Last Exit to Brooklyn looks startlingly contemporary for a ‘50s era period piece shot in 1989. Summit Entertainment’s 1080p Blu-ray offers as much sharpness as can be expected from Stefan Czapsky’s glowing, soft-focus cinematography. That’s not a criticism, as the movie has a unique look that I feel is well represented by the high definition transfer. Fine detail is somewhat lacking, but that is inherent in the original cinematography. The movie has an intentionally drab look, with a relatively muted color scheme. But items that are colorful are vivid. The darker scenes (of which there are many) lose a bit too much in detail, with black crush becoming a minor issue at times. But overall this is an exceptional presentation of a very stylishly photographed film.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is also surprisingly robust for a twenty-two year old film. Dialogue is free of distortion and always mixed at an appropriate level. Mark Knopfler’s moody, atmospheric score is well incorporated. Although most of the audio is concentrated upfront, the rear channels are utilized for mostly subtle effect. Large crowd scenes, such as the violent confrontation with the striking workers, feature a satisfying amount of effects from the rear channels. The LFE channel is not overly prominent, but bass presence is felt when necessary.
Special features are not exhaustive by any means. Not everything available on previous DVD releases has been ported over to the Blu-ray. There is an audio commentary by director Uli Edel and a forty-five minute vintage "making of" presented in standard definition. It would have been interesting to hear reflections from some of the primary cast and crew all these years later. But if you’re interested in Last Exit to Brooklyn, don’t let a weak supplemental package deter you. The film looks and sounds great on this Blu-ray reissue.