Ain't Them Bodies Saints (2013)

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Released 19-Mar-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer-Don Jon
Trailer-Fruitvale Station
Trailer-August: Osage County
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 92:04
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Lowery
Studio
Distributor
Weinstein Company
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Rooney Mara
Casey Affleck
Ben Foster
Keith Carradine
Nate Parker
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Daniel Hart


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

“We can ride off to somewhere. Somewhere far away.”

     Casey Affleck is Bob Muldoon, a ne’er-do-well slacker who is hopelessly in love with Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara). Bob lives on the wrong side of the law and has drawn Ruth into his crime circle. Bob had been hoping to pull off one big job that would secure the future for Ruth and their unborn child and allow them to buy a house and go straight. This couple is no Bonnie and Clyde, but nevertheless the stakes are raised a notch when his plan is foiled and cop Patrick Wheeler (Ben Foster) is shot during the resulting shootout. Although it was actually Ruth who pulled the trigger, it is Bob who takes the blame when Ruth escapes, and it is he who now faces 25 years in jail. Wheeler was not critically wounded, however attempted murder of a cop in Texas results in serious jail time.

     Now separated, the couple have time to think about their circumstances and what their future holds. Bob has promised to return to Ruth, and Ruth in turn has promised that she will wait for him. After the passage of time however Ruth privately acknowledges that the only future for herself and her young daughter is to start a new life away from the influence of Bob. Local store owner Skerritt (Keith Carradine) has been helping Ruth out financially and is also keeping a watchful eye on her welfare. Also interested in Ruth’s welfare is Patrick, the cop she formerly shot. Patrick is clearly romantically interested in Ruth but is far too polite to make his feelings known. When Bob escapes from a work gang his sole aim is to keep his promise of returning to Ruth and nothing will stand in his way. News of the escape raises alarm bells for Skerritt and Wheeler, who are certain he will return to Ruth. It also results in some former associates of Bob coming into town looking for him with malicious intent. Given the intersection of competing interests coming together in this small town, it is a safe bet that a happy ending is unlikely.

     Director and writer David Lowery has crafted a wistful meandering tale that builds on the naive relationship between Ruth and Bob, and explores Bob’s infatuation and Ruth’s response. Affleck has largely reprised his role from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. This time however he is the love-sick prisoner who dreams of being reunited with his love and the daughter he doesn't know. The early scenes highlighting the couple’s past and that fateful day are quickly dealt with leaving the bulk of the narrative exploring how the characters change and mature in the years of separation. Of particular interest for the viewer is how the character of Patrick is skilfully written by Lowery and beautifully portrayed by Foster. Patrick could easily have come across as a creepy stalker cop, but instead his genuine care for Ruth and her daughter is touching and believable. Affleck, Mara and Carradine are all excellent in their roles with Affleck in particular being totally believable as the obsessed loser. The Texas countryside and town life is languidly photographed by Bradford Young, and the soundscape is similarly contemplative. Ain't Them Bodies Saints is a quiet achiever, lulling the viewer into a sense of melancholy until fate and circumstance make competing interests collide.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Video is presented in the theatrical aspect of 2.35:1. The first thing you notice in the film is the absence of colour. It’s as if a sepia filter was applied to the footage where even the outdoor scenes look amber. This is obviously an artistic decision but it does lead to a loss of clarity in a lot of cases. The dark scenes, of which there are many, are often crushingly dull which results in a lot of the detail being lost. Black levels are really not very good, and it’s often a struggle to see what is happening. I don’t know how this looked in the theatre but in my opinion an attempt should have been made to brighten up the video when authoring this DVD. Being a relatively short movie without extras on a dual layer disc there are no issues with compression artefacts although there was a bit of aliasing along some edges. Grain levels were quite high and as noted earlier, the level of detail is low.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Default audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital track at around 448 Kb/s. There is also a stereo Dolby Digital track and English Descriptive Audio track at 224 Kb/s. Daniel Hart's score is excellent and carries the soundscape effortlessly with the tempo and volume rising and falling along with the plot. Surround effects are rare but used well for events such as dogs barking or car doors slamming. Bass events were used sparingly but appropriately for events such as shotgun blasts. A more obvious LFE presence was not really missed for this vocal based movie. Unfortunately however the sound levels were very low, and that combined with broad accents and mumbled dialogue meant that the subtitles were enabled for much of the time. A couple of times I couldn't make out what the character was saying despite replaying a number of times. Thankfully the subtitles filled in the gaps and were accurate enough.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The menu featured looping audio with animated background.

Movie Trailers

     Appearing before the main menu; all Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kb/s. Don Jon (2:21); Fruitvale Station (2:08); August: Osage County (2:19).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release includes a behind the scenes documentary, deleted scenes, music video, “making-of” featurette and two character's teasers. Some releases also include a bonus DVD of the earlier Lowery film, St Nick. There are also different language options. This is obviously a better buy than the local version.

Summary

     Ain't Them Bodies Saints is a thoughtful and skilfully presented drama highlighted by excellent performances from the principle cast. Both the video and audio as presented in this DVD had issues, but not enough to detract from the overall enjoyment. Extras are disappointing when compared to other releases.

     The video quality is fair.

     The audio quality is fair.

    Extras are poor.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mike B (read my bio)
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge Audio 751bd, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
Amplificationdenon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp
SpeakersB&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub

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