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Top of the Lake [Blu-ray]
Writers: Jane Campion (creator), Gerard Lee (creator), 2012
Review by Gary Tooze
Broadcast: BBC Worldwide
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 57:59 X 6 episodes (3 per disc)
Disc One Size: 43,065,757,707 bytes
Disc Two Size: 46,210,954,027 bytes
Average Episode Size: 14,389,426,176 bytes
Video Bitrate: 22.99 Mbps
Chapters: 17 + 17
Case: Thick (UK) Blu-ray case
Release date: August 19th, 2013
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080i / 25 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1745 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1745 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
English (SDH), none
•From the Bottom of the Lake (51:29)
• Behind the Scenes (5:13)
• Elisabeth Moss Story (1:53)
• Holly Hunter Story (2:25)
Description: A 12 year old girl, walks chest deep into the freezing waters of a South Island lake in New Zealand. She is five months pregnant and won’t say who the father is. Then she disappears. Robin Griffin is a gutsy but inexperienced detective called in to investigate. But as Robin becomes more and more obsessed with the search for Tui, she slowly begins to realise that finding Tui is tantamount to finding herself - a self she has kept well hidden. Available in beautiful high definition and set against one of the most amazing and untouched landscapes left on the planet, Top of the Lake is a powerful and haunting story about our search for happiness where the dream of paradise attracts it dark twin, the fall. Starring: Elizabeth Moss, Holy Hunter and Peter Mullan Written and Directed by Jane Campion.
As much as the series is Campion's tour of the land of the repressed,
she's also crafted a riveting and engrossing faux-whodunit, an epic,
gnarled expressionistic mural that makes stunning use of a uniformly
excellent cast and repeated, evocative images of horses, dogs, bones,
elk's heads, etc. Like David Fincher's ferocious House of Cards, Top of
the Lake is a supremely fascinating reversal of genre, as it ends up
that Tui is in need of less help then Robin realizes, and even the
"good" men of the story have secrets that reveal them to be predators
or, at best, noble cowards.
Jane Campion's television miniseries Top of the Lake (which
played at Sundance and has aired in Australia, New Zealand, the US and
the UK), co-created with Gerard Lee, is a dark mystery, one which uses
the landscape of New Zealand to explore those hidden secrets that come
flooding out with just a scratch upon the earth and skin. It's the kind
of work that keeps punching you in the emotional gut while at the same
time giving you strange dreams of metaphysical bliss. There are shades
of her previous work, with the intrusion of pseudo-deities, myth and
ritual, and gender clash and violence.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, I believe Top of the Lake may have been broadcast as 7 X 50-minute episodes but this 2entertain Blu-ray is 6 X 58-minute episodes - both adding to about 350-minutes. I don't think anything has been cut. This package is actually 2 dual-layered Blu-rays (50i) with 3 episodes on each. The interlacing is probably how the series was broadcast and doesn't negatively impact the presentation although it probably means that it is in PAL timing. The bitrate is low-ish but the quality has impressive moments. Close-ups show solid detail and the frequent use of the scenery looks bright and majestic, showing depth, in the 1.78:1 frame. It's pristinely clean showcasing with adept contrast. This Blu-ray probably looks exactly how is appeared when broadcast in March of 2013. It doesn't have any flaws that I could decipher.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio comes in the form of a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1745 kbps. So no surround but effects of the series seem to come through with acceptable depth. The score is by Mark Bradshaw (also the composer for Campion's Bright Star) and the haunting solo piano theme music sounds beautiful via the lossless. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide (NOTE: I can only verify that for the UK edition).
All the supplements are on the second Blu-ray. We get From the Bottom of the Lake - a 52-minute documentary by Clare Young (director assistant on the first episode) as a kind of video description of Campion's work methods. It's quite interesting. There is also a Behind the Scenes piece for 5-minutes with co-creator Gerard Lee plus short, separate, pieces with stars Elisabeth Moss and Holly Hunter.
NOTE: The disc is packaged (Blu-ray 1 on the right and Blu-ray 2 on the left) in such a way as you may accidentally start with disc 2 if you don't look closely.
June 23rd, 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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