The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Classic Pictures - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 103 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): Dutch/French DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Martijn Lakemeier, Yorick Van Wageningen, Jamie Campbell Bower, Raymond Thiry, Melody Klaver, Anneke Blok
Directed by: Martin Koolhoven
Written by: Paul Jan Nelissen, Mieke De Jong, Martin Koolhoven based on the novel by Jan Terlouw
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 26, 2011
"In 1945 Holland, a boy must choose between good and evil"
Nazi-occupied Holland, 1945. In a snow-covered village, thirteen-year-old Michiel (Martijn Lakemeier) is drawn into the Resistance when he aids a wounded British paratrooper. Michiel's boyish sense of defiance and adventure soon turns to danger and desperation, as Michiel is forced to act without knowing whom to trust among the adults and townspeople around him. Wartime's harsh reality encroaches on childhood innocence as Michiel confronts good and evil, courage and duplicity, and his own burden of responsibility. Based on the bestselling novel by Jan Terlouw.
Winter in wartime is based on the 1972 novel by Jan Terlouw and is a character driven, coming of age story, set against WWII in German occupied Netherlands. Michiel is young, impressionable and desirous of becoming involved in the underground resistance against the Germans. His father is the mayor of their village and works carefully at maintaining a rapport with the higher ups in the German military which allows him to keep not only his family safe but those close to them as well. Michiel doesn't see it that way and resents the fraternization. He looks up to his Uncle Ben, a member of the underground, who comes to visit from time to time. When the opportunity presents itself Michiel secretly opts to help friends who are taking part in a local operation to aid the resistance. Things don't quite go as planned which leads to his discovery of a secret that they were protecting, a wounded British paratrooper named Jack. Acting with an audaciousness that belies his age Michiel agrees to help Jack escape. With no real experience or assistance Michiel soon realizes that he will need to count on others. Should he turn to his father? His uncle Ben? His older sister? The question soon becomes can anyone be trusted? Inevitably he gives in to need and discovers that during times of war things aren't always what they seem.
This is a well crafted wartime melodrama that is based upon a coming of age/loss of innocence style narrative that includes elements of light suspense and adventure. Character development is strong which is essential to the unfolding nature of the storys elements. What starts out as a kind of playful us against them feeling of adventure evolves into something darker where the consequences are very real. Michiel learns a difficult and painful lesson that unfortunately comes at a price that is a direct result of the harsh times he lives in. Winter in wartime is a compelling and fairly evocative film that features strong performances from its well placed cast and apt direction from Martin Koolhoven who has a strong grasp and clear vision of the subject material. It isn't wholly original from a conceptual standpoint but if you enjoy this type of film it strikes the right chords.
The rating is for some language, 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:
Winter in wartime comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.8 Mbps.
This is an excellent high definition video presentation that offers impressive transparent imagery. The color palette is deliberately subdued and held to primary use of black, grays, whites, browns and blues that give it a cooler emphasis. This is a solid, high bitrate encoding that delivers superlative image resolution. Close ups reveal high level detail that allows the pores, stubble, peach fuzzy hair and subtle variations in the complexions of the cast to be perceivable. The texture on the surfaces of objects is just as defining which gives them visibly apparent structure and tangible quality. Black levels and contrast are stable and visible detail within dark backgrounds and shadows is strong. The video has a pristine quality that appears devoid of video related anomalies and distracting artifacts.
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio is primarily driven by dialogue and delivers sparkling clarity and enriching detail. Dialogue is impressive in its tonal distinction and transparency. Imaging and sound effects reproduction are first rate as the sound field in the front of the room bristles with sonic detail. The surrounds are mainly utilized for spatial atmospheric presence however discernible discrete audio cues are effectively mixed in where appropriate. Low frequency detail comes in the form of bass which supports sound effects that require low level resonance or tactile impact. Dynamic range is excellent which provides good solidity and weight to the audio in general. I felt that the mix highlighted the strengths of the source material and sounded great.
- The making of Winter in wartime - 24 minute featurette
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- BD-Live enabled
- Bonus DVD of Winter in wartime
Based on the 1972 novel by Jan Terlouw Winter in wartime is a character driven, coming of age melodrama, set against WWII in German occupied Netherlands. I found it to be compelling, fairly evocative and enjoyed the strong performances from its well placed cast and apt direction from Martin Koolhoven. It makes its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video quality and sparkling lossless sound. Unfortunately it is rather light in the bonus material department however if you enjoyed the film the making of feature is worthwhile. Winter in wartime doesn't break any new conceptual ground but if you are a fan of this type of film it definitely strikes the right chords and is well worth checking out.
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