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Red Riding Trilogy: Special Edition Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.o
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Region: A
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 2 (Blu-ray+DVD)
  • Studio: IFC Films
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 31, 2010
  • List Price: $34.98

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Red Riding Trilogy [2 Discs] -

Purchase Red Riding Trilogy on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film(s)
[Rating:4.5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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 Films

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Red Riding Trilogy was a series of made-for-television films based on David Peace’s novels taken from real crimes in the West Riding area of Yorkshire, England. Released to theatres in the United States as one epic, nearly five-hour drama, Red Riding’s three parts are loosely interconnected and can either stand alone or form one intense thriller.

Part one, 1974, shot in 16mm and directed by Julian Jarrold, follows a young crime (Andrew Garfield) reporter as he investigates a series of child murders and comes up against a corrupt police force, a violent real estate magnate (Sean Bean) and apathetic pears. Part two, 1980, finds a high-level police investigator (Paddy Considine) is brought in to take charge of the investigation of the Yorkshire Ripper. There, some familiar faces from the 1974 case show up, including corrupt officers, and a past affair with his co-worker puts his career and the case in jeopardy. Finally, in 1983, the disappearance of another little girl in Yorkshire brings the 1974 case back into focus, and a struggling small time solicitor (Mark Addy), investigating the case brings all three films together, uncovering the secrets, lies, and corruption running through all three films.

Red Riding, unlike many US crime thrillers, is not action packed and filled with violence, it is a slow building and intensely beautiful drama. It delves deeply into the darker side of the human psyche without pandering to voyeuristic urges. It’s five, truly intriguing hours that will draw you in completely.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

The picture quality of the three films is patchy at best. Perhaps some of that has to do with the differences in production and perhaps some of it can be blamed on squeezing five hours onto one disc. Who can be sure? All three films are given 1080p/24 AVC/MPEG-4 encodings. 1974, originally shot in 16mm, by far looks the softest and grainiest of the bunch, as to be expected given the limited resolution of the format. Colors are very washed out and detail just isn’t there. 1980 steps up to 35mm and looks the best of the three, though the color palette remains de-saturated, for consistency. It still manages to look a bit more vibrant with better blacks and sharper detail than 1974. 1983, shot on digital video, looks a bit odd. The color palette stays the same, but there are definite artifacts apparent, such as color banding.

Audio Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

Perhaps because they were saving space to optimize the five hours of video onto one disc, there is nothing more than Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0 available for the films. The 5.1 mixes are serviceable, with decent amounts of believable ambient effects in the surrounds and clean, if a bit too forward, dialogue in the center channel.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

The supplements are all offloaded onto a separate DVD and consist mainly of deleted scenes and TV Spots that won’t require re-watching.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • DVD:
    • 1974:
      • TV Spot
      • Julian Jarrold Interview
      • Deleted Scenes
    • 1980:
      • TV Spot
      • Making Of
      • Deleted Scenes
    • 1983:
      • TV Spot
      • Making Of
      • Deleted Scenes
    • Trilogy:
      • Theatrical Trailer
      • TV Spot
      • Behind the Scenes

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

The Red Riding Trilogy may be one of the best least known crime sagas ever made. This collection of films deserves a higher profile and this solid Blu-ray release can only server to further the cause of spreading the word about this riveting drama.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right”]B003NLE5KY[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Red Riding Trilogy [2 Discs] -

Purchase Red Riding Trilogy on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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