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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Slavery > Historical > Birth Of A Nation (2016/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

Birth Of A Nation (2016/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

Picture: A-/B+ Sound: A-/B+ Extras: B Film: C

The directorial debut feature from actor/writer Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation (2016) is a violent look at slavery in the 1800s with a beautifully shot cinematic look with a storyline that is surprisingly close to many genre films about a slave uprising done too often in recent years, revolving on the underdog facing off against an alleged 'master race' (or in this case the slaveowners, but oppressors who always create a mythos to back such claims in all cases) and ultimately drawing a line in the sand showing equality. Of course, Birth of a Nation is a much more realistic and gritty film (and is based on true events, though the accuracy of the film has been HEAVILY debated), but one has to wonder if this was made to teach a historical lesson, win Academy Awards, possibly sermonize the audience at the expense of the actual history or to showcase the brutality and inhumane sign of the times?

The film sports a strong cast in Armie Hammer, Jackie Earle Haley, Nate Parker, Aja Naomi King, Mark Boone Junior, Gabrielle Union and Penelope Ann Miller.

Set against the antebellum South, Nat Turner (Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Hammer), accepts an offer to use Nat's preaching to subdue unruly slaves. Sick of being mistreated, abused and even tortured in seeing his fellow men, women and children punished, Nat eventually decides to lead a rebellion against those who are enslaving them. Will it succeed? What will be the results and fallout?

The 4K Ultra HD disc features a stunning 4K transfer (2160p) with a 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio that has vibrant colors and impeccable detail that shows the potential of both the Arri Alexa XT and the Red Epic Dragon - both of which lensed the film and seem to be a popular choice for filmmakers shooting digital. (Ron Howard's Inferno was shot with these same cameras, reviewed elsewhere on this site in 4K as well, so its a popular model).

The audio mix is a nice sounding DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 track, which sounds fine but would have been better had it been a 7.1 or 11.1 mix, but this is a lower-budget drama, so there is only so much to expect. The Blu-ray disc is also included that showcases the film in 1080p high definition the same audio tracks that isn't as impressive as 4K but still up to standard.

A digital UV copy is also included.

Special Features...

Rise Up: The Legacy of Nat Turner documentary

Feature-length audio commentary by Director Nate Parker

Deleted Scenes with Optional Director Commentary (also available in 4K Blu-ray)

The Birth of a Nation: The Making of a Movement

#AmeriCAN (Short Film) with Optional Director Commentary

"Free God" Spoken Word

Celebration of Independent Voices - Nate Parker

Shooting Script


While the filmmaking is at times interesting, Birth of a Nation isn't much more than another violent look at an ugly time in history we should never forget.

- James Lockhart



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