Witness 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 269, September/October 2023

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Arrow Video
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Peter Weir
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In "Witness," when a young Amish boy inadvertently witnesses a brutal murder while en route to Philadelphia with his recently widowed mother, Rachel (Kelly Gillis), Detective John Book (Harrison Ford) is assigned to the case. With the perpetrators desperate to silence the sole witness, Book and his two wards are forced to hide out in the heart of the Amish community. A passions between Book and Rachel ignite, the killers close in, culminating in a dramatic, life-and-death clash of cultures that will change the lives of those involved forever. (Gary Reber)

Special features include a new commentary by film historian Jarret Gahan, a conversation with Director Peter Weir (SD 07:17), a new video interview with Cinematographer John Seale, a new visual essay on the film's performances by film journalist Staci Layne Wilson, vintage 1985 interview with Harrison Ford (07:07), "Between Two Worlds" five-part archival documentary (SD 64:00), two vintage EPK featurettes (SD 09:23), the featurettes "The Eye Of The Witness" (SD 14:49) and "Show...Don't Tell" (SD 1:17), deleted scene from the network TV version of the film (SD 04;11), image gallery, theatrical trailer, 60-page booklet illustrated by Tommy Pocket featuring new writing on the film by Dennis Capicik, Martyn Conterio, John Harrison and Amanda Reyes, reversible sleeve packaging, six double-sided collector;s postcards and fold-out double-sided poster.

The 1.85:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 4K Ultra HD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a VIZIO Quantum X P85QX-JI UHD/HDR display, was photographed on 35 mm film stock using Panavision Panaflex cameras an sourced from a 4K Digital Intermediate. This is a wonderful picture with a very filmic appearance. Film grain is smooth and never objectionable. The color palette exhibits warm and rich hues that enhance the naturalness of the imagery. The color gamut is expressive of nuanced hues that enhance he realism. Earthy hues are realistic with the browns of the soil and the greens of the grasses and trees exhibited in the Amish countryside. Flesh tones are perfectly natural. HDR contrast appears well balanced with bright white levels, revealing shadows and deep blacks, such as the Amish black suits of the men and women dress. Resolution is excellent, especially during closeups. Facial features reveal skin pores, lines, beards and hair. Clothing fabrics are well defined. Structures and objects are realistically textured. This is a gorgeous picture with terrific cinematography that fans of this classic will praise. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack is derived from the original Dolby Stereo 2.0- sound elements. The surround elements are well constructed. Atmospherics are impressively realistic both in the Philadelphia urban scenes and in the Amish countryside. Sound effects are at times robust with deep bass enhancement. Maurice Jarre's orchestral score is complementary throughout with a wide stereo presence that extends to the surrounds. Dialogue is intelligible with good spatial integration. This is a really good soundtrack with excellent stereo dimensionality that effectively complements the storytelling across its distinctive settings. (Gary Reber)