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The Sunset Limited Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Run Time: 282 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: HBO Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 7, 2012
  • List Price: $24.99

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BestBuy.com:
Sunset Limited - Dubbed Subtitle AC3 Dolby

Purchase The Sunset Limited on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

Tired of pointless big budget Hollywood productions that “wow” you with “awesome” special effects and 3D, but offer little else once the sheen of technology wears off? Well then look no farther than this two-man play from Cormac McCarthy, The Sunset Limited, brought to HBO as a film starring Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones. Directed by Jones and adapted by McCarthy himself, HBO’s The Sunset Limited retains its stage intimacy and stark setting.

In a dilapidated apartment, we find a black ex-con (Samuel L. Jackson) and a white college professor (Tommy Lee Jones) in the throes of a heated philosophical debate between belief and atheism, nihilism and benevolence. “Black” having just saved “White” from taking his own life by jumping in front of a train on the subway, the titular, “Sunset Limited,” is now set on convincing him there is more to life and that he must believe in something, but “White” is ardent that there is no God, no such thing as happiness, and no reason to keep on living.

It’s a powerful drama wholly reliant on its characters and the dialogue, which McCarthy has crafted brilliantly and both actors pull off with miraculous effect. From the opening moment, the rhythms of the speech patterns and the chosen wardrobes tell you who these people are and which side they are on. Simple props and sound effects heighten the tension of the debate that careens toward an ending that will linger in your thoughts well after you’ve finished watching Sunset.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Sunset Limited was shot using Sony’s high end, cinematographic high definition F35 camera. It looks very good in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement on a BD-25 disc from HBO Home Entertainment. Colors are rich, textures are three-dimensional, there is good shadow detail and very little video noise apparent.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

One wouldn’t expect much in the audio department from a film like this, but, despite being so dialogue-driven, the sound designers have put forth a good effort in crafting a mix that remains interesting. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is filled with mostly atmospheric sounds of a rainstorm, thunder crashing, sirens wailing in the distance, a car horn beeping, and so forth. It is very effective as a realistic and never distracting backdrop to the intense, clean, and full dialogue of the two actors placed solidly in the center channel.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

A rather interesting audio commentary and brief “making of” featurette are the two sole extras on this thinly packed release, but they are worth going through.

The supplements:

  • Audio Commentary with executive producer/director Tommy Lee Jones, writer Cormac McCarthy, and Samuel L. Jackson
  • The Making of Sunset Limited (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:38)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

In a world of cheap thrills, “reality” shows, and big budget box office hits with hardly any story, it’s heartening to see that there are still those out there fighting the good the fight, putting out films and plays that mean something, that make you think. Tommy Lee Jones does a splendid job directing this two-man play and kudos to Cormac McCarthy whose writing is a paragon of storytelling and a workshop for playwrights and screenwriters looking to craft believable dialogue. Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B0041KKZH8[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Sunset Limited - Dubbed Subtitle AC3 Dolby

Purchase The Sunset Limited on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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