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Out Of Order (Subkultur) UHD/Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Out Of Order (Subkultur) UHD/Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Subkultur
    Released on: June 28th, 2022.
    Director: Carl Schenkel
    Cast: Götz George, Wolfgang Kieling, Renée Soutendijk
    Year: 1984
    Purchase From Amazon

    Out Of Order – Movie Review:

    Directed by Carl Schenkel, 1984's Abwärts, known as Out Of Order in English speaking territories, takes place on a Friday evening just like any other, inside an office building. Four people - an arrogant business named man Jörg (Götz George), his beautiful blonde co-worker named Marion (Renée Soutendijk), an aging office worker named Gössmann (Wolfgang Kieling) and a younger punk named Pit (Hannes Jaenicke) – enter an elevator together and expect it to operate as usual, hoping to start their weekend soon.

    And then it gets stuck. The elevator repairman working on it didn’t realize there was anyone left in the building and so he split, figuring he’d finish the job on Monday morning. They cry for help but it’s Friday night, nobody is around to hear them. At this point, they figure it’s time to take matter into their own hands and crawl out of the hatch in the ceiling, but that doesn’t prove to be the best of plans. Of course, everyone soon starts to get claustrophobic and get on one another’s nerves, causing tension to break out between the four people. Unbeknownst to the others, Gössmann’s bag is loaded with cash he stole from his office. Marion initially panics and then starts making out with Pit. Jörg starts to get very aggressive with everyone else… and then the cables holding the elevator twenty-five floors up start to slowly fray and then snap.

    This film is not subtle nor is it really all that realistic at times, but it is tense and exciting and remarkably well-shot. The cinematography from Jacques Steyn frequently steals the show from the actual performers in the film and is, more often than not, as creative and unique as it is polished. There are specific angles and lighting setups here that really pull you into the moment, causing the scenes that take place inside the interior of the elevator to feel appropriately claustrophobic and those that take place in the elevator shaft to feels extremely dangerous. The score from Jacques Zwart does a nice job of accentuating this tension and, overall, the production values here are all quite good, despite the fact that in the extra features the interviewees both note that the film was made with a pretty modest budget.

    The acting is as good as the script will allow for. The characters aren’t fleshed out as well as they could have been and some of the events that take place in the confines of the elevator cabin don’t feel especially believable. That said, the four principals play their parts well. Dutch born Renée Soutendijk, who starred in A Woman Like Eve and also appeared more recently in the 2018 remake of Suspiria, plays her erratic character well enough. We don’t necessarily understand why she makes out with Pit in front of the others at first, it doesn’t feel believable, but the story makes suggestions later in the film why that might happen and she turns out to be pretty decent in the role. Götz George plays his character, who is admittedly pretty much an asshole, very well too. He has a smug sensibility about him, a sense of entitlement, that makes him easy to dislike, which is kind of the whole point of his character. Hannes Jaenicke plays the cocky, younger member of the group just fine. His character doesn’t have loads of personality but he suits the role. Wolfgang Kieling, of Alfred Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain, has less dialogue than the other three main players but still manages to steal most of the scenes from everyone else in the film, using body language and facial expressions to create a remarkably nervous yet entirely believable character.

    Out Of Order – UHD Review:

    Out Of Order arrives on UHD from Subkultur on in a 4k transfer of the original 35mm negative framed at 1.66.1 widescreen in an HEVC / H.265 encoded 2160p with HDR and Dolby Vision. Picture quality is excellent, and although the vast majority of the movie takes place inside some dimly lit interiors, there’s impressive detail on display throughout pretty much the entire picture. Skin tones look good, black levels are solid and shadow detail is strong. There are no problems with any noticeable compression artifacts and the image is free of any obvious noise reduction or edge enhancement related problems. The elements used were clearly in really good shape as you’ll be hard pressed to find any print damage here at all, while the picture retains the expected amount of natural looking film grain. No complaints here, this is a really solid transfer.

    There are English and German language tracks offered in 24-bit DTS-HD 1.0 Mono and in German DTS-HD 5.1 with subtitles provided in English for both language options. The German 5.1 mix is a good one, using rear channels to build some nice atmosphere and spread the effects and score around. It’s well mixed and suits the movie well. We can assume the two mono tracks are more reflective of the film’s original theatrical mix, and the German one gets the edge over the English one simply because it features the original actors’ voices. That said, both mono tracks sound fine. All three options are clean, clear and nicely balanced and free of any hiss or distortion.

    An interview with actor Hannes Jaenicke runs for twenty-eight minutes and covers where he was at during his life when he made the movie, his training, his work on the stage, how he came to meet Carl Schenkel and what he was like to work with, some highlights of Schenkel's career, shooting locations, what it was like working with his co-stars and his thoughts on their characters and work in the movie, his thoughts on the punk movement of the late seventies, the importance of rebellion in society and the movie's surprisingly successful box office numbers.

    An interview DP Jacques Steyn runs for nineteen minutes and it goes over how he came to work as a cinematographer, his background and training, early experiences in the film industry, working with Wim Wenders, his lighting work and the different lenses he sometimez uses, how he came to know Carl Schenkel and what he was like to work with on Out Of Order, the preparation that was required before principal photography could begin, some of the challenges that the shoot entailed, doing effects work in camera, budgetary restraints and how they effected the production, getting along with the actors and how professional everyone was to work with.

    Subkultur has also included an alternate version that runs 1:30:19 compared to the feature version at 1:27:31. This version uses the same restoration for the bulk of the movie, with standard definition inserts used to extend a few scenes. It uses up a lot less space on the disc, 12.5GBs, and contains a 24-bit German DTS-HD 1.0 Mono track and an English language 16-bit DTS-HD 1.0 Mono track with subtitles available in English only that translate both options.

    The disc also includes an isolated music track, silent English opening and closing credits, silent textless alternate opening and closing credits, a German theatrical trailer, a still gallery as well as menus and chapter selection options. The UHD comes bundled with a Blu-ray disc and also comes with some reversible cover art.

    Out Of Order – The Final Word:

    Out Of Order is a well-made thriller, tense and exciting benefitting from a strong cast and some really impressive cinematography. Subkultur’s UHD/Blu-ray combo pack release is rock solid, giving the feature a really impressive technical presentation and a nice array of extra features as well.


    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Out Of Order Blu-ray screen caps!

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