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Tracker [DVD]
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 10 July 2014
This is a solid and gripping tale set in the early 20th century after the 'Boer War' the setting 'New Zealand'
A 'Maori' 'Kereama' (Temuera Morrison) is wrongly accused of murder and is now on the run, a 100 guinea reward is posted on his head if returned alive, 25 if dead.
'Arjan'(Ray Winstone) a 'South African' 'Boer' a 'master-tracker' initially joins a small group in pursuit of the suspect.
'Argen' is on the trail whilst the remainder of the group in the early stages follow the wrong track, misreading the signs.
'Arjan' tracks 'Kereama' down, the capture becomes a cat and mouse affair as the 'Maori' keeps breaking free, and yes 'Arjan' keeps tracking him down.
This is a great watch with plenty of tension, the perfomances from 'Ray Winstone' and 'Temuera Morrison' are stunning, it's a film well worth ''time-out'' to watch.
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on 23 May 2011
Tracker is a good film, but not a great one. I would rate the film a 4, but the Blu-ray is disappointing.
The picture is not full HD, but 1080i 50hz, and is inconsistent throughout. The picture is mostly soft and in some scenes even looks out of focus. It almost looks like up-scaled Dvd quite often. I was really let down by the picture overall. If a Blu-ray is going to be anything other than full 1080p, then it should be advertised as much. If I'd known I wouldn't have purchased it.

On the plus side there's a Commentary with the Ray Winstone and the Director. A 17 minute or so making-of. A selection of the musical score running 25 minutes. The feature Audio is DTS HD Master Audio.

If you're not too bothered about the 1080i picture, then I'd recommend it, as it's a pretty decent film.
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on 6 December 2011
I am not going to add to any debate that this is a good or bad film. Simply by its subject matter, time period and lead actors I think it is a very fine film indeed. My review is to point out one of the most angst inducing details in my DVD viewing experience. Here we have a film that visually harkens back to the John Ford westerns of the 50's. Huge vistas and epic visual scope. In fact the director and cinematographer even state that this was their vision in the 'making of' featurette. So what do we get on our dvd release for all their creative intentions? That's right, a cropped 1.78:1 aspect ratio of a film that was shot 2.35:1 anamorphic! To add insult, all the shots in the featurette are 2.35:1 so we can see how wonderful the film should look, but instead we get 1/3 of the frame, left or right, cut off. But of course we don't get any black bars on the top and bottom of our screen, and that is SO important isn't it (sarcasm)

Now if the terms anamorphic and the numbers 2.35:1 mean nothing to you then my rant is unimportant to your viewing experience, but to anyone who appreciates, and most of all respects a film makers vision this is once again, like so many dvd releases these days, intolerable.

Just as well it is a very fine film.
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This very interesting film was a British/New Zealand joint production set in the majestic scenery of New Zealand, and if this film doesn't convince you that it is a great country to visit if you love the great outdoors, then nothing will. Ray Winstone plays Arajan Van Dieman a South African veteran of the Boer war who relocates to New Zealand following the death of his family at the hands of the British. I still remember when we were always the good guys! Unfortunately New Zealand is also in the hands of his old enemy. It is not long before he is helping the British to track a Maori seaman who has supposedly murdered a British soldier. Van Dieman is more motivated by the 100 sovereigns reward than any sense of moral duty. It soon becomes apparent that our man is not going to be so easy to catch. He knows the land and can lay false trails, which makes him elusive to track, and Van Dieman can most certainly track. The pursuit becomes a battle of wits, and the men find that they have more in common than they think.

The film can be viewed as another antipodean western. Ray Winstone had already starred in "The Proposition" which was a good example of that. He clearly enjoys his busmans holidays down under! The films battle of wits reminded me much of that between Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston in the western "Eagles Wing". It is certainly not far fetched to have a South African who can track, if he was taught by a bushman, as Winstone's character was in this film. The San bushman were the finest trackers who ever lived. If you are fortunate enough to come across a copy of Louis Liebenberg's definitive book on the subject "The Art of Tracking: The Origin of Science", you will see what I mean. Liebenberg was a white South African who learned to track from the bushmen of the Kalahari. Ray Winstone gives a credible performance as a Boer with a slightly dodgy Sath Afreecan accent, ya, although he does look a bit, ahem, portly shall we say to be chasing a very fit looking Maori around such rugged landscape. Temuera Morrison gives him somewhat wooden support, but at least looks the part of a self sufficient Maori. The film is at its best with the action scenes out in the beautiful wilds of New Zealand. The dialogue between Winstone and Morrison certainly lacks a bit of sparkle at times. I liked the fact that the background to both characters was explored, which is more than can be said of Peter Weir's recent epic survival story "The Way Ahead". There are a lot of pretty decent films being made down under these days, and this is another one off the production line. The recent coincidentally named "Van Dieman's Land" was another haunting tale of survival in the Tasmanian forests. I have heard that the Australian film "The Tracker" made in 2002 starring David Gulpilil, which is not to be confused with this film, is also a very good watch. Whilst not a classic, this a good solid film that is worth watching for the breathtaking scenery alone.
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on 18 June 2011
"Tracker" is a well-directed adventure that travels a fairly well-worn path - an innocent man being pursued by an experienced tracker who aims to claim a reward. The fact that the chase is played out against some breathtaking New Zealand scenery gives it a feeling of freshness. There follows a cat-and-mouse game between the two protagonists as they engage in a sort of one-upmanship where each tries to gain the upper hand. With each encounter they learn something about each other which creates a situation of mutual respect. The performances by Ray Winstone as the tracker ( replete with Boer accent) and Temeura Morrison as a Mauri native falsely accused of murder are excellent. The problem with Winstone's Boer accent is that he tends to intone his dialogue so softly that it's sometimes difficult to make out what he's saying. Much of this is due to the film's audio mix which tends to place the dialogue at a lower level than the sound effects - a problem that is not helped by the fact that the DVD does not contain any subtitles. The music score by David Burns is very attractive and supports the film beautifully.

