The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Classic Pictures - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 103 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French Dolby Stereo
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek, Lucas Black, Bill Cobbs, Gerald McRaney
Directed by: Aaron Schneider
Music by: Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Written by: Chris Provenzano & C. Gaby Mitchell
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 22, 2011
"A true tall tale"
Academy Award® winner Robert Duvall is Felix Bush, the “Hermit of Caleb County,” a man so haunted by his secrets that he has lived in quiet desolation in the Tennessee backwoods for over 40 years. Realizing that he is near his own mortality, Bush decides to have a “living funeral party,” inviting people to tell their stories about him. Enlisting the help of Frank Quinn (Bill Murray) and Buddy Robinson (Lucas Black), Bush goes through a process of self-discovery, allowing him to deal with his past secrets, including ones involving old flame Mattie (Sissy Spacek).
After being bombarded (not really but it seemed like it) by the trailer for Get low on a number of Sony titles I was glad when it showed up for review. Based on actual events this film makes for an interesting character study. It is a period film that revolves around Felix Bush, a reclusive hermit, living in the south during the 1940’s. There are stories told throughout the community of terrible things that Felix has done to trespassers and locals who have crossed his path but none have ever proven to be anything more than rumor. He is a loner that has lived in self imposed exile until now. After forty years Felix emerges with the rather unorthodox idea to throw himself a “living” funeral party. He enlists the aid of Frank Quinn, the local funeral director and his protégé Buddy, and comes up with an enticing way to attract locals to the party. He states his reasons for such an endeavor however it is clearly obvious that there is more to Felix Bush than meets the eye. As Buddy spends time with him he comes to see that what everyone thinks they know about Felix, they don’t, and that deep inside of him is a forty year old secret that he yearns to tell, but can’t.
Robert Duvall is one of my favorite actors. I don’t find him to be an especially diverse actor but what I appreciate most is his depth. He seems to own every character he portrays and Felix Bush is tailor made for him. This story revolves around Felix, who is an outwardly surly old man, but a closer examination reveals a troubled soul suffering from deep feelings of remorse. Now in the twilight of his life he has decided it is time to get low and seek redemption for past deeds.
This is a rewarding film that has its share of tender moments and levity which go hand in hand with its foreboding sense of melancholy. The narrative is enriched by the engaging performances of Bill Murray, Lucas Black, Bill Cobbs and Sissy Spacek with the key element being Duvall’s sparkling and typically credible turn in the lead role. The film plays out with sincere earnest as it moves into the third act drawing closer to the living funeral party and revelation. When the handwriting on the wall becomes apparent we can’t help but hope that redemption and forgiveness play a part. My fears of a histrionic finale were assuaged by a masterful final moment by Duvall. I thoroughly enjoyed Get low and while I applaud the individual performance of Robert Duvall its success as a creative work is most definitely a group effort that includes the entire cast as well as the filmmakers. Bravo!.
The rating is for some thematic material and brief violent content.
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:
Get low comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.
This is a great looking video presentation that has a clean, filmic appearance that falls just shy of the definitive delineation offered by the best high definition available on Blu-ray Disc. Images onscreen exhibit plenty of fine rendering and crisp definition that on occasion rises to higher levels especially during close ups which can be very revealing. Long range shots appear resolute with good dimensional depth and notable object detail. The beautiful geographic locations and vista views featured in the film look magnificent in high definition. Bright exterior segments are punchy with crisp dynamic whites and appreciable texture. Colors aren’t overly engaging as the palette is limited to sepia tones and drab secondary hues that don’t offer much to catch the eye. Rendering is excellent though and the balance is kept in proper focus which mates well with the films overall visual perspective. Fleshtones are tonally divergent and appear lifelike in depiction. Blacks are rich/dynamic and shadow detail is quite good which reveals plenty of visible delineation in dark backgrounds and low lighting. I didn’t detect any deleterious artifacts or other video related anomalies.
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio mix handles this predominantly front oriented soundtrack with uncompromising competence. While the bulk of the audio is reproduced by the front three channels the surrounds are used effectively to produce a rear sound field rich in immersive ambience. This isn’t an active soundtrack as dialogue and music play more of a central role but there are moments that require use of the entire surround platform for effect. When things kick in this mix has no trouble flexing its dynamic muscle or creating a natural and immersive listening environment. Clarity and detail are exemplary which reveal lots of subtle nuance in the recording. Vocal reproduction is crystalline with discernible intonation and descriptive character. Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s beautifully crafted music films the room and sounds incredibly smooth, airy and pleasing.
- Commentary with Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, director Aaron Schneider and producer Dean Zanuck
- (HD) The Deep South: Buried secrets – 7 minute making of featurette
- (HD) Getting low: Getting into character – 9 minute featurette
- (HD) A screenwriter’s point of view – 5 minute featurette
- (HD) Cast and crew Q&A: At the Tribeca Film Festival – 9 minutes
- (HD) On the Red Carpet – 4 minutes
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- BD-Live enabled
Get low is a rewarding period drama that features a standout performance by Robert Duvall but owes its success as a film to the total sum of its parts which includes a wonderful cast, apt direction and gorgeous cinematography. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring beautifully rendered high definition video, uncompromising lossless sound and an above average assortment of bonus supplements that provide a glimpse behind the scenes supported by insights from the cast/crew. This film is worthy of your time and comes highly recommended.
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Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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