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Thin Ice Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 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, Spanish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R/Unrated
  • Run Time: 95 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 12, 2012
  • List Price: $29.98

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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:3/5]

Indie director Jill Sprecher who co-wrote here with her sister Karen, returned to the big screen for the first time since her 2001 outing Thirteen Conversations About One Thing. Thin Ice, however, has had a convoluted journey to the home video market. After making the rounds on the film festival circuit as The Convincer, the film was then completely re-cut with additional outtakes being added, scenes shuffled around, and a new score added as well. All of this, however, was done without the input of the Sprecher sisters.

Fortunately for us home video enthusiasts, the Blu-ray release from 20th Century Fox has both versions included so you can decide which version is better, the so-called “theatrical” version, or the “Director’s Cut.” In my opinion, the nod has to go to the original Sprecher version, but only by a slim margin.

The Convincer, as I will continue to call the film from here on, is at times a clever, dark comedy and thriller starring Greg Kinnear as smarmy insurance salesman Mickey Prohaska in Wisconsin who, through happenstance, meets well meaning fellow insurance salesman Bob Egan (David Harbour) at an insurance convention. Bob in turn alerts Mickey to a possible client, the elderly Gorvy Hauer (Alan Arkin), who lives alone in a house filled with bric-a-brac. One of the items in Mr. Hauer’s home, however, just happens to be a violin worth $30,000 that the old doltish man doesn’t know the true value of. Seeing an opportunity to make a quick buck, Mickey, who desperately needs the money due to his failing marriage to wife Jo Ann (Lea Thompson), decides to scam Gorvy out of his violin. The plan is working smoothly, until Mickey finds himself involved in an unexpected homicide with a dimwitted accomplice.

While The Convincer has its twists and quirky humor, there are no likable characters here to latch onto from the get go. Mickey is too despicable as a lead, played almost to a fault by Kinnear, making one wish for him to be caught or done-in within the first quarter of the film.

That aside, The Convincer still never rises above the level of being a poor imitation of Fargo. From the opening scenes of these callous midwestern, workaday characters whom we know are going to get caught up in bad situations, to the drab, cold, whiteness of the scenery, it plays like a cut-rate imitation of the Coen’s classic.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The Super 35 film source of Thin Ice comes through looking as expected for a film of such recent vintage in this AVC 1080p encodement from Fox. There is a very strong sense of detail in foregrounds extended well into the background of the image, textural information is strong, and contrast is exceptionally wide. Unfortunately there are a few spots where blacks crush a bit, but the overall detail isn’t harmed too much and most darker scenes still show a bit of nuance in the shadows.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The audio is a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack that provides clean and clear dialogue in the center channel a bit of stereo spread across the front and a low level of atmospherics in the surrounds. Dynamic range doesn’t vary much and low frequencies aren’t much of a factor, but the mix works for the material at hand.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

Oddly enough, the “deleted scenes” actually turn up in the Theatrical Cut of the film.

The supplements:

  • Behind the Scenes of Thin Ice (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:24:58)
  • Sundance Premiere Featurette (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:48)
  • Deleted Scenes (2.35:1; 1080p/24; 00:09:49)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Whether you go for the director’s cut or the theatrical version, there’s no escaping that Thin Ice, or The Convincer, whatever you want to call it, is somewhat uninspired and reductive. I have to say that Sprecher’s previous work surpassed this by a mile.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Thin Ice on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Download Thin Ice on iTunes

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B007RKFY0W[/amazon-product]

Purchase Thin Ice on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Download Thin Ice on iTunes

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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