The Intouchables (Blu-ray Review)

Last year, a French film arrived on the shores of the U.S. and flew under the radar of many a movie-goer. Granted, this happens quite often with foreign films here in the States when Hollywood has a stranglehold on the film industry. Still, that’s not to say a film made abroad cannot compete with the domestic fare. Quite the contrary, as creativity is obviously not limited to borders. That’s where The Intouchables enters the scene. The acclaimed film now arrives on Blu-ray, but does its cinematic charm carry over to the home high-def format?




Written and directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, The Intouchables revolves around the unlikely yet incredible friendship of two very opposite people.  Philippe (Francosi Cluzet) is a very wealthy individual.  His money has afforded him a luxurious lifestyle that includes a lavish home, exotic cars, a private jet, and one motorized wheelchair.  Philippe, you see, is a paraplegic.  The current dilemma he faces is finding the right caretaker to assist him in his daily activities that for many are an afterthought, but for Philippe, are impossible to do alone.  Enter Driss (Omar Sy) who comes from a seedier side of town and couldn’t be any more different than that of Philippe.

The film’s story carries on in a very progressive manner, never losing the viewer’s attention.  The chemistry amongst the actors in this film is nothing short of brilliant as it comes across very realistically.  The persona of Omar Sy’s character is a very diverse and colorful one.  He brings street smarts and a let-your-hair-down mentality into what is an otherwise stale establishment.  This delivery along with the prim and proper attitudes of those around him gel incredibly well and provide multiple occasions of well-induced humor amidst Philippe’s serious condition.  He has such a high like-ability factor that it’s no surprise of the bond he and Philippe ultimately share.

The one flaw with this film, albeit a somewhat minor one, is the inability to tie up some loose ends. This particularly occurs with Driss’s family members.  We see a young boy who is hanging with the wrong crowd and ends up causing Driss some unnecessary grief, but we never know if he maintains that self-destructive path or if he rights the ship.  In a lesser dimension, this also occurs with Philippe’s daughter.  She experiences the typical tribulations of a teenager, though we never know what becomes of her situation either.  These are minor characters in the movie, but with ties to the major players.  It’s almost as if these youths are introduced to fulfill a few scenes, then we are to forget about them.


While I wasn’t expecting it, this picture quality of The Intouchables on Blu-ray was flawless.  The film, shown in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, opens with a night scene of which you will find some grain, and I have to say, it proves to be a nice accent to the picture (which is the first time I’ve ever said that about video grain).  The black levels are deep and rich while other colors share the same trait and seem to pop right off the pallette.  There is one particular scene that offers up some spectacular airborne camera work.  The angles and environment which are captured in this sequence really show off the film’s video capabilities and bring what is certainly a reference quality 1080p experience.



If there was one attribute I did not expect to be so high, it was the audio.  Typically, in dialogue-driven films you do not expect a great deal of pizzazz on a surround-sound system.  However, not only did The Intouchables exceed my expectations, it provided a top notch performance in this category.  The contrast of classical music and Earth, Wind & Fire sounded most impressive in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio delivery.  There is a flawlessly credible balance of sound in the entire film.  You will not find yourself grabbing the remote to turn this scene up or that scene down.  It is a viewer’s dream to not be distracted by something like that.  The dialogue remains unhindered through the accompanying sound effects and the film’s soft piano theme is literally music to the ears in its perfect audible display.



Well, at least this disc rocked it out in the more important areas.  It certainly fell off the back of the truck here.  We get a total of 6 deleted scenes, each under 2 minutes, and 6 sneak previews.  Personally, I feel sneak previews are very cheap filler for an extras section of a disc.  In a short time, they will be dated and not something most people are likely to revisit.  I understand that this being a foreign language film, the actors and writers/directors may not speak fluent English, thus rendering a commentary improbable for the U.S. market.  However, cast interviews with subtitles would’ve been a nice touch.  Maybe even some coverage of the film’s debut in France would make for a great addition.  Unfortunately, we get neither.


The Intouchables is a beautiful film and has already received repeated viewings from me.  It was my second favorite film of 2012 and could very likely top the list of my favorite 2013 Blu-rays.  You can’t ask for much more in the technical areas of this disc.  It tops out with 5’s in both the audio and video categories and the film itself should’ve received an Oscar nomination this year.  The special features are disappointing to say the least, but this Blu-ray had it where it counted the most.



1 Response to “The Intouchables (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    So glad it performs on the Blu-ray format.
    I own the iTunes HD download of this and I adore this film.
    A gem! A top-10 Blu-ray gem…well that remains to be seen, G.