in its final act, where a hurried resolution juxtaposes an otherwise meticulously crafted narrative. The shift towards an idyllic ending feels discordant, suggesting potential lapses in the film's narrative ambition versus its execution. Nonetheless, "Nanny" remains an accomplished debut from Jusu, marked by its realistic portrayal of immigrant experiences and the subtle terror of losing oneself in pursuit of familial unity. While it may leave viewers with questions unanswered, it undeniably showcases a fresh directorial voice and a captivating lead performance by Diop.

    Total: 60

    Nikyatu Jusu's "Nanny," despite its polarizing reception since its debut in 2022, remains an unforgettable entry into the psychological drama genre, predominantly for its commendable casting decisions and compelling cinematography. However, it's impossible to ignore the film's inability to consistently deliver the intended psychological horror elements, often leaving the audience wanting in terms of suspense and a convincingly dreadful atmosphere. This inconsistency somewhat detracts from the movie's overall impact, suggesting that the horror aspects may have been somewhat secondary to the narrative, culminating in an ending that falls short of satisfying. Moreover, the film's victory at Sundance and subsequent addition to the Criterion Collection have set expectations high, perhaps unfairly amplifying its perceived shortcomings.

    Technical aspects of the "Nanny" Blu-ray presentation fare better, though they aren’t without their issues — primarily due to a lack of substantial bonus features that fail to justify its retail price. While the film itself triggers a range of opinions, the quality of the Blu-ray release begs for a more generous inclusion of extras that could potentially enrich the viewer's experience and provide deeper insights into its creation and thematic depth. The visual and audio presentation meets the standard expected of Criterion Collection releases but leaves dedicated fans and collectors desiring more from their investment in this physical edition.

    In conclusion, while "Nanny" exhibits a fascinating narrative delivered through stellar performances and aesthetic finesse, its Blu-ray incarnation falls short of expectations largely due to an underwhelming array of supplementary material. This edition might attract enthusiasts of the film or collectors loyal to Criterion; however, prospective buyers should temper their expectations regarding the added value of bonus content. "Nanny" prompts discussions and warrants attention for its cinematic qualities but, as a Blu-ray release, fails to fully capitalize on its potential for a more enriched home viewing experience.