Searchlight Pictures’ Empire of Light from Director Sam Mendes was released to digital formats including 4K UHD on Feb. 7, 2023. The digital formats predate the physical media releases on Blu-ray and DVD on Feb. 21, 2023.
A slow-paced film about relationships, racism, and mental illness, Empire of Light shines in its cinematic presentation and polished visual and sound experience. Olivia Colman (nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture in the 95th Academy Awards) stars as Hilary Small, a movie cinema manager who struggles with bipolar disorder. Her multidimensional performance as “Hills” drives the film in which Micheal Ward (Stephen), Colin Firth (Donald), and Toby Jones (Norman) all play memorable roles.
At this time a 4K Blu-ray release has not been announced, so as far as we’re concerned the digital version in 4K is the highest quality way to watch this movie at home. The color grading in Empire of Light is really sophisticated and definitely gets enhancement from Dolby Vision HDR to create those deep color spaces beyond what you would normally get with standard dynamic range. Sharpness is exceptional in 4K, but it’s likely this film also looks great in 1080p given the high quality of the production.
As far as audio, Empire of Light provides a subtle audio experience that is best heard in a confined area or with headphones to keep any outside distractions at bay. With select digital services, you can actually hear the soundtrack in Dolby Atmos that adds just a hint of spatial qualities.
See scores and read a full review of Empire of Light streaming on Apple TV 4k and viewed on a 75″ Sony Bravia 4k TV with a Dolby Atmos 7.1.2 surround system.