PictureBefore the Devil Knows You're Dead comes to the next generation Blu-ray format presented with a solid 1080p High Definition video rendition in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen. Clarity is good throughout, with no noticeable softness, a negligible smattering of grain and an overall abundance of detail. From close-ups on faces to longer shots the picture generally looks very good indeed, avoiding any digital defects. The skin tones are realistic and the fairly sombre palette is nevertheless rendered well, with realistic colours throughout, some more rich than others. Black levels are good, making for decent shadowing and low-lit scenes. It may not be the kind of material useful for showcasing your machine's performance, but nonetheless it is a solid enough video presentation for this release.
SoundTo accompany this movie we get a top-of-the-range DTS-HD Master Audio track that makes the best of fairly limited material. It's not the kind of movie to stretch the range of your High Definition setup, with no boisterous explosions and no particular punch, but nonetheless what we do have is presented in the best possible way. Dialogue takes centre stage, playing off the frontal array with crystal clarity, and effects - including a couple of gunshots - come across authentically, allowing some dynamics across the surrounds but, for the most part, providing a decent enough atmosphere for the rest of the proceedings. The score is fairly suited to the material, which unfortunately means it can get a little depressing in and of itself but, as with the rest of the aural offering, it is presented well enough.
VerdictBefore the Devil Knows You're Dead should have been another modern-day classic, given its acclaimed director and superior stars, but the bleak morality tale and unpleasant characters make it very difficult to like in any way. The end result is a movie that - for many - has, at best, a one-watch value to it. On Blu-ray we get solid video and audio, along with a couple of extras to round off the disc, which means that fans of the movie will want to pick up this release. Newcomers beware, I'm not even sure this is worth a rental.
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