While the script is not particularly brilliant,Ian Sharp's direction is solid and well-focused - the occasional fist fights are very well handled and the pace of the narrative is well-maintained. There are,however, one or two moments when the film flags badly. There is a terrific sequence where the Morrison character falls from a cliff top into a raging river some 200 feet below and is swept along at high speed by the rapids. The next moment his pursuer is down from the mountaintop and at the water's edge giving chase and catching up with his quarry. This is a very bad piece of editing. While the film has an interesting ending,it is handled in a very unconvincing manner. Listening to the very likeable audio commentary by Winstone and director Sharp we learn that there was some debate on how best to present the ending. I think they made the wrong choice. Having said that, there is still much to enjoy in this film. Theatrically it had a very limited release but it may well find its audience via this DVD and Blu-Ray release. Faults aside,dramatically and visually it is a real treat.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 3 July 2011
This film is set in 1903, Ray Winstone plays a Boer War veteran Arjan Van Diemen. The Boer War was the first time Colonial troops from New Zealand fought with the British. Part of that campaign included the burning of farms, a scorched earth policy and the herding of Boer families into the first `concentration camps'. Arjan has lost everything and like some of his former comrades, when the New Zealanders return home he went with them.

On arrival he is picked up by the authorities, as he was a notorious Boer guerrilla fighter. He is quickly released, and then a turn of events causes the British to commission him for help. That comes in the form of a Maori whaler, who after jumping ship gets caught in a compromising position with a lady of the night, and the drunken soldiers decide to teach `the savage' a lesson. In the ensuing fight one of them is killed, Kereama (Temuera Morrison) does a runner - as he knows he will be blamed.

Mr Winstone is then engaged to track him down. The film then takes us on a tour of the beautiful landscape of New Zealand, it is wonderful cinematography and the direction is superb from Ian Sharp. The plot is one of cat and mouse and the more that the two men discover about each other; the more they find they have in common. They trade passages from the scriptures in a psychological game to out do each other. This is not an action movie, but a drama/thriller according to the box, it is also a story of the human spirit. Ray Winstone does a really good job and this is despite being well outside his normal `comfort zone' of the cockney gangster type. His accent sounds pretty good too. There is some obvious sign posting to plot development, but that does not spoil things.

What I really like is the balanced approach that is taken to the historical setting, and not all the Brits are cardboard cut out caricatures - which is refreshing. Part funded by the UK Film Council, this is another example why it should maintain its' funding, a great little gem of a film, that I can only recommend.
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VINE VOICETOP 50 REVIEWERon 21 October 2011
First a brief summary of the plot, the beginning of the film we see Arajan (aka Ray Winstone), an Afrikaner and veteran of the Boer War who has just arrived in New Zealand. From the ships roster his name is recognised by British veteran of the Boer war Major Carlyle who wants to meet him. Arajan was a guerrilla fighter and master tracker. Next we meet Kereamea (Morrison) a M'ori seafarer, who through no fault of his own is forced into an altercation with some soldiers, during the fight one of soldier's accidently kills a colleague but blames it on Kereama.

Major Carlyle enlists and promises Arajan a bounty to capture Kereama who is accused of killing the soldier.
Arajan catches up with Kereamea, who protests his innocence, but repeatedly escapes and is recaptured. Arajan and Kereamea get to know each other and a bonding of sorts occurs they then begin to respect each other. Later there is a showdown with British troops, led by Major Carlyle, and the tale arrives at its interesting conclusion. The outline of the plot kept brief so as not give spoilers. This film is framed well with landscapes and wilderness that truly are breath taking, and a fair amount of effort is made to resemble the early 1900s. The viewer will need to pay attention to Ray Winston's characters back story as it is important primer for the main plot and theme. This understanding will help one to a much better understanding who his character and why he does what he does.

There are a small number of rather negative reviews about this film. While some aspects of the criticism levelled have some slight merit, this film is rather good. This is not Sexy Beast or harsh east end gangster flick. I would agree that Ray Winston's accent is slightly poor, although it's not that bad. This film is certainly worth seeing, and if you're worried that you will dislike like it then rent it at the very least.
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on 10 August 2011
I am a Ray Winstone fan but this effort is awful, I urge to ignore the glowing reviews this film is getting. Its plot is good but the delivery is weak, poor script, poor acting and characters that are one dimensional stereotypes. No tension, drama or soul, a decent twist in the plot is let down by a dull 90mins before the reveal.
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on 29 January 2013
I was frustrated by the lack of subtitles, particularly bearing in mind the strong regional accents. This is inexcusable in this day and age especially when they exist on a different release. This film is available on a US DVD with excellent subtitles and with a transfer not that inferior to this UK Blu. Go for the US DVD if you can play zone 1 DVDs and who cannot do that these days!
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on 6 August 2011
this is not a bad film but for mr winston it's just not good enough!!thought he should of stuck with his native accent for starters like all film actors should it just never sounds right to me and think if it's that important in a movie then they should get a actor who speaks the language.the script wasn't the best and think they just relied on mr winstons name to sell this.really dissappointed and another movie that people give 4 and 5 stars to? i can't see it myself!!!!!!!
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