Homesman, The

Featured In Issue 196, April/May 2015

WSR Score5
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Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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Tommy Lee Jones
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The Homesman is set in 1854 on the harsh Nebraska frontier. Low-life drifter George Briggs (Jones) is rescued by a pious independent-minded woman named Mary Bee Cuddy (Swank). To pay back his debt, George reluctantly agrees to help Mary transport three women driven mad by the harsh frontier life across the treacherous land––where a kindly minister's wife (Streep) has offered them hospice. The unlikely pair soon realize just how daunting the journey will be as the group traverses the vast Nebraska Territories, marked by stark, bleak, psychological peril, and constant danger. The story was adapted from the Western Writers of America and Western Heritage Wrangler novel from Glendon Swarthout. (Gary Reber)

Special features include three featurettes: Origins (HD 21:25), Shooting The Film (HD 27:18), and Behind The Western (HD 11:45); upfront previews; and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 2.40:1 1080p AVC picture exhibits a visually stark, but beautifully panoramic photography captured both on film and digitally. The vast flat-land vistas contrast with the tight interiors of the harsh western open range landscape. The color palette is absolutely natural, with perfectly balanced hues rendering accurate fleshtones and earthy tones. Even during the campfire scene within a partial cave and in candle-lit interiors, fleshtones appear natural. Resolution is excellent, with fine facial features, hair, clothing, and object texture detailed throughout. The imagery is always sharp and pristine. Contrast is generally well balanced with deep blacks, such as the hat that Tommy Lee Jones wears, and shadow delineation is superb. This is an excellent, reference-quality picture that is absolutely captivating. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is nuanced throughout with excellent Foley elements and well-integrated dialogue. Atmospherics are often subtle and varied but are absolutely realistic and effectively enhance the sense of soundfield dimension. There is no real deep bass energy, but then the story does not support it. The orchestral music is a perfect complement and provides a sense of subtle surround envelopment. This soundtrack excels in subtle but absolutely intriguing sonics that really nail the sense of what life on the open range was like in the 19th century. (Gary Reber)