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· Blu-ray Reviewer
15,837 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Check out our review of this rough and tumble crime thriller that features high stakes, an epic jailbreak and a dangerous game of cat and mouse among an unruly band of master thieves.

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



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



Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2014
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Genre: Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Ewen McGregor, Brenton Thwaites, Alicia Vikander, Jacek Koman, Matt Nable, Tom Budge
Written & Directed by: Julius Avery
Music by: Jed Kurzel
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 17, 2015

"Everyone gets what they deserve"

My Take:

When JR (Brenton Thwaites) is sent to prison for a minor crime, he becomes the apprentice to Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor), Australia's public enemy number one. When JR helps Brendan break out, they go on the run and form a complex co-dependent relationship. JR quickly learns in the criminal world, life is like a game of chess. To gain control, you have to stay a few moves ahead of your opponent. Lose that control, and you risk becoming a pawn in their very dangerous game.

Son of a Gun is written and directed by Julius Avery and is a more or less prototypical fish out of water tale about a young guy, JR, who goes to prison and becomes indebted to Brendan, the most dangerous criminal in the facility. In order to repay his debt JR agrees that upon his release he will follow through with Brendan’s instructions, by establishing contact with those who will assist him with a choreographed prison break. Upon proving himself Brendan takes JR under his wing introducing him to his world as well as his next mark which is a high stakes gold heist.

The script checks all of the requisite boxes which includes a woman/romance that could single handedly derail the whole affair. While the story is formulaic the situations and dialogue are edgy and engaging while the thematic tone teeters between prison drama and gangster crime thriller. If I had one complaint, it would be the scene near the end in the laundry room (and what directly followed). It didn’t make much sense and it seemed as though there was a scene missing in between. Be that as it may it really all works due to the emboldening performance by Ewan McGregor. He is truly versatile and handles this character with dark yet likable aplomb. The supporting turns by Brenton Thwaites and Alicia Vikander compliment McGregor’s quite nicely. Son of a Gun doesn’t break new ground but when you’re in the mood for a snappy crime thriller it fits the bill.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence, language throughout, some sexuality, nudity and drug use.

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: 84
(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: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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

Son of a Gun comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.3 Mbps.

This is a solid looking high definition rendering from Well Go USA that sports plenty of fine detail with sharp edges and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective during wide angle camera pans. Colors range from warm, vivid and inviting to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Blacks are rich and noticeably deep with a slight boost to contrast that is just enough to give the video a visually dynamic aesthetic without negatively impacting fidelity. Visible detail in low lit scenes/backgrounds isn’t always definitive and I noticed some innate softening however neither proves problematic. I didn’t see any obvious signs of video related artifacts as the video had a pristine and generally pleasing quality.

The DTS-HD MA soundtrack did a nice job rendering the elements present in recording. Dialogue was well articulated with clear tonal distinction. Dynamic range was good although it was rarely tested by the film’s elements. Low frequency detail wasn’t frequently applied however when present in active sequences it sounded full bodied and robust. Rear channel activity was limited to a few discrete effects and ambient surround sound that bridged the front and rear sound stages. This film relies more on dialogue and front sound field presence than it does on filling the room with sound effects and ultra-deep bass. I thought it worked well toward that end and sounded good.

Bonus Features:
  • (HD) Partners in crime: The making of Son of a Gun – 13 minute featurette
  • Feature length commentary with writer/director Julius Avery
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

From the mind and heart of writer/director Julius Avery Son of a Gun is a formulaic and reasonably entertaining crime thriller that features a solid performance by star Ewan McGregor. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring gratifying high definition audio/video and a sparse but worthwhile supplemental package. Son of a Gun makes for a good Blu-ray rental when you’re in the mood for an edgy crime story.

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 AV7702 11.2 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

· Registered
2,947 Posts
Wow, 3.5 from the King? That's a promising sign...I may need to move this one up the queue a bit. Ewan McGregor is a favorite of mine, so I'm interested to give this one a viewing since it looks like Imitation Game (the next one on my Best Pic nominee list) isn't out for another week or two.

· Blu-ray Reviewer
15,837 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow, 3.5 from the King? That's a promising sign...I may need to move this one up the queue a bit. Ewan McGregor is a favorite of mine, so I'm interested to give this one a viewing since it looks like Imitation Game (the next one on my Best Pic nominee list) isn't out for another week or two.

I look forward to your thoughts AJ! :)

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