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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

We Are What We Are aka Somos lo que hay [Blu-ray]

 

(Jorge Michel Grau, 2010)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC)

Video: Chelsea Cinema

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:28:59.041

Disc Size: 20,292,806,584 bytes

Feature Size: 19,619,911,680 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 21st, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 1851 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1851 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 896 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 896 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English

 

Extras:

• Trailer (1:35 in 1080P)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Shocking, bloody and deeply affecting, We Are What We Are is a visceral and powerful portrait of a family bound by a monstrous secret. When a middle-aged man dies in the street, his devastated family is left in crisis: for their patriarch has always provided the human flesh on which they feed. Now he is gone, they are left with a terrible dilemma who will lead their hunt for victims and how will they sate their terrible hunger?

***

When the patriarch of the family passes away, the teenage children must take responsibility for the family chores: the preparation of the rituals, the hunting and putting the all-important meat on the table. These newfound responsibilities are even more daunting, however, when you live in the city and happen to be a family of cannibals.

***

A middle-aged man dies in the street, leaving his widow and three children destitute. The devastated family is confronted... not only with his loss but with a terrible challenge -- how to survive. For they are cannibals. They have always existed on a diet of human flesh consumed in bloody ritual ceremonies... and the victims have always been provided by the father. Now that he is gone, who will hunt? Who will lead them? How will they sate their horrific hunger? The task falls to the eldest son, Alfredo, a teenage misfit who seems far from ready to accept the challenge...

 

 

The Film:

In his bestselling study of the Andes plane-crash survivors who stayed alive by eating corpses, Piers Paul Read found an occasion to meditate on the sacrament. Jorge Michel Grau hasn't done this, but he does show how violence and madness are the genesis of a ritual designed to create, not redemption exactly, but rather a Black Mass of effacement, one that locks the celebrant into a hell of guilt and fear. Yet the film's most extraordinary moment is a hauntingly beautiful song that is being sung on a subway train by a woman. She looks like a busker or a beggar, but announces that she sang for money on this train years ago to raise money for her son's college fees; he has now graduated and her song is a way of thanking everyone. Out of nowhere, Grau conjures an epiphany of goodness that somehow floats free from this murky stew of revulsion: a clever moment in an intestine-manglingly memorable film.

Excerpt from Peter Bradshaw at the Guardian located HERE

Like Let The Right One In (although in a rather different subgenre), We Are What We Are deploys some well-defined horror tropes to dramatise much broader humanistic concerns about survival, continuity and love – and, also like Tomas Alfredson's film, it is a tale told in stately long shots, presenting its scenes of both domestic banality and bloody outrage in the same cold, indifferent light. If the film's matter-of-fact title invites us not to judge its characters for their monstrously human conduct, its use of the first personal plural serves further to implicate us all in their Darwinian enterprise. We may be what we are, after all, but we are also what we eat.

Excerpt from Eye For Film located HERE

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

We Are What We Are is technically modest on Blu-ray from Chelsea Cinema in the UK.  The image quality has some minor noise in the film's many dark scenes. Overall it is quite acceptable and gave me a decent presentation.  This is only single-layered but there is detail and depth above what one might expect. Skin tones seem a shade warm but contrast exhibits healthy black levels. Daylight scenes are more impressive but the cinematography should get some kudos for some interesting shots. Aside from the noise I have no strong complaints and the film's scheme maintains the eerie mood well - and the Blu-ray probably looks similar to the way the film did theatrically. I see no evidence of manipulation. It is consistent, clean and creepy.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

We are provided with a DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 1851 kbps in original Spanish with non-removable English subtitles. There are some crisp surprises with suspenseful depth. Enrico Chapela provides a haunting score that stayed in my head after the film that the lossless track produced well at the high end. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Nutt'in but a trailer. I'd have liked a piece of the story conception or the intriguing performance of Miriam Balderas - but alas, I am out-of-luck.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I went into 'We Are What We Are' blind - not knowing what to expect. It keeps hinting at the horror genre but the real direction was curiously disturbing in a different, and more real, sense. There is some adept handling of the material and occasionally impressive cinematography. The Blu-ray gave me a chilling presentation. It's not a film I would recommend for the faint-of-heart but for those more adventurous - this is one scary and memorable flic! 

Gary Tooze

April 11th, 2011


 

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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

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

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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