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Fifty Dead Men Walking [Blu-ray]
(Kari Skogland, 2008)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: HandMade Films
Video: Phase 4 Films
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,718,654,475 bytes
Feature Size: 19,505,811,456 bytes
Video Bitrate: 18.92 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: January 5th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1887 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1887 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
English (SDH), none
• Deleted Scenes (8:36)
• Behind the Scenes Footage (32:46)
• Theatrical trailer
Description: Inspired by Martin McGartland's shocking real life story, Martin is a young lad from West Belfast in the late 1980s who is recruited by the British police to spy on the IRA. He works his way up the ranks as a volunteer for the IRA whilst feeding information to his British handler and saves lives in the process; until one day he is exposed, captured and tortured to within an inch of his life. He escapes dramatically by throwing himself from a tower block window and is still in hiding today.
Belfast hoodlum Martin (Jim Sturgess) is recruited by a British agent (Ben Kingsley) to infiltrate the IRA during the height of the Northern Irish conflict and quickly becomes embroiled in a dangerous game that could cost him his life if his secret is found out. As other informers are brutally murdered, Martin starts to look for a way out, but his handler urges him to stay undercover in this taut action packed thriller based on a true story.
The performance of Jim Sturgess as McGartland helps place his decision
into the day-by-day process of acting on it. He meets clandestinely with
Fergus, rises in the trust of the IRA, is able to use information he
gets from Fergus to enhance his position. The two men become not
friends, exactly, but mutually dependent, and as the net grows tighter
toward the end, their dependence takes on an urgent desperation.
50 Dead Men Walking looks like a modest but reasonably competent transfer to Blu-ray from Phase 4 Films. It raises to a more remarkable level thanks to Jonathan Freeman's stunning cinematography of the Northern Ireland coast. This is only single-layered with the feature taking up less than 20 Gig. Contrast is a little suspect at times and although it looks like boosting - it may be more the production lighting. Skin tones seem true but aside from the Irish countryside and coast, nothing is dramatically dimensional or sharp. There is both grain and noise keeping the image less textured and fairly flat. It's no 'demo' but supports the film for a reasonable HD presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Like the image it is a modest DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 1887 kbps. There is plenty of aggression in the track and it separates well to some degree. Bass and high-end don't reach definitive levels but again the film is supported with moderate range and depth. The box states there are Spanish subtitles offered as well as English - but I could only find the latter.My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
There is about 40-minutes of HD B-roll stuff including deleted scenes and some behind the camera stuff. There is no real discussion or information imparted - it's all kind of slapped on. There is also a trailer and some Previews.
December 18th, 2009
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze