True Grit comes to UK Region Free Blu-ray complete with a fantastic 1080p High Definition video rendition, presented in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen. Detail is excellent throughout, clarity resounding from start to finish, with no softness, nor any signs of DNR or edge enhancement to keep the image looking so pristine. It really is pretty faultless. A fine layer of suitably filmic grain pervades the piece, giving it a nice cinematic feel, and there are simply no digital defects to spoil your utter visual enjoyment of the movie. The colour scheme is utterly in-line with the period setting, offering up some muted tones and rich browns and greys; black levels are strong and deep throughout, with fantastic shadow delineation and perfect contrast. Honestly I can’t see how this image doesn’t deserve a perfect-10 rating – a mirror, reference-quality offering to that which the US received on their equivalent release.
On the aural front we get a superb DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which is every bit as good as the outstanding video presentation. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, in spite of Jeff Bridges notoriously mumbled approach to speaking, largely emanating from the fronts and centre channels. Effects are myriad, but what is so superb about the track is that it observes even the tiniest detail across the surrounds, creating a wonderful atmosphere even during the quieter moments. Every single ambient noise is picked up on, and, at the opposite end of the spectrum we get some superb gunshots ringing out, horse hooves thundering right into your living room, and the more energetic sequences consequently lighting up the soundstage. LFE comes into play both in terms of the effects and the score, which is a perfectly suited to the material. Overall, again identical to the aural accompaniment that the US release received, this is a superb offering.
On Region Free UK Blu-ray, this Triple-Play release gets all the same extras as the US counterpart (albeit some of them have different, more UK-friendly names), along with an SD-DVD and a Digital Copy to boot. Unfortunately, despite the number of extras, there’s only perhaps a couple of any worth.
Behind the Scenes with Mattie Ross allows us 5 minutes with the star of the piece, actress Hailee Steinfeld, who talks about what it was like working on a Western, and handling all the trappings associated with it – costumes, guns, horses – as well as what it was like to work with the quirky directing brothers.
Outfitting the Old West: Buckskins, Chaps and Cowboy Hats spends 8 minutes with the Costume Designer, who talks about her work on the production; her attempt to maintain authenticity and the research required to guarantee it.
Colts, Winchesters & Remingtons: The Guns of a Post-Civil War Western has the Props Expert discussing gun authenticity, referring to the original book, and taking a look at the replicas used in the film, and how much attention-to-detail there was in replicating them.
Re-creating Fort Smith takes 11 minutes to look at the replica Wild West town that was created for the purposes of this production.
The Cast spends just 5 short minutes with the cast, which is far too brief for the heavyweight players involved.
Charles Portis – The Greatest Writer You’ve Never Heard Of... is the only weighty offering, a half-hour documentary which looks at the author of the original True Grit novel, the experiences he had in his time, and then comparing the novel with both the original John Wayne adaptation, as well as this new film. Perhaps the only quality extra on the disc, aside from maybe the brief Featurette with Hailee Steinfeld.
The Cinematography of True Grit is another all-too-short 2 minute offering looking briefly at the camerawork, and just skating the surface of what went into this production.
The disc is rounded off by the original Theatrical Trailer and both a DVD and a Digital Copy of the film.
True Grit is a very good Western, but perhaps not quite the great one that everybody has been raving about. Whilst I enjoyed Jeff Bridges’ performance, neither it, nor anything else about the Coen Brothers’ fairly restricted production really warrants the Oscar attention that it has garnered, except perhaps the stunning debut performance from 14 year old Hailee Steinfeld. Other than that, this is a good but unexceptional Western, which will likely entertain, but will certainly not blow you away.
On Region Free UK Blu-ray we get a release identical to the US counterpart, boasting the same spectacular video and audio, as well as a nice, albeit somewhat light, selection of extras – all of which making for an excellent package for fans of the film to pick up. Newcomers who enjoy Westerns, or Jeff Bridges’ golden twilight era productions, should lap this up, but expecting a good quality Western, rather than a great, genre-defining epic, will help alleviate any disappointment. And even though, in my opinion, it’s not quite the masterpiece that many appear to be raving about, it’s still a fine film that comes recommended.
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