Home of the Brave Blu-ray Review
PictureHome of the Brave comes to Blu-ray home cinema presented with a glorious 1080p High Definition video rendition in the movie's original theatrical widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The picture quality is excellent throughout, particularly good with regard to skin detail, a lack of grain (except for where it is intentional), no noticeable softness and negligible edge enhancement. The colour scheme is generally quite broad and warm, whether it be the predominant ochre desert sequences or the colourful home-town scenes. If anything, things arguably look a bit too perfect - particularly back home in the houses and shops, and on the streets. Black tones allows for solid shadowing, and the darker lit sequences are sharp and brimming with detail. Arguably the content is the only thing that restricts the picture, because there is simply nothing outstanding to showcase your home cinema equipment with. Still, not every film pushes the boundaries of High Definition, and at least we get excellent presentation for this PTSD drama.
SoundTo accompany the movie we get a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio track that is quite efficient at providing accurate coverage of whatever material the movie has to offer. Dialogue is clear and coherent throughout, predominantly emanating from the frontal array. The opening attack can be quite loud, with plenty of gunshots, a few explosions and lots of shouts and screams permeating the surrounds, even allowing for a little bit of bass, but for the majority of the rest of the movie the effects are more subtle - but still well observed. In turn the score, which is prevalent throughout, certainly takes centre stage after the initial fracas, doing a reasonable job of bringing more tragic gravitas to the drama. It's not a particularly powerful track, again mainly because of the material, but it does a decent enough job at presenting this movie well.
ExtrasFirst up we get a Full Length Audio Commentary by the Director Irwin Winkler, the Screenwriter Mark Freidman and the Producer Rob Cowan. They discuss in detail the locations used to shoot the movie (in particular the brief battle sequences), the way they shot it and the story and morals that they were trying to bring to audiences. It's a bit of a dry affair, which does delve slightly into the rights and wrongs of the war, but often has nothing to offer other than shooting schedules and location/costume trivia. At its best we have some historical references showing the real incidents that were mirrored in the movie, but often it can get quite dry and boring despite the three contributors.
The Trivia Track plays throughout, revealing some interesting trivia about the military advisors on the movie (some of whom were in the attack that is fictionalised in the opening scene), as well as some more dry information about number of days shot in certain locations and the way in which they created some of the sets. It's nice because you can watch the movie, listen to the Commentary and have the Trivia Track on at the same time, which should give you a fuller experience than just one or the other.
There are 5 Deleted Scenes, totalling eight minutes of extra footage. We get more from the beginning, with the troop comrades messing around before they move out, more of Dr Marsh working with unsympathetic patients back home, more of the survivors trying to gain employment and more of Price trying to cope at work and at home. In fan terms, this equates to more screen-time for all the main stars, but really (as is exemplified by the use of the word 'more' in all the listings above) it's all superfluous to the story that the film is telling, and seldom enhances the characters significantly. There's optional Commentary by the same trio that did the main track.
Finally we get Trailers for other war movies, the interesting Hart's War, the misguided Windtalkers, and the vapid Flyboys.
VerdictHome of the Brave is a quiet, slow movie exploring some varyingly dramatic aspects of P.T.S.D. suffering soldiers' lives upon their return home from battle. With some limited performances and characters which aren't that well-developed, as well as story ideas which have generally been covered before - and better - in comparable Vietnam dramas, the end result is more miss than hit. In presentation, we get the best technical specs but not that much material with which to push them to their limits, but rounding that off with a reasonable selection of extras means that this is a package which fans of the movie should have no hesitation in picking up. For newcomers, on the other hand, it is a recommended rental, in order to gauge whether it is worth your money.
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