||DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
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
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
A "Bravo" profile is also offered, along with other featurettes. Unfortunately,
the director's cut, previously offered on dvd, isn't included here.