The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2012
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 96 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Billy Campbell, Jesse Johnson, Regen Wilson, Geraldine Hughes, Graham Beckel, Tom Hanks (Narrator)
Directed by: Adrian Moat
Music by: David Buckley
Written by: Erik Jendresen
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 11, 2013
Based on The New York Times best-selling novel, KILLING LINCOLN is the suspenseful, eye-opening account of the events surrounding the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. While some aspects of the plot to slay Lincoln and cripple the newly forming union are widely known, much more of the history unfolds in this insightful thriller. As John Wilkes Booth becomes increasingly obsessed with removing Lincoln from office, a secret faction of conspirators forms, and ultimately empowers Booth to carry out an event that will change America forever.
Killing Lincoln dramatically recounts one of the darkest events in American history and details how one gunshot changed the country forever. The movie premiered on the National Geographic Channel and was seen by 3.4 million people, making it the most-watched broadcast in the network’s history. This epic chronicle is the first in a trilogy of books written by Bill O’Reilly and his researcher and partner Martin Dugard that will be adapted for the screen with National Geographic and Scott Free Productions. The second in the trilogy is “Killing Kennedy,” a riveting chronicle of the shocking events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The final installment in the trilogy is “Killing Jesus,” which follows the events leading up to the crucifixion.
Narrated by Tom Hanks this docudrama purports to present a deeper perspective into the mindset of John Wilkes Booth, the escalation of his desire to kill the 16th president as well as the events that surrounded him, his co-conspirators and President Lincoln in the those final days. Whereas the motion picture “Lincoln” was more of a fly on the wall accounting this film paints in broader strokes while utilizing a documentary style telling via Tom Hanks’ interjected narration which I found complimentary. The subject of Abraham Lincoln is never a dull one for me and that held true here. The narrative really didn’t bring to light any eye opening details however I found the formation of the contextualized elements through the reenacted portrayals to be engaging. I found the performances by leads Billy Campbell/Jesse Johnson as Lincoln/Booth to be spirited and respectable. As a whole I would say that Killing Lincoln isn’t a compelling film however its treatment of the subject matter is on solid ground and the end result is a viable way to spend an hour and a half especially if you’re drawn to historical set pieces.
This film contains thematic material and 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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Killing Lincoln comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 35 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.3 mbps.
This high definition video presentation offers clear, refined images and an intentionally subdued color palette that is rarely eye catching. I found this to convey the rustic, time period specific clothing, locals and sullen complexions with aplomb. The earth tones found in the landscapes are naturally reproduced and look great. The rendering of fine detail can range from exquisite to moderate. This leaves certain long range and mid level shots with less dimensionality but not to the point of appearing soft. Black levels fluctuate similarly however with the stable contrast and reserved colors this isn’t problematic. Shot digitally the image is devoid of film grain which imparts a clear/smoothness that seemed out of place especially considering the source material. I would have preferred a more film like texture but that’s a stylistic choice. The end result is a solid high definition presentation that looked great on my big screen.
This DTS-HD Master Audio presentation features extended dynamics built around a nicely balanced surround mix that sounds great. This isn’t what I consider to be an aggressive soundtrack. Dialogue and music play more of a role than then the brief gunfire exchanges but there are several sequences that allow this mix to flex its dynamic muscle. Clarity and detail are exemplary which reveal lots of subtle nuance in the recording. Bass isn’t pulse pounding but it definitively augments the richness and tangibility of small arms and rifle fire. Dialogue is crystalline with excellent intonation and descriptive character. The beautifully crafted music sounds smooth and airy with a deep, room filling quality that mates nicely with the source material.
- Audio commentary with executive producer/writer Erik Jendresen
- (HD) An interview with author Bill O’Reilly – 5 minutes
- (HD) Uncovering the truth: The making of Killing Lincoln – 22 minute featurette
- (HD) Lincoln in Virginia – 17 second state promo
- (HD) Behind the scenes (4 short featurettes totaling 8 minutes):
- Becoming Booth
- Becoming Lincoln
- Playing Mary Todd
- Directing a new Lincoln story
- Becoming Booth
- (HD) Preview for Killing Lincoln
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
The subject of our 16th President has gotten plenty of airplay in the last year or so and for me personally is something that I never seem to tire of. Killing Lincoln is based on the book of the same name by Bill O’Reilly and is a well intentioned docudrama that recounts and reenacts the last days of President Lincoln and his assassin John Wilkes Booth. Narrated by Tom Hanks I found it to be a decent watch that presented an interesting perspective on the unfolding events although I saw little that provided any truly enlightening details. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in a solid offering that features gratifying high definition audio/video and an above average supplemental offering that looks behind the scenes at the production. If you find the subject matter of interest toss this in your rental queue and give it a spin on Blu-ray.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 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 Pro 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
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
Boy, you are definitely not alone in this world!
Not sure I'd go through all the trouble...haven't seen Spielberg's Lincoln, though that's one I'd really want to see eventually... It's just that I tend to get noisier more violent stuff always!
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