The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Miramax - 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 122 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Kelly Macdonald, Tess Harper, Woody Harrelson
Directed by: Joel and Ethan Coen
Music by: Carter Burwell
Written by: Joel and Ethan Coen based upon the novel by Cormac McCarthy
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 7, 2009
"A Bad Guy, a Good Guy, and one in between"
Acclaimed filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen deliver their most gripping and ambitious film yet in this sizzling and supercharged action-thriller. When a man stumbles on a bloody crime scene, a pickup truck loaded with heroin, and two million dollars in irresistible cash, his decision to take the money sets off an unstoppable chain reaction of violence. Not even west Texas law can contain it. Based on the novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy, and featuring an acclaimed cast led by Tommy Lee Jones, this gritty game of cat and mouse will take you to the edge of your seat and beyond - right up to its heart-stopping final act.
I reviewed No country for old men on Blu-ray disc and DVD when it was released last year. Watching it again was a pleasure and my perception of it remains the same. Here is a summary of my comments from the original review:
I was very excited at the opportunity to review this film. It has received 8 Oscar nominations and as well as created an incredible amount of media buzz. After watching it I can see why.No country for old men is a really powerful movie. I am hesitant to say that it is a great movie because I dont think that the term applies in this case. Where this film succeeds is in the WAY it tells its story. It does so with a startling and often brutal visual style which is strong enhanced by superb acting. After watching the film I was left with several questions that were never answered. Its ending was rather abrupt and while it may have seemed poignant at that moment it felt disconnected from the rest of the film.
Javier Bardem was truly brilliant as the cold, collected and brutal Anton Chigurh. There is a scene that takes place in a gas station. The verbal exchange between Chigurh and the store owner is absolutely priceless. His performance alone makes this film a must see, period. Josh Brolin has once again proven himself to be a splendid and accomplished actor. He makes Llewelyn Moss such a believable character that it lends credibility to everything that he says and does. I think it is fair to say that Tommy Lee Jones is one of the best actors of his generation. I remember Kelly Macdonald when she was in The girl in the café. I saw that movie but really wasn't moved in any way by it. Her performance in this case is memorable. I am a fan of the Coen brothers as several of their films are favorites of mine. The pacing and visual style used to tell this story was simply amazing. I have not read the book so I can't comment on how well they adapted the screenplay. The way the story flowed is definitely vintage Coen brothers style. Make no mistake, No country for old men is one of the most powerful, thought provoking , violent, and beautifully told films of the year (and perhaps ever).
Strong graphic violence, some language. This film is definitely not for younger viewers.
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:
No country for old men Collector's Edition comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 mbps.
This appears to be the same video encoding used on the original BD release. Here is a summary of my comments from last year's review:
The 1080p MPEG-4 (AVC) encoding presented on this blu-ray disc is of reference quality and looked absolutely stunning. The opening moments features pans across large desert flatlands. They start out at dusk and as the sun sets it creates large areas of light and dark over the rocky, sand covered landscape. Detail was impeccable with beautiful texture and subtle division. Detail within the shadowy areas was rendered with aplomb. As the shot progressed the vistas became fully bathed in sunlight. Fine detail could easily be discerned in the long distant shots. The image took on an incredible three dimensional look that could only be described as awesome. Contrast levels seemed to be spot on which made the presence of mountains and bluffs which were miles away become visible where they met up with the plains against the bright sky. Blacks were deep, noise free and had excellent dynamic range. There are several scenes in the film shot at night. Whether in the desert or within the limits of a small town image quality was delivered with an almost endless depth of field. The color palette was not extensive or overly vibrant. This was almost certainly intentional and helped set the mood of the film. The colors used were natural and cleanly reproduced. Skin tones were natural looked amazing throughout. This transfer was whistle clean and exhibited no signs of compression related artifacts or other video anomalies. This is one of the best video presentations on blu-ray that I have seen to date. My hat is off to Disney on a job well done (again !).
I have reviewed over two hundred fifty Blu-ray Discs since doing this one and my impressions of this presentation differ slightly from my earlier review. Most of my original comments still apply but after this revisit I have adjusted my initial video rating from 98 to 92. This is still a superb presentation that makes bold use of contrast, offers transparent imagery, and deep gradational blacks and excellent shadow delineation.
The original BD release had a lossless uncompressed PCM soundtrack. In lieu of that Disney has included a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio track on this release. In looking at my notes and comparing the two I didn't notice a discernible difference in clarity, dynamics, or bass quality going from one to the other. The mix also appears to be identical. Here is a summary of my comments from my earlier review:
It was clear right from the opening monologue by Tommy Lee Jones that this presentation was going to be something special. Dialogue was crisp, well articulated and offered excellent characterization from one actor to the next. Sonically it was first rate as it cleanly reproduced the various sounds used throughout the film to paint a picture of the bombastic nature of some of its elements. At times the entire soundstage was used to bathe the listening position in richly textured and sometimes finely detailed sounds. Spatial cues were spot on and never drew unnecessary attention away from what was happening onscreen. Low frequency effects were punchy and extended which was especially notable during the various exchanges of gun fire and the desert chase scene in the first act. The nature of the film didn't call for regular use of the entire system however the mix was so good that it provided a rewarding sound delivery that was open, riveting (at times), and aurally satisfying. While it would probably not qualify as the type of material used to demo your system, it is clearly obvious why it was nominated for Academy Awards for Sound mixing and sound editing.
Similar to the video presentation I have adjusted my original rating for the audio. This remains a high quality soundtrack and most of my original comments still apply but after this revisit I have adjusted my initial rating from 94 to 86.
I would like to emphasize that in both cases (regarding audio/video quality) this has nothing to do with a change in the overall quality between this and the earlier release. After watching this I felt that the ratings in my original review didn't accurately reflect my opinion of the aspects of this presentation.
- Working with the Coens: Reflections of the cast and crew - 8 minute featurette.
- The Making of No country for old men - 24 minute documentary
- Diary of a Country Sheriff - 6 minute featurette
- Josh Brolin's unauthorized behind-the-scenes - 9 minute documentary
- Press timeline - 17 promotional/publicity features that include cast/crew Q&A, interviews, and talk show spots
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc - Contains a standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable media device
Here are my original parting thoughts:
No country for old men is not the type of film that will appeal to everyone. It tells a story that is graphic and sometimes brutal in nature. I think that the telling of the story is where its strengths lie and not so much in the story itself. Often when films get such a build up in the media viewers feel somewhat let down after watching them. If you go into this one with the wrong mind set you will more than likely fall into the aforementioned group. I believe no matter how you go into this you will probably feel some level of disappointment in the film's ending. What makes it great it what happens prior to that. This is a film worthy of your time. The audio/video presentation provided by Disney simply makes it all the better. I give it my highest recommendation.
This two disc Collector's Edition adds quite a bit of additional bonus content in addition to the three featurettes from the first release but I think there is more quantity than substance. A Digital Copy bonus disc is included which is always a plus. There is no apparent difference in audio/video quality so the only real reason to upgrade from the original Blu-ray Disc is for the extra features and/or the Digital Copy Disc. If you are a die hard fan, don't already own this film on Blu-ray Disc or truly want the Digital Copy option then feel free to pick this up. Otherwise I would say that you can stick with the original Blu-ray version.
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