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A Slow-Paced Crime Drama, Based on Real Events, Which Concentrates on Character and Police Investigations - Very Good on Blu-ray
on 15 November 2015
I bought this film on Blu-ray mainly due to it going cheap, as I'd heard some sufficiently positive remarks about it to take the risk and as it includes the usually reliable presence of Nicolas Cage and John Cusack in lead roles.
If you need to learn a bit about the 'story' (more on that in the next paragraph), the Amazon synopsis does a good job without any real spoilers.
Of particular importance, the only thing that I would mention (and which I didn't realise beforehand) is that the featured criminal, several of the victims and the occurrences portrayed are either real or at least based on factual events; this makes the overall effect of watching this 'story' MUCH more significant and I wish I had realised that fact before.
*** It does. for me, also make the way this film is marketed a little distasteful (eg references to the crime thriller 'Seven') and, with hindsight, I was definitely unhappy with the style of musical accompaniment used at the end credits, ESPECIALLY as it includes a series of photos of some of the victims in happier times - I think both these aspects are totally inappropriate for the grim (essentially true) subject matter, what on earth were the producers/marketers thinking (or not probably) ???
On Blu-ray everything looks and sounds as good as you would expect of a modern release, but since it also does not rely on special-effects etc, and as the settings are predominantly in buildings (with occasional scenes in expansive natural settings) AND the soundtrack is essentially 'just' dialogue I don't necessarily think that it is essential to watch it in HD.
Leaving the factual element and those inappropriate aspects of the production/marketing aside, like any film which dramatises the goings-on of a serial killer, and the progress of the police piecing-together their discoveries and trying to solve cases of murder, there is obviously no humour and a lot is rather grim.
As a strong compliment, I think the structure of this film shares a lot of similarities to the (earlier) excellent Fincher film 'Zodiac', especially as that film also had a foundation in fact; both concentrate more on the police activities, despite us knowing in 'The Frozen Ground' the identity of the killer - and that was the right thing to do I think.
So, the telling of events is well-executed and the performance of all the cast is similar accomplished; this leaves me a little confused when I see that many critics disliked the film, although various 'viewer' outlets show more favourable responses, including the reviews on this website of course !
The picture is sharp/bright and flawless and the sound clear albeit rather inactive, BUT due to the predominantly dramatic content I would have thought that the DVD would offer perfectly acceptable viewing quality...
The Blu-ray includes just a 20min featurette which I doubt I'll ever watch, BUT despite that it's still worth pointing out that the US (Region A locked unfortunately) release adds a UV copy, about 90mins of additional featurette-type material AND a writer/director audio commentary - why do we miss out ?
I've attached a photo of the back of the disc box.
So, whilst not in the same league as the similar'ish 'Zodiac' I'll certainly watch this film again at some point due to the notable actor performances, rather than any mystery and tension since they are quite lacking (partly because the killer is identified early on, but 'The Silence of the Lambs' proves that doesn't have to be a hindrance). Yes, like 'Zodiac', this film is also very slow-paced but whilst 'The Frozen Ground' does have those additional shortcomings it is still a very watchable drama which looks and sounds good on Blu-ray.