Jungle (Blu-ray) (2017)
Featurette-Becoming Yossi (9:46)
Featurette-The Making of the Yossi Ghinsberg Story (13:57)
Interviews-Cast & Crew-(120:43)
|Year Of Production||2017|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,4||Directed By||Greg McLean|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English Descriptive Audio||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
In 1981 Israeli Yossi Ghinsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) after three years in the army decides to leave his humdrum life for a year of adventure. In Bolivia he meets Marcus (Joel Jackson) and his friend Kevin (Alex Russell), fellow adventurous spirits. In La Paz they meet the mysterious and charismatic Karl Ruprechter (Thomas Kretschmann) who offers to guide the three on an adventure like no other; a trek into the Bolivian jungle to the last frontier and a lost tribe. After some hesitation the three agree and the group set out.
Initially things go well although the terrain is difficult; Karl seems to know the jungle and its people and his promise of adventure well founded. Marcus is the first to falter when his feet become blistered and swollen and he is unable to keep up which causes tensions within the group. Reluctant to turn back they build a raft and travel on the river, which is sometimes benign but occasionally there are rapids. At one set of rapids Kevin and Karl clash over the control of the raft. When they reach the bank Karl refuses to go any further on the river and intends to walk out. Kevin, on the other hand, is determined to continue on the raft. After a discussion, Yossi agrees to go on the raft with Kevin while Marcus walks out with Karl.
Disaster strikes Yossi and Kevin in a set of bad rapids as the raft is caught on the rocks; Kevin manages to swim to the bank but Yossi is swept down river and barely manages to survive. Next day he is able to retrieve his pack from the river but there is no sigh of Kevin. Yossi is alone and lost in the jungle. For almost 3 weeks he struggles to survive facing animals, insects, worms that burrow under his skin, the jungle and the rain, trying to find anything to eat while slowly losing his mind. When things seemingly could not get any worse he becomes trapped in mud which sucks him down; he survives but loses the rest of his possessions. In a parallel story we find that Kevin has survived and been rescued; although he is told by the authorities that there is no hope that Yossi is still alive he refuses to give up the search. As the film is based on a true story of survival, Yossi Ghinsberg’s memoir Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of Survival, it is no spoiler to say that in the end Kevin was able to find Yossi and bring him out of the jungle. Paradoxically, Karl and Marcus disappeared, never to be seen again.
Jungle was directed by Australian Greg McLean, who came to prominence with the thriller / horror Wolf Creek (2005). Jungle was filmed on location in Colombia and SE Queensland standing in for Bolivia and the widescreen images of the South American mountains and jungles, filmed by cinematographer Stefan Duscio, are stunning. As the extras show, the action sequences, such as the rapids, were done for real in a Columbian river and they are exhilarating, heart in mouth stuff, giving a feeling of rawness and immediacy to the film. Indeed, Daniel Radcliffe lost over a stone to portray the emancipated state of Yossi after 19 days starving in the jungle and the scenes of his trials are gritty, raw and realistic. Radcliffe is fabulous and totally believable, while Thomas Kretschmann is also excellent so you are never sure whether this man is genuine, or a fraud.
Jungle is a beautifully filmed and compelling story about survival against all odds. Shot on location without green-screen it feels raw and believable and with a wonderful central performance by Daniel Radcliffe; he is not making some interesting choices in his career and proves again that he indeed is a talent to be reckoned with.
Jungle is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.
Scenes in the film vary between the claustrophobic feel of the closed in jungle with trees, overhanging branches and dark rocks and gorgeous aerial widescreen images of the jungle, the river and the snow covered Andes Mountains in the distance. Detail in close ups is wonderful, all the dirt, sores, lines and whiskers on Radcliffe face, arms and body clearly seen. Colours are beautiful and natural, the greens of the jungle, grey of the running river and the rocks, blue of the sky when it isn’t raining. Blacks and shadow detail are very good, skin tones natural, contrast and brightness consistent. Marks and artefacts were absent.
Yellow English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available.
The audio is English DTS-HA MA 5.1.
This is an excellent audio track for a film that is not an action film as such. Dialogue is always easy to hear. The rears and surrounds are constantly used for the sounds of the jungle such as bird and animal cries and growls, the sounds of the underbrush being crushed by something unseen, engines, the crowd in the carnival sequence and the music. During the rapids sequences the roar and splash of the water fills the sound stage, putting one right into the middle of the river (but thankfully without getting wet). The subwoofer added boom to these sequences and the fireworks at the carnival.
The score by Johnny Klimek, whose wide-ranging credits include Run Lola Run (1998) and I, Frankenstein (2014), was excellent. It was quite subtle, setting the mood nicely but without overwhelming the action.
There are no lip synchronisation issues.
|Surround Channel Use|
This featurette includes a lot of interesting on-set behind the scenes footage plus comments by director Greg McLean, cast Daniel Radcliffe, Alex Russell and Thomas Kretschmann, author Yossi Ghinsberg and three producers, mostly covering the character of Radcliffe and some of the things he was put through to recreate Ghinsberg’s survival in the jungle.
Similar to the previous featurette with behind the scenes and comments by most of the same people plus cast member Joel Jackson and another producer. It covers the lengthy delay in bringing the book to film, the contribution of Ghinsberg to the film, filming the events on location for real with limited green screen and the fact that the film was about character and the nature of survival.
A whopping two hours of EPK type interviews. The interviewees answer questions set by a text screen; these are just the interviewee on camera, there are no film clips. Some of the interview sections also appear in the above featurettes. Interviewees are:
The cast members mostly talk about what attracted them to the project, their role, the greatest challenges during the filming, shooting in Columbia and Australia, working with other cast members and the director, having the real Yossi on set. Greg McLean talks about how he got involved, why he did the film, the cast, locations and the most challenging sequences. Yossi Ghinsberg speaks about survival, the characters and the choices made in bringing book to screen. The producers, production designer and DP talk about the locations, design choices, challenges and the cast.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region B UK Blu-ray of Jungle is identical to our version. The Region A US is a Blu-ray / DVD combo and adds a French dub, if that is of any interest.
Jungle is a film about miracles, character and survival and would be unbelievable were it not based on a true story. Driven by stunning images on screen, a beautiful score and a compelling performance by Daniel Radcliffe, Jungle builds slowly, but appropriately, and then grabs you and never lets you go. One of the gems of the year and an unexpected treat.
The video and audio are very good. The extras are decent and offer additional value to this Blu-ray release.
|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|