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Remains of the Day (1993) 4K Review

By   Mar 03, 2023 11:31 AM EST

The Remains of the Day is the perfect storm of writing, directing and acting.

Long before Downton Abby appeared on television (and then in movie theaters) there was another movie that highlighted British aristocracy, the servants who waited on the privileged, and which offered a dramatic love story that left audiences sadly somewhat unfulfilled.  The Remains of the Day, based on the novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go), was released in 1993 and was nominated for eight Academy Awards.  To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the movie's premiere, Sony Pictures has released the film on 4k.  The combo pack, which includes the 4K disc and digital download, is out in stores now.

Mr. Stevens (Sir Anthony Hopkins; Thor: Ragnarok) runs Lord Darlington's (James Fox; Patriot Games) home with precision and efficiency.  He has no time to be involved with anything or anyone emotional, which is part of what makes him so good at his job.  Miss Kenton (Dame Emma Thompson; Saving Mr. Banks) joins the staff as the housekeeper of Darlington Hall and immediately displays an emotional warmth that Stevens seems incapable of.  As Germany begins their "religious cleansing" throughout Europe, Lord Darlington hosts important diplomats and pronounces his support for the Nazis.  Years later, before a disgraced Darlington passes away, he admits his foolishness in backing Germany.

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's (Howards End) screenplay - adapted from Harold Pinter's (uncredited) original version - seems carefully crafted with deliberate wording and nuanced dialogue which adds to the tension of not only the impending war but to the intensity of Stevens' and Kenton's relationship.  Of course, Jhabvala's words would have been less effective had the main characters been portrayed by other people.  Part of what makes the film so special is the connection between Hopkins and Thompson.  Individually they are phenomenal thespians but together, feeding off each other artistically, they are incredible.

While the set locations and camera angles are masterfully shot, director James Ivory (Howards End) still manages to keep them in the background like minor characters, allowing his stars to shine.  Besides the leads, the film also boasts the talented work of Fox and the late Christopher Reeve (Superman), not to mention a young Hugh Grant (Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre) as Darlington's Godson.

The upgrade to 4K is excellent and, as the press release states, it is approved by director James Ivory. The 2160p resolution captures every detail from the costumes to the decor and furnishings of every room.  While the color palette tends to utilize more muted tones, the subtly of the various hues is easily and almost "felt".

The Dolby Atmos audio is an aural treat utilizing all of the speakers for an immersive experience.  From ambient sounds to the rain pouring down during the final scene, the audio is robust and crisp and the dialogue is sharp.  Transferring to the Atoms format was a wise choice as it enhances the viewer's experience tenfold.  Unfortunately, the extras all consist of previously released material and, with a film such as this,  if you've seen them once, there really isn't much reason to reacquaint oneself with the features.  The extras include: Love and Loyalty: The Making of The Remains of the Day, The Remains of the Day: The Filmmakers Journey, Blind Loyalty, Hollow Honor: England's Fatal Flaw, Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes and Trailers

The Remains of the Day is the perfect storm of writing, directing, and acting so there is no wonder why it was nominated for so many Oscars.  With a glimpse into the class system in 1930s England, there emerges a complicated story that is so much more than the sum of its parts.  A classic movie that has been lovingly restored by Sony is a no-brainer.  Buy it today!

Grade: A-

Directed By:

MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 134 minutes
Distributed By: Columbia Pictures

For more information about Remains of the Day visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. This release has been provided to FlickDirect for review purposes. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

Remains of the Day images are © Columbia Pictures. All Rights Reserved.


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