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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Noma: My Perfect Storm (Blu-ray)
Noma: My Perfect Storm (Blu-ray)
Magnolia Home Entertainment // Unrated // March 22, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted April 13, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

With films like Chef showing the work that goes into the aesthetic beauty of food, transitioning to documentaries like Jiro Dreams of Sushi to look at the real life figures behind some of these edible arts was only a natural one, with the latest installment being Noma: My Perfect Storm, about the Danish restaurant Noma.

Noma was founded by Rene Redzepi in Copenhagen, and its menu is based on available ingredients only found in Scandanavia, and its title is a combination of the Danish words "Nordic" and "food." The Macedonian Redzepi started the restaurant in 2003 and within a decade, won the title of "Best Restaurant in the World" three years in a row. The restaurant had an outbreak of the Noro virus where dozens of customers were struck ill due to the inadvertent actions of of an employee before they regained their title in 2014. With the help of Didier Deschamps (a filmmaker and chef in his own right), Redzepi's story and philosophy, and thoughts on the man from those in the restaurant, are shared.

There is a bit of a pretentiousness to a film like Noma, presumably even for foodies, that is inherent in the film. The film basically shows off the rise, fall and rise of a chef at a Scandanavian restaurant that nobody that is reading this may go to, and the facial expressions on some of the dishes involved (dishes that they have to eat with their hands, by the way) would make for an interesting short film.

Deschamps likens Redzepi (and presumably a lot of other chefs) to the engine of a Formula 1 race car, with limited outside energy but plenty of power and connected to everything going on in the restaurant. And in Noma we see how much he is involved with the restaurant. The interviews with Redzepi's parents who share their thoughts on their son (his mother cooks at a restaurant for addicts) help shine a mild light on his motivations now.

Deschamps does a decent job of framing Redzepi's story and on the restaurant's success, failure and redemption. The restaurant awards aren't prevailing throughout the film, but he sets things up in such a way that you are familiar with the unprecedented success and the pressure Redzepi puts on himself. When the 2014 awards are announced, the viewer is placed in the middle of the action, and damned if there isn't a sense of verklemptness when it's announced. You've seen the work and pressure Redzepi and staff put into it, seeing it pay off is an emotional relief, as you'd expect it to be.

I was not sure what to expect from Noma, and there is a bit of catering to the vanity of the subject, but it's enough to overlook for the sake of Redzepi's journey in the film over the three year period the film apparently focuses on. The flirtation with losing interest from the viewer because of the nature of the subject matter tends to be a little excessive at times, but Deschamps keeps things centered on the task of the restaurant despite some gaps in the film such as more on ‘why Noma?' or ‘how come Deschamps?' For as much fine dining as Noma the restaurant has, Noma the film at times is a bit of guilt-free junk food.

The Blu-ray:
The Video:

Noma is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and handles the one job is has (making the food look good) really nice. Colors are somewhat vivid and the source material seems to use a mix of high-definition and possibly GoPro cameras to get further inside the restaurant, or even a cell phone for the awards ceremony at the end. There aren't any noticeable moments of pixilation or image haloing and generally looks good considering the source.

The Sound:

The DTS-HD 5.1 surround Noma sports does not have a lot to do, or more specifically the source material in a restaurant does not give them much, so they rely on a bass-forward score and occasional non-instrumental songs to provide a decent dynamic range. Interviews sound consistent through the feature and overall the disc is fine.

Extras:

Three deleted scenes (10:44) show us some of the ingredients Noma uses daily, while "Tasting the Menu" (20:15) has the staff do this with four dishes. A gallery of the restaurant's menu (2:42) follows along with the trailer (2:02).

Final Thoughts:

Noma My Perfect Storm hangs around near, but doesn't venture into, parody of how silly it is to be eating reindeer moss in a Denmark restaurant, and pay top dollar to do it at that. The guy who runs Noma still has some mystery behind him, but those involved with Noma focus less about the restaurant and more on being the best, whether Redzepi wants to admit it or not. It's worth a rental, but don't spend more time on this than it's worth.

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