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The Company You Keep Blu-ray Review

company-you-keep-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

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(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Disc and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

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Robert Redford’s latest directorial effort, The Company You Keep, is a crime procedural dressed up in the guise of a thriller that draws the curtain on the implications of sticking your ideals well past the point of reason. Redford himself plays Jim Grant, a small town lawyer who is keeping a dark secret – 30 years earlier he was part of a radical left-wing group, The Weather Underground, responsible for bombings and the death of a bank security guard in Michigan during a robbery attempt. When one of the members, Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon) is captured by the FBI, it puts Jim, real name Nick Sloan, in jeopardy and on the run, away from his 12-year old daughter. Hot on his trail is a determined FBI agent (Terrence Howard) and young reporter from a small Upstate New York newspaper (Shia LaBeouf) who begins to uncover a deeper story surrounding the killing and Sloan’s connection to it.

The story is an interesting one that sucks the viewer in and Redford, with a script from Lem Dobbs (Haywire; Dark City), creates an impactful message without becoming too political, even given the subject matter. That said, The Company You Keep does fail to rise to the promise of ever becoming a full-on thriller, and rather settles for being a rather staid procedural, mostly edged forward by the side investigation of the young reporter as portrayed by a competent Shia LaBeouf.

As the film progresses, we feel the underuse of Terrence Howard more and more, especially as Redford’s character ventures out to find his once lover and member of the Weather Underground Mimi (Julie Christie). The film could have become an energetic game of cat and mouse, like a more intelligent version of The Fugitive, but Redford’s desire to draw the film down into the weighty and heady, keeps it from being so. Especially as the denouement arrives with a less than satisfactory, but not unforeseen conclusion.

Thankfully, Redford’s many years in the business and his strength as a director has allowed him to pull together a cast of powerful actors that keep the film afloat. The young Brit Marling is brilliant in her small but crucial role, Susan Sarandon steals her one scene together with LaBeouf, and grizzled Nick Nolte is a bit of comic relief.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

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The medium to high speed Kodak Vision3 200T 5213 and Vision3 500T 5219 Super 35mm source format is served well in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from Sony. We have a textured image with a fine grain structure and nuanced shadow details that show only the mildest amount of black crush, not enough to terribly hamper the detail.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

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An English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is included which is finely balanced between the direct sounds from the front and the atmospheric foley effects in the surround channels. Dialogue is full and clear without any clipping.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

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Nothing offered here is really a necessity to sit through, consisting mainly of the usual self-congratulatory interviews and behind the scenes segments.

The supplements:

  • Behind the Scenes: The Movement (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:14)
  • Behind the Scenes: The Script, Preparation, and Cast (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:17:52)
  • On the Red Carpet (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:20)
  • The Company You Keep Press Conference (1.781; 1080p/24; 00:13:19)
  • Theatrical Trailer (2.35:1; English Dolby Digital 5.1; 00:02:12)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

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The Company You Keep runs out of wind in its sails early and fails to rise to the level of quality of many of Robert Redford’s best directorial works. As a thriller, it’s average and a a crime procedural, it gives its intentions away too soon. The crux of the story is still a solid one, however, and the performances from the cast are A-level. Rent it.

Additional Screen Captures

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