The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2002
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 115 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Jim Caviezel, Amanda Peet, Adam Scott, Tom Bower
Directed by: Carl Franklin
Music by: Graeme Revell
Written by: Yuri Zeltser & Cary Bickley based on the book by Joe Finder
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 1, 2009
"Everything you trust. Everything you know. May be a lie"
Judd stars as Claire Kubik, a smart and sexy attorney whose perfect world comes crashing down when the FBI charges her husband Tom (Jim Caviezel) with the murder of innocent civilians during a covert Army operation fourteen years earlier. Aided by shrewd ex-military lawyer (Freeman), Claire fights to clear Tom's name, but gets too close to exposing a government cover up in the process. Now she must risk her career - and even her life - to find the truth.
Successful private attorney Claire Kubik, lives a charmed life with her husband Tom. The couple has a beautiful home and is actively trying to have a baby. After a failed burglary attempt at their home Claire and Tom are accosted in public by the FBI and they arrest her husband. Claire comes to learn that Tom is being charged by the military for the murder of 9 civilians which took place in 1988 during a covert military operation. She is also told that Tom's name is not Kubik but is Ronald Chapman and that he has been wanted for last 14 years. Tom admits his deceit of Claire and his presence during the military operation but maintains his innocence. Claire prepares to defend Tom/Ron in military court but realizes she will need someone who isn't afraid to take on the Marine Corps. She enlists the aid of Charlie Grimes (Freeman), a recovering alcoholic and former JAG attorney who has an axe to grind with the military. While making their case they begin to uncover a massive cover up perpetrated by one of the armed forces highest ranking and decorated officers. As the case unfolds Claire and Charlie come closer to revealing the truth about what happened. Unfortunately they also come to learn just how far those behind the scandal will go to protect their secret.
High crimes is a well rounded thriller in that it covers all the basic plot points required to be fairly entertaining and typically engaging. The reason for this is that it doesn't bring anything new to the genre and as a result feels both formulaic and predictable. While that may be true the film does have merit and works. The reason for this in my opinion is the onscreen chemistry and performances by the two leads. Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd had previously worked together on an excellent thriller called Kiss the girls. Each is accomplished in their own right and the combination adds a distinctive air of credibility and genuineness to the characters they portray here. The same could probably be said of the supporting roles played by Amanda Peet (woo hoo!), Adam Scott, and Jim Caviezel. The script does a decent job of character development but its attempts at building suspense and luring you into the story come up a bit short. I also think that at times it asks a little too much in the plausibility department. Regardless, it held my interest and when it was over I found it entertaining enough to add to my collection.
The rating is for violence, sexual content and language.
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:
This is a great looking encoding that looks solid throughout. High definition detail is notable as images are firmly resolute with crisp edges, defining sharpness, and two dimensional perspective that enhances depth during wild angle and panning sequences. Colors are beautifully rendered with revealing delineation and tonal warmth. This is readily apparent during the scene where Claire confronts General Marks at the Los Angeles gala. Fleshtones appear descriptive with variable depth that enhances the finest gradations in the differing complexional types among the cast. Blacks are stable and exhibit good dynamic range with discernable gradational highlights during darker scenes. Grain is visibly moderate and appears well preserved.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack rendered clear, articulated dialogue that maintained a position of prominence across the front three channels. Sound effects had excellent dynamic energy so that they sounded full bodied and authoritative. This is not a film that requires heavy use of surround sound to deliver its message but it does rely on the entire soundstage for proper atmosphere from time to time. The mix excelled at reproducing sounds at the right levels and placing them appropriately in the sound field. The film doesn't call for extensive use of Low frequency effects but when applied (the SUV crash for example) offered excellent response that resonated deep bass energy throughout the room. Detail was rendered with aplomb which attenuated slight environmental cues and augmented the subtle texture of voices and sound effects.
- Commentary by director Carl Franklin
- A military mystery - With author Joe Finder - 7 minutes
- FBI take down in Union Square - A behind the scenes look - 3 minutes
- The car crash - A behind the scenes look - 2 minutes
- A different kind of justice - An examination of the differences/similarities between military and civilian courts - 5 minutes
- Liar Liar: How to beat a polygraph - Hosted by FBI consultant Sue Doucette - 5 minutes
- Together again - 7 minute featurette with Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman
- Theatrical trailer
High crimes is an average thriller that is made better by the performances of its cast. It doesn't bring anything new to the table but still makes a decent watch for genre fans (and those who appreciate the talents of its two lead actors). Its debut on Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox delivers excellent audio/video quality along with a middling set of bonus features. If you're a fan this is worth picking up otherwise throw it in the queue and give it a rent.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/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)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel 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, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
Ralph C. Potts
My Home Theater
Follow me on Twitter @RalphAVSreviews