A Perfect World (Blu-ray)

June 8, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I’ve always thought of Clint Eastwood’s A Perfect World as a “follow up” movie. Now bear with me, I’m about to explain. The stars of the film, Eastwood, Costner and Laura Dern had just come off three very successful movies. Costner had just had success with JFK and The Bodyguard, while Eastwood directed Unforgiven to Best Picture (and a Best Director Oscar for himself) and Laura Dern was in some little movie about dinosaurs. Call it intuition if you will, but it seems that Hollywood has a way of picking some actors to work in certain films at just the right time. Such is the case with this film and though it didn’t do as well as expected at the box office, it became an instant favorite for me. The pace is slow and methodical, though it certainly has some action sequences. Like Unforgiven, it too has a pursuer and the pursued. While Kevin Costner plays a rare “villain” we somehow end up rooting for him as he’s not as bad as everyone thinks he is.

Butch Haynes (Kevin Costner) has just escaped from prison, seeking shelter and some fresh food and clothes, he comes across a woman’s house. Taking her son hostage (T.J. Lowther), Butch and his cohort take off through the panhandle of West Texas. We immediately assume that Butch is a rough, hardened criminal. He is. But there’s a difference between Butch and his friend, Butch does what he does because he needs to do it to survive. His friend does it because he enjoys it. Soon enough, Texas Ranger Red Garnett (Clint Eastwood) is on the trail of Haynes and we learn that they have crossed paths before. Together with a Criminologist (Laura Dern), the chase begins. It’s a long-standing “rule” in Hollywood that you’re not supposed to work with children or animals…well one of the stars of the film is a child (in his debut, no less) and I felt he did a wonderful job. I initially felt sorry for him because he displays a very real innocence on the screen, but throughout the course of the film we see that he’s a lot stronger than originally thought.

The movie might not be for everyone, but for those who are fans of Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood, I couldn’t recommend it more. Coster plays his antagonist with a mood that I’ve not seen before. Of course this was some ten years ago and he hadn’t really tasted a lot of defeat then, the role might be a bit different now. While the film is more of a cat and mouse game (where Eastwood and Dern are constantly one step behind the men), the ultimate confrontation is something that stuck with me for a long time. I’ll go ahead and say it outright, this is one of the movies that even brought me to tears at the end. Naturally I won’t say how so, but yes it’s that good.

Video: How does it look?

This is about as bare bones as a movie can get, so it’d better look good, right? Well, it does. A Perfect World benefits from Blu-ray and has a bit more texture in some scenes. There are several washed out scenes in the Texas landscape that appear to have a bit more detail to them. Costner didn’t have quite the complexion he does now, so with that being said the detail in facial expressions and features is impressive and we get a bit more detail in Eastwood’s face (at the time a mere 63). The 2.40:1 AVC HD image looks cleaned up throughout and viewers won’t be disappointed.

Audio: How does it sound?

We get re-vamped DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack that sounds quite good, actually. Dialogue is the main focus here with Eastwood’s growling voice taking front and center and Costner’s pseudo-Southern accent ringing out of the center channel. The surrounds are surprisingly robust, with bird chirps, wind and some other effects that add some depth to the mix. Gunshots sound good and I remember being impressed at how clear and sharp the glass breaking sounded. An unexpected surprise in the audio departmen

Supplements: What are the extras?

We lose the cast bios from the standard DVD release and only have the original theatrical trailer.

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