Zookeeper’s Wife, The

Featured In Issue 218, July/August 2017

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Thematic elements, disturbing images, violence, brief sexuality, nudity and smoking.
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Niki Caro
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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Based on a true story, The Zookeeper's Wife is set in 1939 Poland during World War II. Working wife and mother Antonina Zabinski (Chastain) became a hero to hundreds. Antonina and her husband Jan (Heldenbergh) care for animals at the Warsaw Zoo and have raised a family in an idyllic existence. Their world is overturned when the country is invaded by the Germans, and they are forced to report to the Reich's newly appointed zoologist (Brühl). To fight back on their own terms, the Zabinskis risk everything by covertly working with the Resistance and using the Zoo's hidden passages to safeguard human life. (Gary Reber)

Special features include six deleted scenes (HD 03:57), a making-of featurette (HD 07:06), The Zabinski Family featurette (HD 03:57), upfront previews, and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 2.40:1 1080p AVC picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed at 2.8K using the Arri Alexa M camera system in Hawk Scope and upscaled to 2160p with a digital intermediate 4K master format. The imagery is stylized with a soft focus overall. Thus, resolution is not as revealing of really fine detail, even in close-ups. The color palette is warm and rich in hue, with strong, solid colors exhibited in interior scenes. The Nazi red flags are very rich in hue. Exterior scenes are naturally rendered. Fleshtones are generally rendered naturally throughout. Contrast is well balanced with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Interior production design and lighting is engaging. Overall, this is a nice-looking picture but not the stellar look the material suggests, as resolution is inconsistent. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is generally rather quiet, with excellent nuanced Foley sound effects and low-level atmospherics. Occasionally, the soundtrack energizes with the Nazi flyover of the Zoo and its bombing, as well as other segments of Nazi truck movement, Gunfire sounds perfectly natural as the Nazis randomly kill the Zoo's animals. Also in scenes of the Nazis clearing out the Jewish ghetto, the mayhem energizes the soundfield and the men, women, and children enter the trains. During those segments the surrounds are energized. Also bass extension and energy enhance these more dramatic scenes. The orchestral/piano score occupies a wide and deep soundstage that extends to the surrounds. Dialogue is often a whisper, yet generally intelligible, with good spatial integration. (Gary Reber)