Two Men in Town (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 13-Jan-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer-x 2 for other releases
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 116:44
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Rachid Bouchareb
Studio
Distributor

Eagle Entertainment
Starring Forest Whitaker
Harvey Keitel
Brenda Blethyn
Dolores Heredia
Luis Guzman
Ellen Burstyn
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Eric Neveux


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Parole Officer Emily Smith (Brenda Blethyn) for reasons unexplained has transferred to New Mexico to live in an isolated house looking out onto the desert. One of her parolees in her new location is William Garnett (Forest Whitaker) who has just been released after spending 18 years in goal for the murder of a Sheriff’s Deputy. While in prison Garnett had been a model prisoner and had converted to Islam as a way to manage his anger. Released on parole all he wants is to live a quiet life; he finds a job on a ranch near to the Mexican border and starts a relationship with bank employee Teresa (Dolores Heredia). But the local sheriff, Bill Agati (Harvey Keitel), whose deputy Garnett had murdered, believes Garnett had been let off far too lightly and begins to harass him. And, to further complicate matters, Garnett’s former criminal associate Terence (Luis Guzman), who is now a crime boss smuggling people and drugs across the border, wants Garnett back to work for him. Can Smith help keep Garnett out of trouble?

     Two Men in Town is a French financed film made in English by French director Rachid Bouchareb, whose Days of Glory (2006) I had enjoyed. Two Men in Town is in fact a remake of a 1973 French film of the same name (Deux homme la ville) which starred Alain Delon and Jean Gabin with the location changed to New Mexico. There is little that is original about a story of an ex-con being drawn back into his old life, but Two Men in Town is a strong addition to the genre due to some excellent acting, beautiful cinematography and an atmospheric score.

     While the title of the film suggests that the story is about two men, the role of the sheriff played by Harvey Keitel is relatively minor. Keitel does a good job, especially in a couple of scenes which elevate his character above a man fixated on vengeance, but the crux of the film is the relationship between the characters played by Forest Whitaker and Brenda Blethyn. Both are excellent. Whitaker has had a long and distinguished career with 111 credits currently on the IMDb, winning both an Oscar and a BAFTA for his performance in Last King of Scotland (2006), although my personal favourite is his role in Jim Jarmusch’s quirky Ghost Dog (1999). His William Garnett in Two Men in Town is nuanced and complex, a man with pain and suppressed anger trying to build a new life but finding himself backed into a corner by people he cannot control. He is matched by Brenda Blethyn, who has also won a BAFTA for Mike Leigh’s Secrets & Lies (1996); her Emily Smith is a frumpy, mature aged, single woman who is empathetic and genuinely wants to help her clients’ rehabilitation while taking no nonsense from anyone. Some of her scenes of differences of opinion with Sheriff Agati are priceless and make the film worth watching for these alone! Dolores Heredia and Luis Guzman are less effective, indeed I have seen a similar performance from Guzman as the ethnic criminal a few times, although Ellen Burstyn is compelling in a small role.

     Two Men in Town looks beautiful. Cinematographer Yves Cape makes full use of the widescreen frame to film the wide and flat New Mexico desert landscapes. There is no jerky hand-held camera work here or quick intercutting; instead there are long held, static shots of the desert with the characters tiny within the shot, dwarfed by the landscape. In these shots, and indeed throughout the film, the visuals are augmented by an atmospheric score by Eric Neveux which often uses brass instruments to good effect.

     Two Men in Town is not an action film as such but a slowly building character drama replete with excellent performances and beautiful images which linger in the mind.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Two Men in Town is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, close to the original 2.35:1 ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Shot using Arri Alexa Plus cameras, close–up detail is good except for a number of scenes with the light source behind the actor which results in some glare and loss of detail. Colours are on the light side, suggestive of the hot and dusty desert landscapes, but they are natural without that digital glossiness. Some of the deserts and sunsets were quite beautiful to look at. Blacks are solid, shadow detail very good, skin tones natural.

     Slight blur with motion against surfaces such as wire occurred but I noticed no obvious marks or artefacts.

     There are no subtitles available, however burnt in white subtitles translated the substantial portions of Spanish dialogue.

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

Audio

     Audio is an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 track.

     This is not a particularly active audio mix and being predominately a dialogue driven film it did not need to be. Dialogue is clear and understandable at all times. When effects occurred, such as engines or the wind, they were most often in the front surrounds with only the music by Eric Neveux, some ambient sound or voices in the bar scene, in the rears. The sub-woofer provided some ominous rumbles, bass for the motorcycle engine and some music.

     There are no issue with lip synchronisation.

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

Extras

Trailers

     Trailers for Take Care (1:36) and Dark Was the Night (1:46) play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region A US release of Two Men in Town includes an extensive Making of (54:09) that is reported as being really interesting plus TV Spots (1:06). There is not a Region B UK release listed on Amazon, only a Blu-ray Region B from Sweden which has a range of Scandinavian subtitles but no extras. A clear win for Region A.

Summary

     I enjoyed Two Men in Town. The story may be nothing original but Forest Whitaker and Brenda Blethyn especially are compelling, the photography of New Mexico landscapes are stunning and the score very good, making this film one to look out for.

     The video and audio are fine. A couple of trailers for other films are the only extras as sadly we miss out on the extensive making of available in the US.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, January 22, 2016
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)
Not my sort of film -