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Essential Killing [Blu-ray]
(Jerzy Skolimowski, 2010)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Skopia Film
Video: Artificial Eye
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,693,049,315 bytes
Feature Size: 21,963,171,840 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: July 9th, 2011
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1798 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1798 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 956 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 956 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 512 kbps / 16-bit)
English for non-English dialogue), none
• Helicopter Effects (1:45 in 1080i)
•Interview with Director Jerzy Skolimowski (16:39 in 1080i)
•Trailer (1:32 in 1080i)
Description: Captured by the US military in Afghanistan, Mohammed (Vincent Gallo) is transported to a secret detention centre in Europe. When the vehicle he is riding in crashes, he finds himself suddenly free and on the run in a snow-blanketed forest, a world away from the desert home he knew. Relentlessly pursued by an army that does not officially exist, Mohammed must confront the necessity to kill in order to survive.
A Taliban member who lives in Afghanistan is taken captive by the Americans after killing three American soldiers. He... is transferred to Europe for interrogation but manages to escape from his captors and becomes an escaped convict on a continent he does not know.
One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter: it’s a truism
Essential Killing pursues as relentlessly as Vincent Gallo’s hunted
Too often in cinema, “existential” serves as code for “boring.” That
would be a mistaken assumption about this film from Polish director
Jerzy Skolimowski, which won both the jury prize and the award for best
actor at last year’s Venice film festival.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Essential Killing represents another modest, single-layered, but natural, un-manipulated transfer via region FREE Blu-ray from Artificial Eye in the UK. This is a very visual film experience and the 1080P rendering gave me a solid presentation. Color doesn't play a big part in Essential Killing excepting in a couple of specific scenes - mostly we get the dusty, earthy colors of the desert terrain or austere snow-capped forest sequences. Contrast wasn't notable but I have no doubt that this, with a high bitrate, is a strong representation of the film's theatrical appearance. It is, predictably, clean with no obtrusive noise.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
There is barely a handful of dialogue in the entire film but there are effects ranging from strong (helicopter, growling dogs and firearms) to subtle (quiet streams.) The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at1798 kbps picks up the bass with decent response and there are some keenly present subtleties to the rear speakers. There is an untested stereo track as an option. Infrequently used is music (often some Middle Eastern cords) that sound quite poignant as they are sparsely utilized. The optional subtitles are only for non-English dialogue and are used less than 1/2 a dozen times.My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Supplementsinclude a short 16-minute Interview with Director Jerzy Skolimowski, 2-minutes on the Helicopter Effects and a trailer - all in 1080i. I don't think a commentary would have been appropriate for this film as it is very interpretational and requires no explanations that would defeat the intent of the narrative.
NOTE: From IMDb: "Jerzy Skolimowski attended the showing of this film at the London Film Festival to introduce it, although he didn't take questions. He announced that at a retrospective 20 years earlier, he had introduced his film The Adventures of Gerard by telling the audience that it was the worst film he ever made, but that he was in the position today to tell us that Essential Killing was the best film he ever made."
July 9th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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