SRP $34.99 1.85:1 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 BUENA VISTA
 

SLING BLADE is one of those rare, special films, deserving to be part of every filmlover's collection.  It's not the kind of film that one will generally watch over and over,(although this reviewer saw it three times in two weeks during its initial theatrical release), but it is one that one will want to turn on friends who've never seen it before, inevitably sitting down with them, watching and enjoying it again, in the process.
 
Billy Bob Thornton wrote, directed and stars in this masterpiece, reminding us of the magic that can be created in a truly "independent" film.  Starring as Karl, a mentally challenged man, locked up since his youth for having killed his mom and town-bully lover, with a "Sling Blade."  About to be released into the populace, Thornton allows the audience to gradually empathize with this character's bewilderment at the environment he's thrown into with no preparation.  Luckilly, the southern small town environment hasn't changed all that much, it appears.  Karl befriends a young boy and the boy's mom, and becomes a sort of father figure in a very moving, realistic manner. Unfortunately, the mother's abusive, alcoholic boyfriend(masterfully played by Dwight Yoakam) isn't keen on any attention being taken away from him and a growing conflict ensues, leading to a dramatic, completely believable conclusion.
 
There's not enough great things to say about "SLING BLADE." But, it also speaks volumes about the film's power to find that John Ritter actually gives a performance worthy of an Oscar and that serves to honor his talent more than any other work in his career.
 
BUENA VISTA has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 blu-ray.  Colors vary in their richness, although never really vibrant.  The green of the folliage and brown of the dusty southern rural town environment are what stand out the most. Detail is generally impressive and contrast is also quite good. Grain can be heavy at times, and the image seldom offers more depth than the previous collectors edition dvd. However, in scene-to-scene comparisons, the detail is more pronounced. There's only so much that could be enhanced or improved upon due to the film's original natural design, and it's as good as it could ever look on blu-ray, as presented here.
 
BUENA VISTA has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix.  Being a dialogue-driven film, there's not much use of surrounds. However, the fidelity offered on this lossy mix makes for notably better "subtle" effects, popping up occasionally. The film's score, restrained, but extremely effective is well served by this mix as well. Impressive without calling much attention to itself.
 
Fantastic extras are offered, including a can't miss audio commentary with Billy Bob Thornton. He's so honest, amiable and intelligent, aspiring filmmakers and general fans will enjoy his perspective and insight into the film.
 
An hour long bio about the actor and his career, is quite good and worth checking out.
 
A "Bravo" profile is also offered, along with other featurettes. Unfortunately, the director's cut, previously offered on dvd, isn't included here.