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Southern Comfort [Blu-ray]
(Walter Hill, 1981)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Cinema Group
Video: Shout! Factory
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 37,710,014,935 bytes
Feature Size: 30,633,658,368 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.51 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: July 8th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2081 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2081 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
• Documentary (27:12)
• Trailer (2:08)
• Stills Gallery (5:39)
Description: From the director of
The Warriors and 48 Hrs. comes this
gut-wrenching tale of backwoods terror that ’draws you into
the eerily beautiful Louisiana bayou...then has you running
for your life’ (Pauline Kael, New Yorker)! Keith Carradine (The
Duellists) and Powers Boothe (Sin
Deadwood) lead a ’first-rate ensemble’ (Newsweek) in
this ’exciting, arresting and tautly told suspenser’
A handful of part time soldiers unwittingly turn a field exercise into a miniature war in this offbeat action drama from writer and director Walter Hill. A group of National Guard reservists are sent to Louisiana on a chilly weekend for war games exercises. None of these weekend warriors seem especially happy to be there, especially laid-back Spencer (Keith Carradine), tightly-wound macho man Reece (Fred Ward) and transplanted Texan Hardin (Powers Booth). While making their way through swamp country, the reservists discover their maps are out of date and they've become lost. Rather than march back to camp and start over, they decide to "borrow" several canoes they've found by the banks of the bayou, which should put them back on track. When a Cajun local catches the soldiers stealing his canoes, Stuckey (Lewis Smith) fires a few rounds in his direction; for the purposes of their exercises, the Guardsmen have been given blank shells, so Stuckey imagines this is a harmless way to scare the man off. However, the Cajun soon returns fire -- with real bullets. After Poole (Peter Coyote) is killed by a shotgun blast, the Guardsmen find themselves lost in a place they do not understand, surrounded by angry men determined to drive the unwelcome visitors off their land at all costs. A taut and atmospheric action film which is also serves as an intelligent and evocative metaphor for America's role in the Vietnam war, Southern Comfort also features an excellent score by guitarist (and frequent Walter Hill collaborator) Ry Cooder.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Transposing The Warriors from Brooklyn to the bayous of Louisiana, this reactivates the old genre of the platoon movie, echoes to the distant trumpets of Vietnam, unconcernedly risks pigeonholing as Deliverance II, and generally sets up more reverberations from its pared-down premise than do any number of scattershot epics. Nine part-time National Guardsmen embark on weekend training manoeuvres in the southern swamplands, expecting only a long, wet walk towards a whorehouse - until the gunplay abruptly stops being kids' stuff, and eight virgin soldiers suddenly face long odds on survival, lost and leaderless in a guerrilla war of attrition against the native Cajuns. Hill's characters exercise their own deadly group dynamics in the firing line, while Ry Cooder's score, an eerily-shot alien landscape, and a lifestyle familiar mainly from Les Blank documentaries point up the internal cultural divide. Straight-line conflicts, low-light visuals: the film's basics, its strengths, and its critical Achilles' heel are all those of the classic American male action movie.Excerpt from Timeout Film Guide located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Southern Comfort looks solid on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory. The image quality supports the frequent grittiness of the style. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. Textures are supported and there is no undue noise in the many darker scenes. Certain scenes can look quite thick and rich. Contrast is adeptly layered supporting the cinematography style and there are instances of depth. There are no flaws - the video is clean and produces, what appears to be, an authentic visual presentation although adapted to 1.78:1 from 1.85.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio is an authentic DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 2081 kbps. There are plenty of effects - some aggressive and the lossless track handles and exports with potent depth. The score is by, frequent Walter Hill collaborator, Ry Cooder (Paris Texas, Streets of Fire, The Long Riders). It captures some of the creepy desolation of the Bayou - and later the Cajun influences along with Dewey Balfa's "Parlez-nous à Boire evoking zydeco. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.
There are some extras. Included is a new-ish, 27-minute documentary with many of the cast (Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe etc.), and director Walter Hill (Skyping from Thailand). They provide snippets of reminiscences to the backdrop of scenes from the film. There is also a trailer and stills gallery, plus being 'Dual-format' a DVD of the feature (including supplements) is in the case.
July 4th, 2014
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 5000 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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