Nightingale Blu-ray Review
When we first meet Peter Snowden, he is recounting a conversation he recently had with his mother. Seems she didn’t approve of his new and outgoing lifestyle. According to him, he told her there were some changes coming. Her reply? “Not while I’m alive.”
Pretty much a one-man show, NIGHTINGALE benefits greatly by having the amazingly talented David Oyelowo (SELMA, LEE DANIEL’S THE BUTLER) front and center. And that is how the film plays out – like a long, one-act play. We watch as Peter begins to change his former, dull lifestyle. Using his mother’s credit card he begins remodeling the house, buying himself little gifts and planning for a special event. We learn that many years ago, while serving in the Army, he had a good and special friend named Edward. Having recently run into Edward at a local store, he prepares himself, and his home, for a special dinner he has prepared for Edward. Things must go just right, as Edward’s wife does not like Peter, nor does she want him speaking to him on the phone. But Peter is adamant and soon puts his plans into action.
With just a sparse living room and kitchen as a set, it is easy to imagine NIGHTINGALE being performed in small theaters all over the place. And while it enfolds like a play, the script also encompasses several film tricks – Peter addressing his web cam, as a kind of video diary, or talking into mirrors as though he is engaging another person in conversation. Oyelowo, who was robbed of an Oscar nod for his performance as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in SELMA is equally award worthy here. Resembling not the beefy Civil Rights Leader but a younger version of actor Delroy Lindo, Oyelowo is equally enraging and heartbreaking. It is obvious as the film goes on that there is much more to the story then we have been allowed know. Be it Peter’s occasional “visits” to his mother’s room in the rear of the house to his exhaustive search for just the “right” clothes to wear for Edward’s visit, we feel the emotions that Peter battles. And, as his mother’s friends, as well as his own sister, begin to question her whereabouts, we feel the world closing in as well. These confrontations are held on the phone, so Oyelowo must convey both what he is hearing with what he his conferring. Though the ending is somewhat predictable (these things never end the way they’re intended to), the film entertains and holds your attention through the end.
Visually, the film is a great combination of video and film. When Peter uses his laptop’s web cam to record his thoughts, almost like a video diary, we feel we are watching him through our own screen, with that soft focus one finds on Skype. This could have been a disturbing choice but director Elliott Lester makes great use of it by not overdoing the gimmick. If you’re a fan of acting, NIGHTINGALE should be a perfect choice for a night in.
Video: Presented in a 1:78.1 aspect ratio, the video quality is quite good. As noted in the review, some of the images are intentionally “fuzzy” due to the use of web cams.
Audio: The soundtrack is delivered in DTS Master Audio 5.1 and comes through the speakers loudly and clearly. Even as the dialogue goes from screaming rants to whispered apologies, you don’t miss a thing.
There are no Extras on this disc.