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8 MILE ($30) is a gritty, modern coming of age drama, with an impressive acting performance from rapper Eminem. Eminem brings a fierce intensity to his acting, but there is also a surprising amount of vulnerability in the performance. 8 MILE does not paint a pretty picture of life for Eminem’s character, Jimmy 'B-Rabbit' Smith, a wannbe rapper, whose musical ambitions appear stymied by hip poor white trailer trash upbringing on the outskirts of Detroit. Although Jimmy has black friends, with whom he is close, and they do provide him encouragement, he does find himself fighting an uphill battle in a medium dominated by those prejudiced against the color of his skin.

Making matters worse are Jimmy’s quick temper, recent breakup with a pregnant girlfriend and alcoholic Stephanie (Kim Basinger), who is on the verge of being evicted from her trailer home, along with Jimmy’s little sister. The only ray of sunshine in Jimmy stormy existence is his new relationship with Alex (Brittany Murphy), but even that is fraught with problems. As I stated, 8 MILE isn’t a pretty film, but it is an intensely acted film with a number of strong performances, as well as the sterling guidance of director Curtis Hanson. The cast of 8 MILE also features Mekhi Phifer, Evan Jones, Omar Benson Miller, De'Angelo Wilson, Eugene Byrd, Taryn Manning, Larry Hudson, Proof, Mike Bell, Michael Shannon and Anthony Mackie.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made 8 MILE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is great and brings all the gritty intensity of the film’s cinematography to high definition with utmost clarity. Image sharpness and fine detail are strongly represented here, plus the picture sports impressive dimensionality. Texturing is excellent, as is the rendering of the actors faces in close ups, which show all the imperfections and tiny lines one would expect to see in real life. For the most part, colors are cold and desaturated, which intensifies the bleakness of the world that the characters inhabit. Blacks are accurate and the whites are crisp. Contrast is fairly smooth, while shadow detail is more than adequate for the material. The elements from which 8 MILE are transferred appear virtually pristine. Grain is apparent throughout the course of the movie and can be somewhat heavier in darker scenes. The presentation has an organic and very film-like quality.

8 MILE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. As 8 MILE is primarily a talky drama, the sound tends to be localized front and center much of the time. There are sequences that engage the outlying channels for sound effect placement, but the track really comes to life for the musical passages, as well as the club scenes where rap music and rap talent go on display. Quieter passages have a good level of ambience, which helps make them sonically convincing. Fidelity is strong during the musical passages. The bass channel is deep, but not so much so to annoy the neighbors. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and is always easy to understand. French and Spanish DTS 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. The Making Of 8 Mile is a fairly standard ten-minute program. Exclusive Rap Battles Uncensored runs twenty-four minutes and will be of interest to those who want to see more. An Uncensored ‘Superman’ Music Video closes out the extras.

8 MILE is a surprisingly well-acted and gritty movie featuring a breakout performance from Eminem. The Blu-ray provides for impressive visuals and strong audio. If you are a fan, the Blu-ray is definitely the way to go.



8 Mile [Blu-ray] (2002)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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