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Lebanon [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec:
  • Resolution: 1080i/50
  • Audio Codec: Hebrew DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, LPCM 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Classification: 15
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Metrodome Group
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 23, 2010
  • RRP: £19.99

[amazon-product align=”right” region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B003UU8M6G[/amazon-product]

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Israeli filmmaker Samuel Maoz drew on his own military experience during the 1982 Lebanon war to create this 2009 Golden Lion-winning film, Lebanon. A visceral and sympathetic look at young IDF soldiers manning a tank and trying to survive their way through Lebanon, the film is an intense and claustrophobic look at the hazards of war.

The young men at the center of the story, tank commander Asi (Itay Tiran), tank driver Yigal (Michael Moshonov), loader Herzel (Oshri Cohen) and gunner Shmulik (Yoav Donat) are thrown together in the tight quarters of a hot, smelly tank. We see the outside world only through the crosshairs of their tank’s sites. Maoz shows through their interactions and the imagery through the tank’s sites the difficulties of young men at war.

The biggest flaw with Lebanon is its overwhelming sympathy towards the IDF and characterization of the Arab combatants as evil, thoughtless, and cruel. There is a moment when Syrian Phalangists (these are Christian Arabs) “aid” the tank crew to safety,an even here, there is an immediate distrust thrust upon the Syrians as they are seemingly only after the crew’s Syrian prisoner so they can torture and kill him.

Still, Lebanon excels in portraying the hell of war beyond just violence. You can feel the psychological toll the experience takes on each soldier throughout the film, from the slow decline in their mental state and growth of facial hair to the dirty, oil-soaked environment of their dilapidated tank. It does get a bit monotonous after a while, but it is still a worthwhile experience.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Although this is a region-free release, the main video program and all the menus are encoded at 1080i/50, so unless you are in a Region B territory or have the appropriate playback equipment capable of handling this refresh rate, you will not be able to view this title.

The 1080i/50 encoding is a strong one from Metrodome. There is extended detail in the image, strong texture in skin and facial hairs and shadow detail is superb. Flesh tones are natural and no compression artifacts are apparent.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The only thing keeping the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix from being perfect is the sometimes harshness of the high frequencies. Otherwise, they have done an excellent job here of both conveying the claustrophobic sounds of the tank and the louder explosive sounds of the outside. The surround channels are well used, dialogue is clean, and low frequencies are resounding without being boomy.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

The audio commentary is the strongest supplements provided here. Everything else, including a brief essay from the director and a brief written history on the events leading up to the Lebanon war are interesting, but hardly a necessity.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Commentary with director Samuel Maoz
  • Background to the First Lebanon War — A history of the events leading up to the conflict, starting in 1922.
  • Views from the Front Line — The director writes a brief essay on his service during the Lebanon war.
  • Theatrical Trailer (1.78:1; 1080i/50)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

“Das Tank?” Maybe. Lebanon conveys the hell of war effectively, but certainly not flawlessly. If you can get past its one-sidedness and repetitive affectations, it’s a solid war film.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right” region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B003UU8M6G[/amazon-product]

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