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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Strangerland [Blu-ray]

 

(Kim Farrant, 2015)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Worldview Entertainment

Video: Alchemy

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:51:33.395 

Disc Size: 34,328,823,144 bytes

Feature Size: 30,259,814,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.96 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipacase

Release date: August 18th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.4:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3074 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3074 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English, Spanish, None

 

Extras:

• The Cast Featurette (8:23)

• The Story Featurette (5:36)

• Previews for 5 films including Strangerland (1:45)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Newcomers to the remote Australian desert town of Nathgari, Catherine and Matthew Parker's lives are flung into crisis when they discover their two teenage kids, Tommy and Lily, have mysteriously disappeared just before a massive dust storm hits. With Nathgari eerily smothered in red dust and darkness, the townsfolk join the search led by local cop, David Rae. It soon becomes apparent that something terrible may have happened to Tommy and Lily. Suspicions run riot, rumors spread and public opinion turns savagely against the Parkers. With temperatures rising and the chances of survival plummeting with each passing day, Catherine and Matthew find themselves pushed to the brink as they struggle to survive the mystery of their children's fate.

 

 

The Film:

In the portentous outback thriller Strangerland, a giant dust storm engulfs the film's small-town setting just as the central mystery is introduced. Everything gets caked in reddish desert filth and stays that way for the duration of the film. Art-house cinema has a long tradition of signifying the ambiguities of human nature with climatic abnormalities: Torrential rains, fog clouds, and snow storms blow through the history of modernist narrative filmmaking, upsetting cosmic balances in the worlds of Fellini, Antonioni, Angelopoulos, Tarr, and many others. By the same token, there's also a precedent for art-house frauds orchestrating atmospheric turbulence in the interest of distracting from the fogginess of their themes or hinting at a larger significance that's missing from the text. Strangerland falls into the latter category, as the inciting haze that rolls into town ultimately just serves to underline how covered in dust the film's commentaries on gender, sexuality, and parenting are.

Excerpt from Slant Magazine located HERE

Australia's filmmakers have exported their fair share of personality disintegration dramas, from "Wake in Fright" in 1971 through "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and last year's "The Babadook."

Now comes Kim Farrant's moody thriller, "Strangerland," about the unraveling of a married couple played by Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes after their teenage daughter and son disappear one night.

The Parkers had moved to a dusty, depressed Outback town none of them are happy about, and the script sets up plenty of domestic discontent: Lily (Maddison Brown) rebels through sexuality, Tommy (Nicholas Hamilton) takes long midnight walks. Then the kids vanish, and secrecy and hysteria send Kidman's Catherine off the deep end.

Excerpt from LA Times located HERE

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

A missing-children film from Australia; Strangerland arrived on Blu-ray from Alchemy.  Unlike Walkabout (another 'older sister, young brother battling the Australian elements' premise), Strangerland focuses on the parental viewpoint. This is dual-layered with a very high bitrate and  some of the cinematography is quite impressive. It was shot with the Arri Alexa HD camera and produces a very crisp image. There is a tightness and depth. Colors seem authentic and there was no noise to speak of. Excellent visual appeal. This Blu-ray video looks like an authentic replication of the film Strangerland.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Alchemy offer the option of a robust Dolby TrueHD in 5.1 surround at 3074 kbps (24-bit) of a simple Dolby Digital stereo track. The surround sounds very good with natural effects (wind etc.) travelling to the rear speakers and the wonderfully supportive score by Keefus Ciancia building upon the barren landscapes and tension in the film. There are optional English (SDH) or Spanish subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

There are two, standard, featurettes - one with the cast - about 8-minutes running time - (Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving) and director Kim Farrant giving brief discussion of the film or their characters etc. - and a second, running less than 6-minutes, with Farrant again, cinematographer P.J. Dillon and others. There are also some previews/trailers of Alchemy features including Strangerland.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Strangerland produced some negative reaction, but - being the contrarian I am - I found some value and entertainment in it. Leaving a lot of the story 'unspoken' seems to have bothered people - perhaps those who need everything spelled out for them. Nicole Kidman always impresses me with her talent, Fiennes was excellent too, and I really like the premise. I think it is flawed (cohesiveness) but I was able to look beyond the weaknesses and enjoy the psychological-mystery story, the Outback landscape cinematography, and the lead performances. To each his own. It was, generally, panned by many critics.  

Gary Tooze

August 5th, 2015

 

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.

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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