Trapped Blu-ray Review

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If this show was a novel it would be called a 'page-turner'

by Simon Crust Apr 6, 2016 at 1:04 PM

  • Movies review


    Trapped Blu-ray Review

    Series Review

    Until the snow retreats, or the pack ice melts, we're trapped

    There is a storm coming. A devastating winter storm. Snow drifting so fast it blocks roads and seals in a township. And with it a realisation. The body found in the fjord was a murder victim. With no-one able to travel in or out, the murderer must also be here, trapped. And it could be anyone. Such is the premise for this new 'Nordic Noir' series, the Icelandic thriller/mystery, Trapped, which has the distinction of being the most expensive series ever made in Iceland. Not to mention the most sought after and watched series, award nominated and winner, and the number one pilot episode. It is little wonder, when the series hits the ground running by introducing a number of well meaning, but flawed characters, all with their own issues that become instantly recognisable and empathetic.
    Add to that a tragedy, a dynamic plot device, harsh uncompromising conditions (both in terms of story narrative and weather devices) and a relentless driving pace that pushes time, patience and energy to the very limit; the show is totally engrossing. Filmed in and around the winter months of Iceland during the very weather that the show is demonstrating, with a bunch of actors that totally inhabit their respective characters and you have a series that is natural and compelling, approachable and alien, identifiable and indefatigable. The 'Nordic Noir' has produced some of the best TV in recent years, pioneering series’ such as The Bridge and The Killing are demonstrating that they are not a flash in the pan, but rather a force to be reckoned with. And Trapped is every bit as gripping.

    Picture Quality

    Trapped Picture Quality
    The discs present a widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio, using a 1080i transfer and the AVC codec, whilst the discs are region locked to B.

    Filmed digitally the image quality is once again, for a Nordic series, quite stellar. Detail is incredible, when you can watch individual snowflakes land and then melt on someone’s face you know that the detail on show will struggle to be beaten. Skin texture is keen, check out Andri’s mighty beard (with or without snow), clothing has weave (even the huge parkas) interiors (such as the police station) contain plenty of crisp edges, while landscape shots (establishing or otherwise) hold edges far into the distance – but it is with the snow were the most detail is shown, it covers everything and is so cold and crisp you can almost make your own snowballs.

    Everything is so cold and crisp you can almost make your own snowballs

    Colouring is well realised, the series uses a predominately blue hue which is vibrant and cool, while the other primaries hold their own in the interiors. Skin colour is pale, but natural, while the various vehicle and house shades stand out against the white snow, never showing any wash or bleed.

    Contrast and brightness are set to give an incredible grey scale, the black gives rise to the permanent white which is so important for the show, there is no crushing and definitely no clipping, even in the brief moments of brighter whites, excellent stuff.

    Digitally there are no compression issues, or edge enhancement, while banding is kept to a barest minimum only ever being seen in moments of CG. The original print is in pristine condition, indeed the whole image is stunning throughout. The only fly in the ointment would be some rather naff looking day for night shots (the avalanche) and some weak CGI/green screen (same scene) but this is a print issue and nothing to do with the transfer.

    Sound Quality

    Trapped Sound Quality
    Two tracks to choose from: Icelandic DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround or LPCM 2.0 stereo, I went with the surround. Just like the image the sound is quite stunning, the effects, both stereo and ambient conspire to really place you in the middle of winter; the wind, snow flurries and other outside winter effects are so precise and organic you feel the cold! Dialogue is clear and precise, dominated by the frontal array, though given directionality when required and sounds very natural. The surrounds provide plenty of ambience, mainly weather, though vehicles, office chatter, voices etc. also play their part. The score, that urgent, incessant beat, comes through strong within the mix, building on the visual tension to near breaking point. It makes good use of the bass, while LF effects come thick and fast, always from a natural stand point and not bombast - making this a very natural, whilst evocative, track. There is nothing better than when you have two characters, whose dialogue is natural and clear, sitting front and central while just above that in the mix sits the menacing score and above that the ever present wind which, in this case, moves through the room with such resonance you find yourself checking to make sure your windows are closed.

    Subtitles are in a large white font that sits towards the bottom of the screen, are grammatically correct, with no spelling errors even if the vocabulary used is quite wide, but they hang around long enough to be read with no difficulty.


    Trapped Extras
    Making of Trapped – Is a twenty five minute making of feature that explores the genesis of the project through to filming of the first couple of episodes told through just about everyone involved with the show. This type of feature, so well done by the Nordic group, has plenty of behind the scenes filming and interviews with everyone be it producer, director, actor or continuity guy; everyone has an important part to play and everyone’s experience and expertise is spoken about in this short but entertaining feature.

    Blu-ray Verdict

    Trapped Blu-ray Verdict
    Trapped is an Icelandic TV series that takes the enclosed small group being terrorised by an outside threat to a whole new level, by having an entire town trapped by a monster winter storm after a body is discovered, effectively trapping everyone with a murderer. The genius of the show (as with many of these Nordic series) is the complexity of the characters, who all have grounded backstories endearing them to the audience, thus we care about their plight. And when the show ramps up the pressure, again and again, you are hooked into finding out what happens next – just like a great novel the series could be termed a ‘page-turner’ as the events take place over just a few days with near ‘24’ like tension: just when you think things are levelling off, the show turns things on their head!

    With terrific acting from everyone involved, tight scripting, taught direction, superlative editing, energetic scoring and a driving narrative that never lets up over the ten episodes, Trapped is yet another terrific example of ‘Nordic Noir’ producing some of the best TV in recent years.

    One of the best TV series in recent years

    As a Blu-ray package the set is pretty good; the picture is absolutely stunning, with absolute clarity in the detail, the brightness and contrast set to giving wonderful whites and strong bold colouring; while the sound is as reference as it gets with the surrounds providing ambiance in spades, placing you firmly in the centre of the action and sounding so natural that you feel the cold! The twenty five minute making of feature packs a whole lot into its runtime containing interviews and behind the scene footage with everyone involved with the production.

    You can buy Trapped on Blu-ray here

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