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Call Me By Your Name (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

In the 1990s, independent films were on the rise and studios like Miramax were at the forefront of distribution. Many studios created a separate wing to focus on and gather the independent, documentary, art house and international films under a single banner away from the blockbusters and bigger star studded fare. Sony Pictures developed Sony Pictures Classics for this very reason in 1992. And for the 30th Anniversary of the studio’s formation, they will be putting out a 4K Ultra-HD box set with 11 films from the course of their history, including 10 that are making their debut on the format. This review looks back at the most recently film in this set, 2017’s Call Me By Your Name which stars Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. You can order yourself a copy of this impressive box set, which would make a fantastic gift for that special cinephile in your life, using the paid Amazon Associates link below.

Film

It’s the summer of 1983, and precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman is spending the days with his family at their 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy. He soon meets Oliver, a handsome doctoral student who’s working as an intern for Elio’s father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of their surroundings, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.

Sure, the film takes place in a throwback year of 1983, but Call Me By Your Name feels like a movie that is a throwback in its technical prowess as well. There’s a patient, hang out sense to it that evokes very much of the nature of a 1970s film while bringing with it some of the essence of many an Italian exploitation erotica picture as well. Everything is handled much better than many of the films that come from those eras and genres however. What Luca Gudagnino has put together here is a beautiful romance film that doesn’t hold back or try to play it safe.

For one, this film is just beautiful to look at. Set in Italy, it makes for some easy visuals, especially around some very classic pieces of architecture. The film involves the appreciation of sculptures and thus really seems to find a lot in the look of houses as well as the buildings and cities. The cinematography captures it quite well and very much akin to how one would see it in the prestige world of Fellini or the Giallo trappings of Argento. There’s a specific vibe captured here that couldn’t really be easy, but its specific and focused. It feels natural and genuine and comes down to era accurate, comfortable costuming even. It looks like stuff people would wear, rather than try to rage with the stereotypes of both its time and place.

A romance can’t quite work without the strength of its leads and Chalamet and Hammer really have it going on. Chalamet continues showcasing range and a desire to work with interesting filmmakers and stories, blockbusters be damned. And that’s quite admirable and why he’s such a notable person to follow in his career. Hammer is on a different trajectory at this point. He had been forced upon us as the next big thing, another vanilla blonde white guy headlining tentpole IPs and nobody was buying it. Not that he was bad or anything, but this is the role that actually showed us how great this guy could be. Unfortunately for him, this is the apex of his career as some really damning investigations have probably eternally paused whatever launching pad this could have been for the second act of his career. Also to note, Michael Stuhlbarg puts in his typical excellent supporting work here.

Call Me By Your Name was a fantastic film in an Oscars year loaded with fantastic films as well as performances around the horn. Its a film that really gave us a nice, wonderfully but together homosexual romance that could hopefully resonate with people that normally wouldn’t check out such a thing. Luca Gudagnino adds another one to a rather varied, bold career of films that really elevate and become in part to his craft.

Video

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review from the standard Blu-ray, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-100

Clarity/Detail Call Me By Your Name, despite being the most modern film in the bunch, was shot on film and transfers over as a native 4K title. And it looks every bit as lovely as you can imagine. There’s a real vintage vibe going on with its look and lighting here (Sure, by design because it takes place in 1983, but still impressive). The image has a little bit of a washed look to it, but it carries some fine details a good crispness and an image that feels quite big and showcases Italy in a gorgeous way.

Depth:  Depth of field is strong and really makes the cinematography feel quite huge and larger than life. Characters, objects and camera movements are confident and fluid. No issues occur with any distortions from rapid motions causing a blur or jitter.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural and help to make a more fine tuned image in terms of the sharpness and details/textures in the film. Shadowy and nighttime scenes have a really natural feel to them. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors have a slightly washed and a bit golden tone to them. The Italian scenery is gorgeously saturated and displayed here. There are some moments with really good pop here, including the lights at the dance with glow with the help of the HDR.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are slightly washed and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures like stubble, wrinkles, blemishes, lip texture and more come through very clear.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: Call Me By Your Name carries the same excellent 5.1 track that was on the standard Blu-ray. Its quite the well balanced mix, but one that really does well by cultivating the environment into your viewing space. There’s a lovely balanced weaving of the score, vocals and effects together. It features good layering and depth that has nice volume placement and makes for a lifelike presentation that excels both indoors and out.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer here never overextends its reach and keeps things natural. This isn’t track demanding a boom, but it really does well by the score with the piano as well as hitting all the right spots with effects that might need a little bump here and there in the mix.

Surround Sound Presentation: There’s a lot of attention up front here and the volume placement and travel is accurate and impressive. However, the ambiance, unique sounds and tracking on shot changes can be pretty intuitive from the rear channels.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

Call Me By Your Name 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray comes only as a part of the Sony Pictures Classics: 30th Anniversary Collection.

Audio Commentary

  • with Actors Timothée Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg

Snapshots of Italy: The Making of Call Me by Your Name (HD, 10:45)

In Conversation with Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Luca Guadagnino (HD, 25:10)

“Mystery of Love” Music Video by Sufjan Stevens (HD, 4:09)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:06)

Summary

Call Me By Your Name was one of the very best films of the 2017, and thus it should have been released on the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format when it arrived in March of 2018. However its well over 4 years later and that wrong has finally been righted. The new transfer is quite beautiful and showcases the fil to have a much more distinct look than previously shown, as it includes some better saturation and natural blacks. Extras as well as the previous audio track are carried over. This makes for a wonderful capper to the Sony Pictures Classics: 30th Anniversary Collection, which is the only way to pick this 4K edition up currently.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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