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The Numbers Station Blu-ray Review

numbers-station-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 119 Mins.
  • Studio: RLJ Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 28, 2013
  • List Price: $29.97

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(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:3.5/5]

 Numbers-Station-BD_01

This indie action thriller from director Kasper Barfoed is a competent if not entirely original concept that effectively evokes a nearly claustrophobic sense of suspense, but never really sells the mystery it’s trying to push at the core of its plot.

John Cusack (Grosse Point Blank; High Fidelity) stars – with hair so black it looks like shoe polish was used to color it – as former black ops agent, Emerson, reassigned to “babysit” a civilian at one of the numerous secret short wave broadcast stations used to send encrypted messages to operatives around the world. He and his civilian partner, the cryptologist Katherine (Malin Akerman), part of a team of rotating broadcasters, are soon trapped fighting for survival in the heavily fortified bunker as a mysterious group of men are trying to break in – having already killed the other team – in order to broadcast an unauthorized set of numbers.

Like the best of the closed-in thrillers, such as The Hunt for Red October or The Petrified Forest, The Numbers Station makes the best of its confined space, and Barfoed does well to engage the audience with what is a rather well filmed and sleek looking film on a relatively small independent budget.

The strongest element of The Numbers Station, however, is the performance from John Cusack who is playing a government hit man at the end of his rope – washed up, tired of killing, a recovering alcoholic — he’s like the character Cusack played in Grosse Point Blank many years later, well after the thrill has worn off, and the killing has become too much to bear. His performance alone, and his interaction with Malin Ackerman, is enough to keep us wanting to watch what happens next.

Still, the central mystery of the film, as we soon learn, is who and how did these criminals gain so much access and knowledge about this covert station and what are their plans. This plot falters pretty early on, becoming a bit cliché and obvious, but it doesn’t hinder the tension of the other main them concerning whether or not Emerson and Katherine can both make it out of this tight situation alive. That, Cusack, and the production values make this little thriller worthy of sitting through.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Numbers-Station-BD_02

Shot on the Arri Alexa in high definition, The Numbers Station arrives on Blu-ray in a competent if somewhat flawed AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from RLJ Entertainment. Close-ups have strong detail and blacks have great depth, but the shadowy imagery of this film tends to get quite murky and there is certainly a lot of video noise that can be spotted, as well as other digital issues such as some mild banding in places.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Numbers-Station-BD_03

An average English  DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is supplied that has much of its high frequencies rolled off, apparently, and a big low end. The result is something that sounds rather boomy, with gunshots that thump, dialogue that, though clear and intelligible, sounds a little veiled, and ambience that is dull.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0.5/5]

Numbers-Station-BD_04

A run-of-the-mill Making of with brief interview segments and some production footage is all that’s included here.

  • The Making of The Numbers Station (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:14:26)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Numbers-Station-BD_05

John Cusack and the competent direction of Kasper Barfoed help propel this small action-thriller, making it a strong contender for weekend rental material. It may not go toe-to-toe with the greatest thrillers out there, but you won’t be bored at all with this one.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase The Numbers Station on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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[amazon-product]B00BNH9O38[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Numbers Station on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

 

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