Nights In Rodanthe (2008) 
Blu-ray Romantic Drama
Written by Noah Fleming   
Thursday, 19 February 2009

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After New Line Cinema’s success with “The Notebook,” Warners decided that another Nicholas Sparks’ novel would be well suited for adaptation to the big screen.  Sadly, the film falls flat, despite the great cast.  “Nights In Rodanthe” is a classic tale and offers nothing new to audiences.  The film came and went in theaters so quickly that if you blinked your eyes you would miss it.

The film reunites Diane Lane and Richard Gere, previously paired in “Unfaithful.”  Lane plays Adrienne, a mother of two and wife to a cheating husband.  Gere plays Dr. Flanner, a surgeon with a son that hates him and a wife that seemingly left him, although it is not clear to us what happened there.  One weekend, Adrienne sends her kids off with their father, who just so happens to admit his mistake to Adrienne and tells her that he is coming home, expecting that she will just take him back after all the cheating.  Adrienne heads up to a relic of an inn in Rodanthe, right against the ocean.  It is there that she volunteers to help her friend look at the one guest that is coming in the off-season, or hurricane season.

Flanner happens to be that one guest.  For four days they are alone together, with a full-force hurricane expected to hit the inn.  Flanner comes off as a jerk that wants nothing to do with anyone, including Adrienne.  However, his heart eventually softens and takes in company with Adrienne.  Adrienne plays the good little innkeeper that cooks and cleans.

Flanner’s hidden agenda eventually comes to fruition.  He was sent a letter by the husband of a patient that died on his operating table during a routine surgery.  Adrienne can’t help but stick her nose in other people’s business.  The breaking of the news brings the two of them together and they share a few wonderful days together.  Adrienne’s husband continues to pressure her into letting him return home, even dragging the kids into the discussion and turning them against their mother.

Flanner eventually leaves to Ecuador to reconnect with his son, who is volunteering as a doctor in the mountains.  While apart, Adrienne decides not to let her husband to come back, and she starts exchanging letters with Flanner.  Finally, she expects him to come back to her and she prepares a special evening.  Unfortunately, tragedy strikes.  I must say, I was not surprised by the ending of the film given its genre.  I just thought that it was unnecessary to make the audience feel so depressed.  But, being a book adaptation, you really can change the ending that drastically.  After all, the ultimate theme of the film is to encourage us all to finding that partnership that makes us the best persons we can be.

“Nights In Rodanthe” is presented on Blu-ray with a 1080p/VC-1 encode.  Despite the some minor problems, the transfer is rather good.  The colors are a bit on the bland side, however the strength in the blacks provides an image with depth.  The shadow delineation of the transfer is some of the best I have seen.  The contrast level is stable as are the fleshtones.  The image contains strong details, but lacks in textures.  Several soft scenes creep up here and there.  Horizontal banding is not as big of a problem as I would have thought given the film’s overcast location.  I have seen reports that there is edge enhancement on this film.  I struggled to find this apparent when watching the film.  It is present ever so slightly, but it is nothing to be concerned about.  I have to say, this is a fine video presentation for a romantic drama.

I still have yet to figure out why many of Warners Blu-ray releases of new films lack a lossless audio presentation.  This film is only presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and the compression is readily apparent.  After listening to so many lossless audio tracks, hearing Dolby Digital is like listening to an MP3.  There is artifacting in many of the upper frequencies.  There is no dynamic range to the audio.  However, the LFE channel does creep up here and there.  When the hurricane hits, low-frequency enhancement is present.  Dialogue is clean but not always intelligible.  The volume dips quite low in the dialogue.  The surround channels are virtually empty, except for the hurricane sequence.  Localization is also smeared due to the Dolby Digital compression.  I’m not saying that a lossless audio codec would have made much difference for this soundtrack, but it would have help a bit.

In a nice twist, the special features are presented in high definition, although there is not much interesting content.  There are a handful of alternate scenes with director commentary.  “The Nature of Love” is a featurette that gathers Richard Gere, Diane Lane, and George C. Wolfe and have them recall what attracted them to the story.  “A Time for Love: Keeping Up With Nicholas Sparks” is a quick look at the author behind the film’s story.  Finally, there is a look at the film’s soundtrack with singer/songwriter Emmylou Harris.  There is a music video of “Love Remains the Same” by Gavin Rossdale.  Finally, the disc is equipped with BD-Live and the package also contains a separate Digital Copy of the film on a standard DVD disc.

“Nights In Rodanthe” does not hold up extremely well.  The story is unoriginal and depressing.  Still, the chemistry between Lane and Gere is unforgettable.  The video quality is quite pleasing, while the audio track is lacking for the most part.  If you have a date night coming up with your significant other, then this may be the film for you.
Studio Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating PG-13
Starring Diane Lane, RIchard Gere, Christopher Meloni, Viola Davis, Scott Glenn, James Franco
Director George C. Wolfe
Film Release Year 2008
Release Year 2009
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature) • 1080p (supplements)
Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
Running Time 1 hr. 37 mins.
Sound Formats English Dolby Digital 5.1 • French Dolby Digital 5.1 • Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English • French • Portuguese • Spanish
Special Features Alternate Scenes with Director Commentary; "The Nature of Love"; "A Time for Love: Keeping Up with Nicholas Sparks"; "An Intimate Look with Emmylou Harris"; "Love Remains the Same" Music Video; BD-Live; Digital Copy
Forum Link
Reviewer Noah Fleming

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