(aka 'Death and Dishonor')
Loosely adopting the format of
the investigative thriller, and inspired by the true story of Lanny Davis and
his murdered son as reported by co-scripter Mark Boal in Playboy, Paul Haggis’s
second cinematic distress flare – following his race-orientated ‘Crash’ –
follows the efforts of retired soldier and ex-military policeman Hank Deerfield
(Tommy Lee Jones) to determine first the whereabouts then the fate of his
missing son, recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. It’s a thoughtful,
sincere and moving film, buttressed by a fine, central performance by an actor
at the top of his form but one which depends on the viewer’s indulgence in
Haggis’s play with genre commitments in favour of wider psychological or even
Theatrical Release: September 1st, 2007 - Venice Film Festival
DVD Review: Warner - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.58 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUBs: Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
|Subtitles||English, English (CC), French, Spanish, None|
the Valley of Elah documentary - After Iraq (27:13) / Coming Home
An extremely competent Warner SD transfer - dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic in the original 2.35 ratio. Detail is strong, there is minimal digital noise and contrast has some stellar moments. I expect the upcoming Blu-ray will improve upon all areas. I encountered no digital manipulations and the print is, obviously, super clean. There can be no real complaints with the image excepting it appears somewhat flat at times - more a product of its SD limitations. For home theatre viewing it is perfectly adequate and represents the film very well. The 5.1 track also has options for two DUBs and sounded fine being moderately rear-channel responsive to the, mostly dialogue-driven, narrative. There are optional subtitles in English (CC), English, French and Spanish.
There is a supplemental documentary (divided into two parts) In the Valley of Elah - After Iraq (27:13) and Coming Home (15:21) plus and additional scene (7:48). The doc has input from many - Lee Jones, Deakins, Sarandon and more. The additional scene is interesting - more so than usually seen on short inclusions of other DVD supplements.
I just finished watching and I think the film is pretty good - if a shade heavy-handed in its message(s) - great performances (Tommy Lee Jones is 'essential') and wonderful cinematography - less than subtle at times but it's so professionally laid out and topical it is hard not being very impressed to some degree. I suppose my opinion may change over time but I think it is very much worth watching ... for many reasons - Lee Jones probably topping that list.