The Firm (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-21-2011, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109939&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Paramount - 1993
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 154 minutes
Genre: Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Tome Cruise, Gene Hackman, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Hal Holbrook, Wilford Brimley, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, David Strathairn, Tobin Bell, Gary Busey, Paul Sorvino, Terry Kinney
Directed by: Sydney Pollack
Music by: Dave Grusin
Written by: David Rabe, Robert Towne, David Rayfiel
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 29, 2011

"They made him an offer he should have refused"

Film Synopsis:

Director Sydney Pollack’s star-studded thriller The Firm makes its debut on Blu-ray exclusively at Best Buy. Tom Cruise stars as a young lawyer who is enticed by money and gifts to join a small law firm in Memphis. But it soon becomes clear that the firm has a sinister side and he finds himself embroiled in an FBI investigation and fearing for his life. Based on the best-selling novel by John Grisham, The Firm boasts an extraordinary cast including Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, David Strathairn and Wilford Brimley.

My Take:

Tom Cruise plays Mitch McDeere, a brilliant and ambitious Harvard Law grad. Driven by a fierce desire to bury his working-class past, Mitch joins a small, prosperous Memphis firm that affords Mitch and his wife Abby (Jeanne Tripplehorn) an affluent lifestyle. But when FBI agents confront him with evidence of corruption and murder within the firm, Mitch sets out to find the truth in a deadly crossfire between the FBI, the Mob, and a force that will stop at nothing to protect its interest -- The Firm.

I haven’t seen The Firm in its entirety in years. It’s a taut and engaging thriller that unfolds nicely and rewards with suspense, melodrama and intrigue. At two hours thirty four minutes it runs a little long but I can live with that. Grisham’s a brilliant writer and the screenplay by David Rabe, Robert Towne, and David Rayfiel does justice to his novel. Sydney Pollack’s intelligent direction is right on the money as he commands a brilliant cast. This is Tom Cruise at the pinnacle of his career and he is indeed in splendid company. Gene Hackman (the guy gets better with age), Hal Holbrook, Holly Hunter, Ed Harris, Wilfred Brimley and David Strathairn to be exact. The weak link in the chain being Jeanne Tripplehorn who is a decent actress but is simply overshadowed here. I thoroughly enjoyed this revisit and am thrilled to now own The Firm on Blu-ray. Kudos to Paramount and Best Buy on this exclusive release.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for language and some violence.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 76

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Video: 88

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

The Firm comes to Blu-ray disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3 Mbps.

This is a high quality video encoding that looks superb on Blu-ray. Colors are vivid with subtle tonal variation, clean rendering, and lifelike depiction. The range of colors isn’t extensive but those represented looked great. This is particularly noticeable in the scenes shot in the interior of the law firm and at the outdoor barbeque. Skin tones are warm, with pinkish highlights that never appear unnatural. Images are well delineated and clear over the course of the presentation which gave the video’s 1.85:1 frame strong dimension. There are minor fluctuations in apparent resolution that are more than likely related to the original photography and don’t infringe upon fidelity. I had no trouble making out the thread patterns in clothing, or the texture on surfaces. Film grain is intact and consistent in appearance throughout. Well balanced black and white levels provide discerning levels of depth to bright and dark segments. I thought this was a beautiful and filmic presentation that has never seen this excellent film looking better on home video.

The front heavy Dolby TrueHD surround mix features dialogue that is refined while maintaining a prominent position within the front soundstage. High level detail is apparent as the blend of sound effects, low level ambience and David Grusin’s jazzy music are rendered with above average clarity and depth. There is little in the way of involving surround sound or discernible low frequency effects but the audio presentation didn’t suffer as a result and sounded just fine.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Theatrical & Teaser trailers

Final Thoughts:

The Firm is based on John Grisham’s novel of the same name and is a taut, engaging and well enacted thriller that is made all the better by a terrific ensemble cast and strong direction by the late Sydney Pollack. Available on Blu-ray for the first time as a Best Buy exclusive it features newly re-mastered and rewarding 1080p high definition video and crystal clear lossless sound. Like the original DVD release there are no bonus supplements other than a pair of trailers for the film. If you’re a fan this is worth picking up. If you haven’t seen The Firm I can’t think of a better introduction than this Blu-ray Disc release from Paramount.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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post #2 of 6 Old 05-21-2011, 07:21 PM
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Must buy for me...I just loved the cat and mouse aspect... great cast , well acted by oldie but goodie ,Thanks King P
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-23-2011, 08:20 AM
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This movie is simply brilliant!!
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-25-2011, 11:26 AM
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"Thye made him an offer he should have refused"

Typo: should read "They made him ....."

I loved this movie when it came out and only saw it once again on cable. Having read the book, and seen it twice I cannot imagine needing to own it. I will check it out, but will go with a Netflix rental to see what it looks like on blu ray. Times are tough, so most of us buy only those movies we anticipate watching many, many times, and this one, for me, is not in that select group.

Thanks for the great review. Keep up the good work.
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-05-2011, 08:22 PM
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Great review Ralph! I watched the movie on the weekend and completely agree with your ratings...

Chris. My DVD UHD Blu Ray and Blu Ray collection
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-06-2011, 01:05 AM
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About time this excellent film found its way to bluray! I'm a huge Grisham fan, so obviously I'm a huge fan of this movie. I can't believe it's been 18 years since it was in theaters!!
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