Lonesome Dove Church (2014)
|Year Of Production||2014|
|Running Time||89:33 (Case: 94)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Terry Miles|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
John Shepherd (Tom Berenger) is a circuit preacher in 1840s Missouri whose anti-slavery views alienate him from a number of the members of the community. When John’s estranged son Isaac (Greyston Holt) and his associate Dutch (Geoff Gustafson) hold up a stagecoach and in a gunfight shoot dead a number of men, including the son of Butch Henley (Alex Zahara), a reward is posted. John feels guilty because of his neglect of Isaac as a child and decides to track down Isaac to “bring him back to the Lord”. He finds Isaac and helps him to escape from Henley’s men and they travel to Grapevine, Texas where John hopes to establish his own church. He starts to build his church with the help of Charles Stone (Serge Houde) while Isaac reacquaints himself with young widow Angie (Drea Whitburn). But their peaceful lives are threatened when Henley finds out where they are and he and his gang come calling.
Lonesome Dove Church is advertised as being based upon the true story of the founding in the 1840s of the Lonesome Dove Church in Texas, a church which still exists (it should be noted that this film is not connected in any way to the Lonesome Dove books by Larry McMurtry). Lonesome Dove Church is a decent traditional western about crime, guilt and redemption. The acting by Tom Berenger and Greyston Holt is impressive although Drea Whitburn is stilted. Alex Zahara is delightfully over the top as the villain; he is also a preacher but certainly a fallen angel as he makes his money by addicting young women to opium and then selling them into prostitution. This raises, for me at least, an interesting moral and ethical question. Isaac is a thief and a killer but as the men he kills and robs are worse than he is it seems he can become a good, Christian man with a bit of love and forgiveness.
The action in Lonesome Dove Church is well staged and the winter landscapes of British Colombia look beautiful. In fact, director Terry Miles and cinematographer Mahlon Todd Williams seem to enjoy showing off the landscapes and the middle of the film feels like a succession of horsemen riding or camping in spectacular locations. There are also a lot of dialogue sections between Berenger and Holt so the widescreen visuals and dialogue tend to slow the middle third of the film to a crawl. But when Zahara reappears the pace and the action cranks up again.
Lonesome Dove Church is a competent, good looking western with decent acting and some good action sequences. It is advertised as being based on a true story: I cannot say how accurate this is although I have read a statement by a descendant of the founders of the Lonesome Dove Church who maintains that, other than the fact that the church was built in 1845, nothing else is accurate!
Lonesome Dove Church is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The IMDb does not give the original ratio but certain scenes look cropped, with people mostly out of the frame, and the trailer included as an extra is in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. I believe 2.35:1 is the original ratio and one point has been deducted from the total video score as per site policy.
Detail is good. Colours are glossy but muted in the exteriors, reflecting the winter landscapes, while interior colours are richer with browns dominating. Blacks and shadow detail are fine, brightness and contrast consistent although some skin tones look very reddish.
Artefacts and marks are absent.
There are no subtitles, although English subtitles automatically translate one line of Spanish
Audio is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track at 192 Kbps, not surround encoded. The result is a mono audio.
The audio level is set quite loud, so I had to turn it down about 5 stops on my equipment. Be warned that the trailer’s audio is set very loud indeed!!
Despite this low Kbps, the audio was quite good. Dialogue was clear and the effects, such as gunshots or the clank of spurs, crisp. The music by Colin Aguiar was evocative of the west without overdoing it, and was nicely rendered in the audio.
Lip synchronisation fine.
|Surround Channel Use|
The DVD cover states that there is a special feature included, “The Making of Lonesome Dove Church Featurette”. However, this is not on the DVD; the menu offers only play feature and trailer.
The film’s trailer, in 2.35:1.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There is a Region 1 NTSC DVD release of Lonesome Dove Church but I cannot find a review so an unable to say the aspect ratio it is presented in or whether there are any extras. There is currently no Region 2 UK version listed.
Whatever the reality about the founding of the church in Grapevine, Texas, Lonesome Dove Church is a decent traditional western tale of redemption with some good acting, action and scenery and is worth watching mostly for Tom Berenger.
The video is in the incorrect aspect ratio and the audio is only a mono track. A trailer is the only extra.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 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 Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|