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The Runner (Blu-ray) Official AVS Forum Review

In the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill, an idealistic but flawed politician is forced to confront his dysfunctional life after his career is destroyed in a sex scandal.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Alchemy - 2015
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 90 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Sarah Paulson, Wendell Pierce, Connie Nielsen, Peter Fonda, Bryan Batt
Written & Directed by: Austin Stark
Music by: The Newton Brothers
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 25, 2015

"Power always comes at a price"

My Take:

I like Nicholas Cage and have been a fan for years now. Clearly not the commodity he once was he continues to find work however his recent films are unquestionably hit or miss. The Runner, written and directed by Austin Stark is a well-intentioned character study about a southern congressman whose star is on the rise after an emotionally charged, televised speech in support of his constituents that were impacted by the BP oil spill. Unfortunately things fall apart after the national exposure draws attention to him leading to the discovery of an illicit affair that derails his marriage, career and relationship with those he sought to help.

While I found the performances by Cage and the strong supporting ensemble to be very good, the script as a whole is underdeveloped, leaving the plot and characters lacking a viable connection to the story’s elements of drama/melodrama. I enjoyed the potential in the social commentary and politically charged themes but they were overcome by the film’s innate vagueness and unfocused direction. At the end of the day The Runner fails to deliver a gratifying movie watching experience.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for language and some sexual material.

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.**

Audio: 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
  • DSU Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

The Runner comes to Blu-ray Disc from Alchemy featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.

This is a satisfying high definition video presentation that delivers quality which is on par with a newer release film coming to Blu-ray Disc. Colors appear natural with pleasing depth and an intentionally subdued palette. Complexions are realistically depicted with defining texture, and good tonal separation. Blacks are respectable but don’t offer the depth and delineation that make them stand out. Detail in low light and dark backgrounds is estimable. Images offer good dimensional depth, stable sharpness, and definitive clarity but don’t expect opulent high level detail and overly vibrant colors. This appears to look exactly as intended which when all is said and done is quite good.

The audio presentation is solid and renders the elements present in the soundtrack with aplomb. Dialogue is clearly articulated through the center channel and the film’s music holds sway over the front soundstage with authority and crystal clarity. Aural perspective is one dimensional and leans toward the front channels however spatial venue replicating effects and diffuse ambience is fed to the rear channels which provide a limited but effective sense of envelopment

Bonus Features:
  • There are no bonus features

Final Thoughts:

Written & directed by Austin Stark The Runner is a flat political drama that fails to capitalize on both its subject matter and stalwart cast. It comes to Blu-ray from Alchemy featuring satisfying high definition audio/video quality. The Runner doesn’t merit a purchase or rental consideration (depending on how full your queue is) but if you’re curious look for it on cable TV.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
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" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Ralph C. Potts
Blu-ray Reviewer
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