Reversal Of Fortune (Blu-ray Review)

Warner Archive Collection is adding the 1990 film Reversal of Fortune to their roster for October.  Based on a true story, the film tells a tale from a high profile case of law professor Alan Dershowitz and the murder trial of Claus von Bulow. Historically, besides being a well received film, it is notable for being the film that landed Jeremy Irons the Academy Award for Best Actor. The film also earned nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay Based on Material From Another Medium. It features plenty of familiar faces in the cast sporting early roles in their respective careers. Coming along for the ride as bonus materials are a trailer and a commentary. The film is now available for pre-order. The release date is October the 13th (Oooh, big competition for that Friday the 13th set!), and you can use the paid Amazon Associates link below to pre-order and have upon release. Or you can secure a copy by ordering straight from Warner Archive Collection’s site.


When socialite Sunny von Bülow (Glenn Close) inexplicably slips into an irreversible coma, police suspect foul play — and the obvious suspect is her urbane husband, Claus (Jeremy Irons). After being found guilty of murder, Claus is granted a retrial and hires showboat Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver) to represent him. Though unconvinced of Claus’s innocence, Dershowitz enjoys a challenge and — along with a group of his students — fights to have the verdict overturned.

Reversal of Fortune is a legal procedural with some thrilling elements intact. The film very much plays in a fact by fact fashion, opting for the business and educational approach. It doesn’t play as boring as that sounds, but that’s the sort of crux that really makes things go. And with that in play, it then allows the performers to just control and take the scenes as they may need to.

One aspect that really enhances and makes Reversal of Fortune special is the focus on the team aspect of the legal research and study. Dershowitz has a team compromised of students working to reverse a guilty verdict. There are many communication scenes, collaboration scenes and sharing notes scenes in the film really showcasing hard work, challenges and more. In all honesty, its what sets it apart from most legal thrillers you typically see.

Jeremy Irons lives up to his statue he earned for the film. It funny he wins for Best Actor when Ron Silver’s Alan Dershowitz clearly is the lead and drive of the film. Oh well, well deserved. Ron Silver is unlike you’ve ever seen him and he’s pretty outstanding and delivering in areas I’ve not seen him show off before. And its more than just the glasses and puffy hair. The film also shows us some early performances from Felicity Huffman an Fisher Stevens, too.

This is a pretty engaging and fun movie. Perspective is key, putting together evidence and watching the team banter and figure things out is a lot of fun and get this movie ticking. Throw in some fun flashbacks that get replayed in order to find the truth, and you have a really nice legal thriller of the top notch variety.


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/DetailReversal of Fortune comes to Blu-ray with no details provided regarding its transfer from Warner Archive Collection. We can assume it was likely done at 1080p. The same folks doing Drop Dead Gorgeous must’ve handled this as well as they come with a similar aesthetic in their filmic look. There are plenty of details and a healthy layer of grain present that helps with the depth and detail on the image.

Depth:  Due to hanging onto the grain, you get a really loose, three dimensional feel to the image. There’s a nice 3D pushback feel to it, with good foreground and background relations. Movements are smooth and cinematic.

Black Levels: Blacks are pretty close to natural levels as they can be. Grain is a hair heavier in the darkest reaches of the frame. No information gets sucked up into the darkness. No crushing present.

Color Reproduction:  In terms of color and things that pop, the film doesn’t really open up to that at all. Its a really grounded, natural look. That said, those colors are quite solid and well saturated.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are quite clear with easily discernible information. Glenn Close’s coma make-up also holds up pretty well.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: Reversal of Fortune‘s 2.0 stereo track is pretty impressive. The sound is really full, with good and effective deep tones. The mix has an easy time with placement and sound travel back and forth. Its uncompressed nature allows for a free and balanced feel as vocals, sound effects and the score are free to roam around the front 2 channels.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are quite clear and crisp with good attention to vocal inflections.


Audio Commentary

  • By Director Barbet Schroeder and Screenwriter Nicholas Kazan

Trailer (HD, 1:57)


The true story aspect adds a bit, but even if Reversal of Fortune were straight fiction, it’d still be a very well told and intriguing procedural lawyer drama. Warner Archive Collection debuts it on Blu-ray with a beautifully restored picture quality and an impressive stereo track that make for a great watch. It also carries a nice commentary in tow, to boot. Buyers of the film should be pleased given the reasonable Warner Archive Collection expectation.


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

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