Correctly framed at 2.35:1 and encoded using the VC-1 format at 1080P, I doubt very much that The Proposition has ever looked better.
Keeping in context with the story, the landscapes are bleak but brilliantly detailed. Gold is the predominant colour on show here and there are hundred different shades of it as the Australian outback stretches far into the distance. Gold also seems to be the colour of choice when it comes to flesh tones as well. With the hot Australian sun reflecting of the baking ground into the actors faces, each one of them look as though they have been wrapped in gold leaf...
The source material seems to be in pristine condition and that's not really surprising as this film is only two years old. It's free from scratches and tears and the quality is consistent all the way through.
This kind of film, with its many desert scenes meeting a dark blue sky in the horizon is a high candidate for the addition of edge enhancement. I'm glad to say that this particular disc seems to be devoid of such nasties - including grain. I'm not sure whether or not the grain has been removed in the post production touch up, but I was surprised by its total absence.
All in all then, a mighty fine effort by the studio that oozes detail from every desert crevice - if you don't believe me, check the lines on John Hurts face...
First Look studios have blessed this disc with a lossless soundtrack in the shape of a Dolby True HD affair that really doesn't bring anything to the table. There's also a DTS HD HR track at the unusual bit-rate of 2.0mbs - the first I can recall seeing at that rate. I had a listen to both and there's nothing between them to be honest - the lossless track is recorded at a slightly higher rate than the DTS offering but I've never been a believer of more bits mean better - to me, it's all in the mix...and these two tracks appear to have come from the same console.
However, this is not a soundtrack that's going to push your home Cinema system by any stretch of the imagination. Indeed, apart from the shootout in the opening scene, the surround channels are left pretty redundant. They are not even used for the odd ambient effect. Likewise the LFE channel - your subwoofer will lie dormant throughout the 104 minute run time of the film. But - that's not to say it's a bad mix and I certainly won't be marking it down any just because it didn't have me looking over my shoulder or my neighbours banging on the wall. What it does it does very well. Dialogue is clear and concise and locked firmly to the centre channel for most of the time. Ray Winstones gruff East End tones come through loud and clear and the story is easy to follow.
So - not demo material by any stretch of the imagination, but at the same time, a very adequate soundtrack that does exactly what it says on the tin so to speak.
Previously released on Standard Definition disc with very few or no extra features, it will come as a relief to lovers of this movie that this Blu-ray disc is contains some worthwhile extra features that will only add to the movie experience.
The sad part is though that none of the documentaries are in High Definition...
Commentary with Director John Hillcoat and writer Nick Cave. though it's obvious from the start that these two work very well together when putting a movie together, I'm afraid the same can't be said for their commentary skills. Whilst it's informative and full of information about the film making process, it is an utter snooze fest as neither of them has a voice that will keep you glued to this track for long...
Deleted Scenes (11.55 SD). these are a bit of a mixed bag really. They are raw to the point of having all the digits and timings still on them from the studio - but it's difficult to pinpoint where exactly they should fit into the film. A commentary would have helped here - it's hard to tell whether or not they would have made the film any better so I'll withhold judgement.
The Making Of The Proposition (27.27 SD) isn't really the making of...that it should be. It's just a series of short interviews with the cast and crew. The cast do discuss the back story of their characters so it does add to the story.
Inside The Proposition (SD) Now this IS how a making of should be done. This feature consists of ten smaller features ranging from 7 - 20 minutes in length. Each actor spends at least ten minutes telling us how his or her character was developed, opening up the back story a little more and how much they actually hated making the film.
There's a whole section dedicated to the heat and conditions and the toll they took on the cast on crew. This particular extra feature is worth the cost of the disc alone - absolutely brilliant.
Photo Gallery (HD) is a series of stills from the movie in high definition.
Theatrical Trailer (02.25 HD) of the movie presented in High definition.
Trailers for the following films
King Of California
Sukiyaki Western Django
All in all, not a bad set of extras and certainly more than what's been made available before all on the same disc. Jump straight to Inside The Proposition when you check out the extras package and you'll be in for a treat.
The Proposition boldly treads where few have dared to tread before. Hats off to director John Hillcoat for daring to take the western out of the west and plant it firmly in Australia. The era and hardships are portrayed brilliantly by the stellar cast, most of who are well and truly on top of their game in this film. Certainly, in my opinion of course, this is Ray Winstones finest hour.
As a Blu-ray disc, first Look studios have come up trumps with this release. Solid picture quality backed up by a well mixed lossless Dolby True HD and a DTS HD HR soundtrack lay the foundations for a long and successful foray in the market for the studio. Though there's actually nothing to recommend one track over the other.
Unlike some studios that will remain nameless here, First look have decided it would be a good idea to reward early adaptors of the format by cramming all that is currently available on the film onto the disc. Fox - take note. (OK, maybe they won't remain nameless...)
Movie lovers everywhere should dash out and order this particular disc now - and I don't normally do this as I don't write these reviews to sell the discs - at a paltry price of £8.99, what have you got to lose?
Recommended without caveat.
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