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WSR Detailed DVD Review
Pianist, The
2002 / Widescreen
Genre: Drama

Reviewed In Issue 74 (July 2003) Of Widescreen Review®

Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Maureen Lipman, Emilia Fox, Ed Stoppard, Julia Rayner & Jessica Kate Meyer

WSR Review Scores
WSR Picture Rating: 4
DD Sound Rating: 3.5
DTS Sound Rating: 3.5
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score: 4
Internet Links
Special Features
There are no supplements found on Side A of this DVD, but flipping the disc will give access to an entire menu full of bonus features. The 40-minute documentary "Story Of Survivial: Behind The Scenes Of The Pianist" explores personal recollections by director Roman Polanski (who was a young boy during World War II), video clips of the real Wladyslaw Szpilman playing the piano, and additional interviews with Adrien Brody and screenwriter Ronald Harwood. There are also cast and filmmaker bios, production notes, a soundtrack promo, and the theatrical trailer.

 DVD General Information

(Studio/Distributor): Universal Studios Home Video
(Catalog Number): 22766
(MPAA Rating): R
(Rating Reason):

Violence and brief strong language
(Retail Price): $26.98
(DVD Type): Dual Side, Single Layer/Dual Layer (DVD14)
(Widescreen Edition): Yes
(Full Screen Edition): No
(Anamorphic Widescreen): Yes
(Running Time In Minutes): 149
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): No
(Regional Coding): 1
(Theatrical Year): 2002
(Theatrical Release): Yes
(Direct-To-Video Release): No
(DVD Release Date): 05/27/03
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

 Credits Information

(Director): Roman Polanski
(Screenplay/Written By): Subscribe Now!
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(Academy Awards): Subscribe Now!

  DVD Picture Information

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  DVD Sound Information

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  WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
Wladyslaw Szpilman (Brody) was a gifted "Pianist" living the life of a wealthy Jewish man in Poland. When World War II broke out and the Germans invaded his country, Wladyslaw believed he would be safe after securing work certificates for himself and those he loved. After he and his family were selected to be sent to a Nazi concentration camp, Wladyslaw was pulled aside and saved from the certain horrors that awaited those leaving for camp. After going into hiding, however, Wladyslaw was introduced to a whole new set of horrors with starvation being his biggest obstruction. And just when Wladyslaw had given up all hope, help unexpectedly came from a kind German officer (Kretschmann) with a passion for music. Nominated for seven Academy Awards

DVD Picture:
The anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 DVD exhibits a picture that can be quite dark and is stylized to visually depict the setting of the film. Colors appear desaturated, but are nicely balanced with accurate fleshtones and deep blacks. Images are sharp and detailed, with nicely rendered textures and definition, though a softer focus is applied to some scenes. The source element is quite clean and solid, with no excessive artifacts. Edge enhancement can be very ugly - for example, the rim of Brody

The 5.1 soundtracks are both spatially conservative in nature. Much of the audio is focused around the dialogue, for which voices sound reasonably natural but also somewhat forward in nature. The surrounds are very gentle in activity throughout, so the soundstage is characteristically balanced toward the screen channels. The sense of spatial expansion and coherence across the screen is fairly compelling. Another notable aspect of this soundtrack is the rendering of gunshots and some explosions, with particular visceral poignancy in terms of sonic character and the use of dramatically wide dynamic range. For this soundtrack, there seems to be no noticeable distinction between the Dolby