The Theory of Everything Blu-ray Review

Eddie Redmayne is sensational and so is this movie

This film is anything other than a theory. At times it appears completely disinterested in them. Instead, Theory of Everything is Stephen Hawking’s life with a slice of his mind boggling brilliance – with theories on the side.

And, it is not only Hawking (played with inarguable perfection by Eddie Redmayne). Theory is also about the people around him, his wife Jane (Felicity Jones), friends, caregivers, and professors. What Hawking accomplishes amongst these people and how he affects them is of equal parallel to his scientific genius.

Theory is a requiem for time. Hawking’s ALS is depicted as a looming burden throughout the film’s scenes in 1960s England while he attends Cambridge. His eccentricities are never dampened. Instead they are maintained and held even as Hawking loses his voice and Redmayne’s exceptional – seemingly impossible – performance fights to hold a notable smirk.

Of course this feature projects an astonishing and convincing intellectualism. Whether it directly deals in clashing ideologies is irrelevant. These ideas are softly conveyed through character and their conversations which slip into religion and existence to better bond characters.

At times, Theory is much in the veins of a Disney drama. It holds to many of the same dramatic patterns. Tugging and pulling on the aspects of theater is unavoidable. Events even seem artificially stacked to bolster the growing rift between Hawking and Jane.

Drama is masterful – wonderful but depressing, rich and alluring.

Given the ways to approach Hawking’s life – ALS, science progress, philosophy, personal – Theory finds an intimate path through each, with a concerted focus on the personal. Jane’s difficulties, frustrations, and dissatisfaction are often as central as her love. What it avoids are moments of anger. Theory is unusually friendly for a movie concerning divorce. Important pieces appear excised to keep Theory on a calmer plane. Again, somewhat artificial.

Those aside, the drama is otherwise masterful – wonderful but depressing, rich and alluring. Cinematography glistens and proves attractive, with a vintage layer of 16mm stock to add authenticity in montage sequences. Pacing is pristine.

Regardless of its minimally climatic nature, James Marsh’s directing talents (pulled mostly from documentaries) leads one of the youngest Best Actor winners through a role laced with sacrifice and enormous practice. End results are mesmerizing and so is the film itself.

Movie ★★★★★ 

Player @ 1:34:56

Post production tricks play a role in Theory of Everything’s visual side, notably a touch of aggressive, compression-like smoothing meant to de-age the cast in an otherwise unconvincing depiction of aging. The effect is somewhat abrasive, even obnoxious. Everything else is pretty beautiful.

French cinematographer Benoit Delhomme’s adds a touch of class to the feature, using blooming light sources to soften scenes as needed then wiping the effect for more dramatic fare. As with life, visual scope is up and down. The sights soak up the metaphor.

Fine details are well resolved anyway. Close-ups are clean and location exteriors are brimming with sharpness. Digital work invites no specific problems for a generally noise-free image.

Color grading is often drab, situating shots between warm and cool palettes. Earlier moments in the first act veer toward sepia to simulate age. As issues arise, grading dips into a palette of blues. One specific shot makes an entire turn from depressed blues into a blanket of sunlight. Theory is playing with the palette and is aided by sterling contrast.

Video ★★★★☆ 

While it is infrequently given space to play with, DTS-HD mastering is convincing. Classroom lectures or speeches in various halls spread the soundfield with a suitable echo. Scenes of driving or bike riding pay attention to the direction of objects or other vehicles. Outdoor camping moments are flushed with ambient animal calls.

Best is Johann Hohannsson’s score which proves riveting. Instruments are precise and volume swells to layer the feature in soft cues. Much of the work is mild in nature, yet still notable when placed in the mix.

Audio ★★★★☆ 

Director James Marsh solos commentary work and although he covers preparation, it would have been nice to hear from Redmayne himself. Eight deleted scenes continue the commentary, with Becoming the Hawking acting as the lone featurette (7:03), dealing with most of the cast’s work, not only Redmayne. Hawking and Jane themselves are both interviewed in-between.

Extras ★★☆☆☆ 

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.

  • cezar211091 .

    i like that they gave it a textured feel.it’s almost filmic.