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Blu-ray: LIFE, ABOVE ALL (2011)

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Read my review of LIFE, ABOVE ALL

This 1080p MPEG-4 AVC transfer of Oliver Schmitz's South African film is rich with detail. The color palette glows with earthly tones from the golden brown dirt streets to clay buildings of the towns. Black levels are solid. African skin tones are so often either too shadowed or blown out, but here they come through beautifully natural. The clarity of the image allows for details to pop whether it be the contours of the actors' faces or the fabrics of the clothing. The picture is so clear that one gets the sense of added depth in the frame. As for digital anomalies, they are nonexistent.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack matches the picture in quality. Subtlety ambiance marks the entire film. Whether it's simple touches like the buzzing of a fluorescent light or fuller crowd scenes, the mix doesn't slip. Directionality is spot on trucks or even people move across the soundscape. The balance between dialogue, sound effects and score is also wonderfully handled. The LFE track isn't bombastic, but it isn't forgotten either.

Unfortunately the disc features only one real extra. "The Making of Life, Above All" is a good 14-minute behind the scenes doc that shows how the filmmakers approached translating the book CHANDRA'S SECRETS to the screen. Interestingly the Northern Sotho dialogue was used because the filmmakers wanted to use the natural dialect of the community they were filming in. If they would have found a Zulu community then the dialogue would have been in Zulu. This helped in getting more natural performance from their young inexperienced cast.

Rick DeMott's picture

Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
Creator of Rick's Flicks Picks