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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Winter's Bone [Blu-ray]


(Debra Granik, 2010)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Roadside Attractions

Video: LionsGate



Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:40:12.923

Disc Size: 24,521,152,310 bytes

Feature Size: 15,979,968,576 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 26th, 2010



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1697 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1697 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB



English (SDH), English, Spanish, none



• Audio commentary by director Debra Granik + DoP Michael McDonough
• Alternate Opening (1:29)

• 4 Deleted scenes
“Making-of” featurette (46:39 in HD!)
Music Credits
Theatrical trailer (2:28 in HD!)
• Music video "Hardscrabble Elegy" by Dickon Hunchliffe (2:59)





Description: 17 year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) embarks on a mission to find her father after he uses their family house as a way of securing his bail and disappears without a trace. Faced with the possibility of losing her home and being turned out into the Ozark woods, Ree challenges her outlaw kin s code of silence and risks her life to save her family. She hacks through the lies, evasions and threats offered by her relatives and begins to piece together the truth. Winner of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize and Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, WINTER'S BONE is directed by Debra Granik (DOWN TO THE BONE) and adapted for the screen by Granik and Anne Rosellini. Based on the best-selling novel by Daniel Woodrel.



The Film:

Winter’s Bone,” warmly embraced at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, belongs, at least at first glance, to one of that festival’s familiar genres: the regional-realist morality tale. These days, American independent cinema abounds in earnest stories of hard-bitten people living in impoverished corners of the country, their moral and emotional struggles accompanied by acoustic guitars and evocative landscape shots and generally uninflected by humor.

The faces in “Winter’s Bone” are certainly mirthless — not only Ree’s, but also those of the relatives she turns to for advice and protection when her predicament becomes desperate. The topography of chilly hollows and ragged forests is filmed in a way that emphasizes its bleakness. There are banjos and fiddles, as well as guitars, and some beautiful old mountain ballads are performed on camera. Some of the cast members are nonprofessional actors, and nearly all are wary, watchful and taciturn, speaking their few words in faultless regional accents.

What distinguishes Ms. Granik’s film from, say, Courtney Hunt’s “Frozen River” — to cite another recent Sundance favorite with cold weather in its title and grim Americana on its mind — is that this harshness is not there to illuminate a sociological condition. Something more primal, almost Greek in its archaic power, is at stake in “Winter’s Bone,” and its visual and emotional starkness do no not feel like simple badges of authenticity.

Excerpt from A.O.Scott at the NY Times located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Winter's Bone was shot with the, digital, Red One Camera. It looks like it may have been transferred direct from digital to Blu-ray (theatrically it was bumped to 35mm).  The image quality can show some impressive moments of clarity. The film is reasonably dark and hence doesn't have instances of the contrast flaring that can happen with digital sources. It's a modest single-layered transfer and probably only represents about double the quality of DVD. It's okay though - no gloss and some depth. Despite the meager rendering this the Blu-ray seems un-manipulated and consistent and gave me a solid presentation for this excellent film.


















Audio :

It's a lossless DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 1697 kbps for this mostly dialogue-driven film. There isn't an abundance of effect noises or separations but the audio transfer seems to support the film competently. There is some music (Dickon Hunchliffe) and it sounds authentic (read 'live'). There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.



Extras :

There is a good audio commentary by director Debra Granik + DoP Michael McDonough who both praise the local participants who contributed in the filmmaking process and expanded on details of the production, characters and plot. McDonough has an accent (Aussie?) but he wasn't hard to understand. It is worth listening to. There is a brief alternate opening, 4 deleted scenes and a lengthy (45-minute) “Making-of” featurette which seems filled with behind-the-scenes footage. There are also some text music credits, a theatrical trailer and Dickon Hunchliffe's music video.



Winter's Bone's strong reputation is very much deserved. It has won awards at both Berlin and Sundance and it is coming out from the discerning label Artificial Eye in Blu-ray in the UK later this year HERE. I LOVED this film from its strong independent feel and mysterious cultural roots. It can get a bit convoluted but that only encourages me to re-watch it. Regardless of the transfer limitations - it gave me a wonderful presentation and we strongly recommend seeing this film when you get the opportunity. You will enjoy! 


Gary Tooze

October 23rd, 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 HERE.  

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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

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