157 minutes long, and not a single one of them wasted.
Zero Dark Thirty Blu-ray Picture QualityZero Dark Thirty looks absolutely stunning on UK Region Free Blu-ray, matching up to its equally impressive US counterpart by providing us with the same picture-perfect video 1080p video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen. It’s probably one of the best HD-digitally-shot features that I’ve come across recently, making up for its marginal – and utterly forgivable – lack of classically filmic texture with a flawless rendition of detail and colours. There are simply no flaws discernible – no edge enhancement, and no excessive DNR to impinge upon your viewing pleasure. Fine object detail is unparalleled, with superior close-ups that showcase skin textures and clothing weaves like you would not believe, and bring the setting to vibrant life; wider frames also showcase immense detail of structures and landscapes, as well as panoramic backdrops. The colours scheme is broad and accurately represented, with fantastic vibrant tones that positively pop. Whether in the dank interiors, the clinical ops workshops or the desert outreaches, the colours remain authentic to the setting, rounded out with fantastic blacks that allow for impressive shadow detail. Unquestionably stunning, this is one of the best digitally-shot video presentations that I’ve come across of late.
Zero Dark Thirty Blu-ray Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track is just as impressive, boasting both strong presence and fantastic precision, and making for a thoroughly immersive experience. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, dominating the fronts and centre channels wherever appropriate. Effects are wide-ranging, initially quite atmospheric, setting the scene for claustrophobic desert intensity – the torture chamber itself echoes with aural punishment – and then developing on to the more action-based outings, most notably at the end, where we are engulfed by a bevy of intentionally muffled nighttime ops effects – including the special stealth choppers whooping across in the background. Gunshots thrum or explode, depending on whether or not they involve surpressors, and the LFE channel provides a welcome undercurrent of power and potency that further embellishes the track. Exceptional.
Zero Dark Thirty Blu-ray ExtrasPerhaps the only disappointment comes here in terms of the extras, where we get nothing more than a quartet of short, insubstantial Featurettes: the 4-minute No Small Feat looking into the premise and background to the story and featuring the majority of cast and crew input; the 5-minute Targeting Jessica Chastain focusing on the work of the actress in this film; and then the crew chipping in for the 9-minute The Compound and the 7-minute Geared Up, which look at the final assault and the Navy SEAL prep work, respectively.
Is Zero Dark Thirty Blu-ray Worth BuyingKathryn Bigelow at the absolute top of her game; three decades of experience working in such a male-dominated industry culminating in an astounding piece of expert filmmaking; one of the best films of 2012 (or 2013 if you accept its UK release date). Whilst The Hurt Locker may have earned her Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, Zero Dark Thirty is arguably an even more accomplished feature. With its intense, seminal storytelling, it is one of the greatest detective stories ever told – the greatest police procedural ever crafted – and, although it happily blurs the line between fact and fiction, it may well be the most exciting pseudo-documentary-drama we’ve ever seen. Indeed it delivers this gripping true story in a surprisingly un-jingoistic, no-frills manner. Compelling viewing. Highly recommended.
On Region Free UK Blu-ray we get exceptional video and audio, and it’s really only the distinct lack of substantial extras that disappoints on this fantastic package, but even that doesn’t prevent it from being a must-have purchase. Get it. Watch it. Now.
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