The cover art and title for filmmaker Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling is rather misleading. We could be excused for thinking that we are about to sit down to watch some sort of romantic drama, but on the contrary, the film is a psychological thriller in the vein of The Stepford Wives, if not an indirect remake of that film.
The story follows a group of married couples in an experimental 1950s suburb called Victory, run by an influential and powerful tech company. The focus is on Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack Chambers (Harry Styles), who, when we meet them, seem to be incredibly amorous and in love. As Alice starts having strange dreams and hallucinations, she begins to question what is really going on in this idyllic town and at the company where all of the husbands are employed. The truth may be something inconceivably dark.
Wilde, who both directs and acts in the film, does an excellent job sculpting the feeling of unease that permeates Don’t Worry, even if the plot begins to spiral out of her commendable control. Chris Pine and Florence Pugh, however, supply formidable performances that raise the level of the film.
Don’t Worry Darling was captured at 4.5K resolution and mastered in 4K. Warner brings the film to the 4K Ultra HD format in 2.39:1 HEVC 2160p with HDR10 metadata that shows a maximum light level MLL of 277 nits and maximum frame average light level of 101 nits, and this HDR grading does not add much overall brightness to the image. The pristine digital source looks to have had some simulated grain applied to give it a more organic, filmic appearance, which does not hamper the detail in any way. It just grants the image a bit more texture. The colors in Victory have a Crayola vibrancy that contributes to the sense of enhanced reality of it all.
The Dolby Atmos mix is subtle and at times—especially in the lower frequencies—lacks a bit of clarity. This mix works well for this film, which is more dialogue than action-driven, relative to some other recent releases. Overhead sounds are stagnant but noticeable and consist mostly of atmospherics, such as the chirping birds in the suburban neighborhood or the reverb from the songs on the soundtrack.
Don’t Worry could be classified as “barebones” without much in the way of bonus features. On the included HD Blu-ray disc, we get a “making of” featurette and a single deleted scene. A Movies Anywhere digital code is also provided.
Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray
STUDIO: 20th Century Studios, 2022
ASPECT RATIO: 2.39:1
HDR FORMATS: HDR10
AUDIO FORMATS: Dolby Atmos with TrueHD 7.1 core
LENGTH: 134 mins.
MPAA RATING: R
DIRECTOR: David O. Russell
STARRING: Christian Bale, John David Washington, Margot Robbie, Robert De Niro, Mike Myers, Michael Shannon