Reckoning, The (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 17-Sep-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Drama Trailer-Astronaut: The Last Push, Savannah
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 81:37
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John V. Soto
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Jonathan LaPaglia
Viva Bianca
Luke Hemsworth
Hanna Mangan Lawrence
Alex Williams
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Thomas Rouch


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Detective Robbie Green (Jonathan LaPaglia) is appointed lead investigator when his ex-partner Detective Jason Pearson (Luke Hemsworth) is found shot dead in his car. In Jason’s pocket is an SD card with video footage shot by two run-away teenagers, Rachel (Hanna Mangan Lawrence) and her boyfriend AJ (Alex Williams). The card contains documentary type footage shot by Rachel about the death of her sister Abbie one year previously in an unsolved hit and run. As Green and his new partner Detective Jane Lambert (Viva Bianca) follow the clues on the SD card to try to track down the missing teenagers, they discover a trail of bodies and start to untangle a web involving drugs and corruption that leads right back to the police.

     The Reckoning is a mystery and crime thriller made in Perth by writer / director John V. Soto, who has cast in Jonathan LaPaglia and Luke Hemsworth less prominent siblings of better known Australian actors. It is probably a canny marketing ploy, and is justified by decent performances, although the standout is the impressive Hanna Mangan Lawrence. She was excellent in X (2011), a film I reviewed on this site last year (the lead actress in X was Viva Bianca so The Reckoning again finds them in the same film).

     The Reckoning packs a myriad of story and all the clichés in the book into its short 81 minute running time. Detective Green is a father with two young school age daughters and is having marital problems with his wife. He is grizzled, gruff and dishevelled, has a drinking problem and his sexy partner Detective Lambert is coming on to him. Rachel is grieving at the death of her sister, is a religious zealot and is dying of cancer with not long to live. AJ seems nice and supportive of Rachel but has recently been released from a psychiatric hospital after burning his father to death. The film throws together all the above plus what is essentially two different storylines; the search by the police for Rachel and AJ and the video diary shot by the two teens as they track down those responsible for suppling Abbie with the drugs that contributed to her death. The film intercuts regularly between the two story strands, plus adding flashbacks to Green and Pearson. This might have been confusing but it is to the credit of Soto that, despite being contrived, the pieces do come together pretty well and all is explained, producing a taut and tense thriller. Indeed, it was only in the final reel of the film that Soto takes some obvious and predictable choices that lessen the film’s impact.

     Despite perhaps trying to fit too many things into one film, The Reckoning is, on the whole, tight, impressive filmmaking that is well worth a look.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Reckoning presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080i using the MPEG-4 AVC code. The IMDb gives the original ratio of the film as 2.35:1, but I cannot confirm this as Blu-ray.com is no help and there are no releases of the film on Blu-ray in the US or UK at present; the only other versions released are in Scandinavia, which are also listed as 1.78:1.

     This is not a film which uses the widescreen very much, and indeed the “video” sections shot by AJ deliberately jerk around and have people out of frame. I was initially unsure if the IMDb was correct but I did see some evidence in non-video sequences when one person was speaking who was mostly out of the frame. If I had to decide I expect that the correct ratio is 2.35:1. Time, and other releases, may clarify the position.

     Otherwise The Reckoning, shot using Arri Alexa and Red Epic digital cameras, looks very good. The sections “shot” by Rachel and AJ have been manipulated to make them more video like with cuts and interlacing errors but the rest of the film is sharp and nicely detailed. Colours have that glossy digital look but are fine, blacks and shadow detail are very good, contrast and brightness consistent.

     I did not see any marks or artefacts.

     There are no subtitles.

    I think this is presented in the incorrect aspect ratio and have deducted one point as per site policy.

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

Audio

     Audio is a choice of English DTS-HD MA 5.1 or Dolby Digital 5.1.

     Appropriately, the “found” video footage is very front oriented with some dialogue by Rachel spoken to the camera unclear. The rest of the film’s dialogue and effects are also mostly from the front, but the rears are used for effects such as rain, cars passing, thunder and music. The sub-woofer added appropriate bass to the music and the thunder.

     The score by Thomas Rouch was atmospheric and effective.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     The audio track is good.

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

Extras

Trailers (3:45)

     Trailers for Astronaut: The Last Push and Savannah play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

     There are no other extras.

R4 vs R1

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

     At present there are no Region A US or Region B UK releases of The Reckoning listed.

Summary

     The Reckoning is a tense, taut police crime thriller with decent acting, especially from Hanna Mangan Lawrence, nice Perth locations and an atmospheric score. The film is complex but with its short running time does not allow the viewer time to ponder on the contrivances. It is an interesting, well-make Australian film that is well worth checking out.

     The video is good but most likely in the wrong aspect ratio, the audio is fine. The only extras are trailers for other films.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, October 02, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
In cinemas, the film was presented with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio - REPLY POSTED