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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > War > Mystery > WWII > Hart's War (Blu-ray)

Hart’s War (Blu-ray)

 

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

 

 

Sometimes a film comes along that you really like, think deserves to be a big hit, is not, then slowly gets rediscovered leading people to ask themselves “why have I not heard of this film before?” or “why was this not a big hit?”  Gregory Hoblit’s Hart’s War (2002) is such a winner and it is not only part of the War cycle we have had since the late 1990s, but it is one of the best Mystery/Thriller films since then to boot.

 

Bruce Willis, in one of his better performances of late, plays a U.S. Colonel stuck in a Nazi Prisoner Of War camp.  Instead of just giving up, he is plotting to do anything he can to either escape or help the war effort.  He becomes involved in an uneasy alliance with a captured Lieutenant (Colin Farrell in another underrated performance in another underrated War genre work like Tigerland) that becomes more complicated when there is a murder within the POW camp.

 

This is the kind of solid screenplay writing we do not see enough and though MGM had high hopes for the film, it did not work out at the time.  Rumors of conflict on the set may have caused later promotion problems, but whatever actually happened, it actually helps the intensity of this film instead of the opposite.  A supporting cast that also includes the underrated Cole Hauser and Terrence Howard only adds to the intensity and scope of the film.  Running 125 minutes, it is always involving and the screenplay by Billy Ray and Terry George has the right pace.  This winner is a perfect choice for an early Blu-ray release from MGM and is instantly one of the best titles to get if you have a machine, especially since it plays as well as it is made.

 

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital MPEG-2 @ 18 MBPS High Definition image is nicely detailed, with colors only slightly limited and the kind of cold, engrossing look the 35mm prints had.  Director Of Photography Alar Kivilo’s work here is underrated and to come up with an even slightly unique new look for any prisoner of war film at this point is impressive.  The DTS HD Master Audio Lossless 192kHz/24-bit 5.1 mix is also top rate, with great ambiance when the sound is not kicking and impressive surrounds, fidelity and character when it does.  Can’t wait to be able to decode this one all the way when the DTS HD chip arrives.  The only extra is the original theatrical trailer, but it is in High Definition.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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