A hunter (Josh Brolin) arrives at a grisly scene of bodies, sprawled across a Texas landscape. The back of a pickup truck leaves exposed dozens of bags of heroin; evidence of a drug deal gone bad. When he stumbles on a bag stuffed with millions of dollars, his decision to take it sets in motion his own manhunt by the hands of a crazed psychopath (Javier Bardem), and the Texan sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) whom must solve these crimes unlike anything he has seen before.
No Country For Old Men has been lauded by critics since release and currently sits at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Directed by Hollywood darlings; the Coen Brothers, it certainly comes to Blu-ray with high expectations. It's these same expectations that I didn't feel quite proved themselves, despite some truly terrific performances, particularly by Bardem.
That's not to say I didn't enjoy the film, far from it, but the few issues I had with the film were overshadowed by the conclusion of the film, which left me feeling rather emotionally unsatisfied. However, I would still recommend the film, even if solely based on the performance by Bardem, whom delivers one of the best screen villains seen for some time.
No Country For Old Men is presented in the widescreen scope aspect ratio of 2.35:1.
After some time reviewing older catalogue releases, it's a breath of fresh air to see a new release title. No Country For Old Men looks stunning, amazing and all the superlatives that one could possibly think of. The well lit and naturalistic landscape that the film spends its time in almost automatically lends itself to a great demonstration. Detail jumps from every frame, yet avoids looking overly harsh or digital. Due to the age of the film, no film artifacts are seen and the disc compressionists have done a fine job of producing this transfer, with no film to video artifacts and with a bit rate which remains high enough to avoid compression artifacts.
Simply put, this is a great effort from all involved.
The main audio track here is an English Uncompressed PCM track, at 16 bits, despite the back cover offering up contradicting specifications (says PCM track is 24 bit, and features a Dolby TrueHD logo; both of which are incorrect!)
For the most part, the sound design of No Country For Old Men emphasises subtly. That's not to suggest the audio on offer is anything less than impressive (because it is), but the temptation to create a track which draws overt attention to itself is avoided. The intention here seems to be in dropping the viewer directly into the environments of the film, and not waking them from the illusion. As a sound designer, this is much harder to achieve than a track which smacks the viewer over the head. The PCM track replicates this experience completely.
No Country For Old Men won't be the first disc you think of when demonstrating your sound system, but it's a great track and rendered well on Blu-ray.
It's a slightly disappointing collection of extras, especially for such a lauded film, but nothing that a subsequent re-release won't fix down the track. Let's take a look at what we have.
First up is the featurette Working with The Coens, a very short look at the duo working on set, with a quick set of interview questions. The meatier making of documentary takes a half hour look at the genesis of the film, with tidbits from all the major players behind and in front of the camera. I particularly enjoyed the brief contributions by Javier Bardem and would have liked a little more input from him. Finally, we have Diary of a Country Sheriff, a fairly brief and perfunctory look at Jones and Bardems characters, filled with mostly film footage.
Missing from the Australian Blu-ray release are a bunch of trailers.
Review Equipment Used:
Display: Sony KDL52X3100 LCD (1080p resolution/ 24p playback)
Player: Sony BDP-S500 Blu-ray, PlayStation 3 (24p playback)
Sound: Sony STR-DA5300 Receiver (7.1 configuration), Sony SSX70ED front speakers (x2), Sony SSCNX70ED center speaker, Sony SSFCR7000 surround speakers (x4), Sony SAW3800 Subwoofer, (Front) Sony SAWM500 Subwoofer (Rear)