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The Road [Blu-ray]
(John Hillcoat, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Dimension Films
Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 33,699,554,294 bytes
Feature Size: 29,065,445,376 bytes
Video Bitrate: 28.97 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: May 25th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3761 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3761 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
English (SDH), English, none
•BD Exclusive: movieIQ+sync™ and BD-Live connect you to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie!
• Director John Hillcoat Commentary with optional English subtitles
• Five Deleted and Extended Scenes (6:37 in SD)
• The Making of The Road (13:47 in SD)
• Theatrical Trailer #1
• Theatrical Trailer #2
• 7 Previews
Description: From Cormac McCarthy, author of No Country For Old Men, comes the highly anticipated big screen adaptation of the beloved, best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Road. An all-star cast are featured in this epic post-apocalyptic tale of the survival of a father and his young son as they journey across a barren America that was destroyed by a mysterious cataclysm. A masterpiece adventure, The Road boldly imagines a future in which men are pushed to the worst and the best that they are capable of - a future in which a father and his son are sustained by love.
How could the director and writer, John Hillcoat and Joe Penhall, have
summoned the strength of McCarthy's writing? Could they have used more
stylized visuals, instead of relentless realism? A grainy
black-and-white look to suggest severely limited resources? I have no
idea. Perhaps McCarthy, like Faulkner, is all but unfilmable.
Hillcoat's earlier film, "The
Proposition" (2005), written by Nick Cave, seems almost
McCarthy-like. Something in McCarthy's work draws Hillcoat to it, and
you must be a brave director to let that happen. Writing this, I realize
few audience members can be expected to have read The Road, even
though it was a selection of Oprah's Book Club. Fewer still will have
read McCarthy's other works.
The Road perpetuates itself with a fairly drab look with plenty of earthy browns and unresponsive grays. This is intentional instilling a rather hopeless and foreboding atmosphere in an attempt to replicate the aura of the McCarthy book in which it is based. It works just fine on Blu-ray and Sony have given us a dual-layered transfer with a reasonably high bitrate. The image quality shows some grit and minor grain. The infrequent color splashes - usually in flashback dreams - look all that more impressive by comparison. Contrast exhibits consistently strong black levels and I'm thankful there doesn't appear to be any boosting or DNR. There are a lot of dark scenes. This Blu-ray while not aspiring to the high levels of the format's more impressive capabilities - does, from all I can gather, replicate The Road's original and intended appearance extremely well.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
There is an excellent DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3761 kbps. Like the video it rarely tests your system's capabilities but seems supportive of the film narrative. There are some bare separations, although not extensive, with an occasional gunshot, natural phenomenon (fire, water, rain, earthquakes etc.) rumbling in your subwoofer but it's a dialogue, which is sparse (an appropriate word to describe the proceedings), that takes a bigger role than effect sounds. The score has mellow moments that generally don't come into, noticeable, play much - which is often what you want from film music. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked but available in 'B' (UK link above and below).
We get a commentary from director John Hillcoat (it offers optional English subtitles although his Aussie accent is not difficult) and he admits from the start that he is winging it - but he does a good job. He comes across as intelligent as he did with Nick Cave on The Proposition commentary. Decent points of production and details are brought up and I was never board. It's worth the spin. Included are five deleted and extended scenes running less than 7-minutes but they too were interesting although their exclusion seems appropriate. Lastly there is a 15-minute generic Making of... with soundbyte input from Viggo Mortensen, producer Nick Wechsler and more from Hillcoat. Those features are in SD only and there are two trailers and some previews. Ohhh... untested at the time of review is the BD Exclusive: movieIQ+sync™ and BD-Live connect you to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie! Active next week I presume!
May 17th, 2010
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