By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
The clarity of JFK on Blu Ray shows a phenomenal restoration process. As I like to say, it’s the quality of a window looking into the past, in this case two pasts. It’s 1991 when the film was made, and 1963 when the film is set. However, in restoring the clarity, they have preserved the aesthetic of the film, so it’s not a super heightened colorful portal looking into the set.
Blu-ray Review: JFK
The present day scenes (well, present of 1963, as opposed to flashbacks), has a tint that’s not quite sepia. It’s just a little bit less colorful than real life. Scenes on the D.C. lawn or in the prison work yard can’t help but be a little lush, but only the way real foliage is, not super heightened Blu Ray green.
Flashbacks actually bring a bit of color and light back in. I went to film school, so I can speculate that this is Oliver Stone’s way to distinguish the complexity of the conspiracy from the loss of heart after the death of a hopeful leader. Later scenes bring up the heat and the reddish orange tint. I’ll let you interpret that. The courtroom finale pronounces the washed out light coming from outside, so there are a number of different aesthetics presented in perfect clarity.
Stock footage and photos of course are totally grainy, however that grain is perfectly preserved on Blu Ray. The fake stock footage (Stone’s image of Oswald’s past as played by Gary Oldman) matches. Well, of course it’s a bit crisper but you suspend disbelief and it’s part of the same aesthetic.
JFK looks great on Blu Ray. With all the different types of film shot, the editing brings it all together to give the viewer immediate glimpses of all the different subtleties a filmmaker can achieve.