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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Winter in Wartime aka Oorlogswinter [Blu-ray]


(Martin Koolhoven, 2008)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Isabella Films B.V.

Video: Sony Home Video



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

Runtime: 1:43:27.201

Disc Size: 32,359,255,077 bytes

Feature Size: 27,902,472,192 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.11 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 26th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Dutch 3556 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3556 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 2239 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2239 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English (SDH), none



• The Making of Winter in Wartime (24:24)

Theatrical Trailer (2:06)





Description: Near the end of World War II, 14-year-old Michiel becomes involved with the Resistance after coming to the aid of a wounded British soldier. With the conflict coming to an end, Michiel comes of age and learns of the stark difference between adventure fantasy and the ugly realities of war.


January 1945. Nazi occupied Holland lies under a blanket of snow. A young man, Michiel, defiant in his hatred for the Nazis, inadvertently receives a map detailing the hiding place of a crashed RAF pilot and sets off to prove his worth. He finds the pilot, Jack, badly injured, but the situation becomes more desperate when a dead Nazi trooper is found and the hunt for the killer commences. Unaware of the terrible consequences that await his family, Michiel decides to help Jack escape, undertaking a perilous journey that could cost him everything he has ever known. From the Producer of the multi-award winning Black Book, and co-starring Jamie Campbell Bower (Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows & Twilight New Moon), Winter in Wartime is a breathtaking cinematic masterpiece that shows the true human cost of a terrible conflict. In the darkest days of the coldest winter, a hero will be made.



The Film:

The film, adapted from John Terlouw’s novel, plays with stereotypes of Nazi brutality, so although the invaders are often vicious, they can also be helpful and charming, which adds to the young hero’s confusion.

Michiel’s coming-of-age story is handled with exquisite delicacy. His resentment at his sister when she gets too interested in Jack has a strange hormonal charge. And a sequence where his father teaches him how to shave is achingly tender.

Director Martin Koolhoven keeps the tension high, but the conventional thriller aspects – and unlikely escapes – seem almost silly compared to what Michiel learns about human complexity and betrayal.

Excerpt from Susan Cole at Now Toronto located HERE

Enjoyable, well acted and emotionally engaging wartime coming-of-age drama with striking photography and strong performances.

Directed by Martin Koolhoven, Winter in Wartime (Oorlogswinter, original title fans) is set in 1945, in a Nazi-occupied town near Zwolle, in Holland, where a young teenage boy, Michiel (Martijn Lakemeier), finds his loyalties torn between his Nazi-placating father (Raymond Thiry), the mayor of the town, and his uncle Ben (Yorick van Wageninen), a resistance fighter. However, Michiel is suddenly forced to pick a side when he stumbles across a wounded British soldier (Jamie Campbell Bower as Jack) in the woods.

Excerpt from Matthew Turner at ViewLondon located HERE

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

Oorlogswinter (Winter in Wartime) appears to be a strong transfer on Blu-ray from Sony. One issue that I tried to research was the heavy green and blue hue that seems cast over much of the outdoor scenes. I looked at other images on the Net and even some on Amazon, example:



most of what I uncovered shows the same 'look' so I can only assume that it is either intentional - or part of the original production. I may pick-up one of the European versions to see if it has the duplicate color scheme. Regardless it looks quite tight, clean and impressive in this dual-layered treatment from Sony. This Blu-ray has some occasional depth sneaking into unexpected scenes and Guido van Gennep's cinematography should be noted as a major-ly positive contributor to the film experience.  Art direction captured the period very well and the consistency was a key to building the suspension of disbelief.
















Audio :

The original Dutch is delivered via a competent DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a healthy 3556 kbps. Being a solid war-adventure tale there is the expected aggression and a supportive original score by Pino Donaggio. Nothing really stands out but everything audio-wise is done without a notable flaw. Depth and subtle range are there is sparingly minor portions There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

There is only one major extra entitled The Making of Winter in Wartime which runs 25-minutes in Dutch with English subtitles. It is more-or-less standard with brief interviews and behind the scenes footage. There is also a theatrical trailer running just over 2-minutes.



Good film! While I was expecting something more artsy - it definitely came through as a suspenseful young-man's adventure. Winter in Wartime is something I would definitely sit through again. It touches upon strong themes of maturity, trust and friendship. The Blu-ray does a solid job although it was such an impressive film experience that I would have liked a commentary. Still, I expect a LOT of viewers will appreciate this film - its strong transfer and is a tense, gripping tale that deserves attention from North American audiences. Certainly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

July 22nd, 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
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Gary W. Tooze






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