The Deserter (Blu-ray)

July 16, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Simon Murray (Paul Fox) is an idealistic young man with a somewhat troubled past, so he decides to enlist in the Foreign Legion. His father was a soldier, so Simon feels perhaps it is the road he should take as well. Once he enlists, he discovers that the basic training is more like sadistic, brutal torture. As he endures intense physical and mental abuse, Simon still remains positive and supportive to those around him. He strikes up a friendship with a French recruit named Pascal (Tom Hardy) and that bond helps distract him from the horrific training methods. As time passes, the recruits are transitioned into active duty, which means being in the field to suppress the Arab forces. Between violent shifts in the field, Simon is able to take leave and explore the people and locations in the area. He soon begins to appreciate and even admire some elements of Arabic culture, which only makes the return to battle even harder. When the battles lead to a boiling point between the sides and the soldiers find themselves in an intense situation, how will the stand off end?

This is kind of a low profile production, one that is seeing a wider release now that Tom Hardy has found fame. But was it worth dusting off The Deserter? Hardy has a substantial role here, but he is not the lead, that falls to Paul Fox. If you’re just after the Hardy performance, his screen time is ample and he gives a solid turn. This movie is not the action driven experience he is famous for however, as The Deserter is a more reserved kind of film. Fox is more than solid in the lead, though the writing does little to give him depth. A little more history on Simon and his motivations would have worked wonders. Even so, the story is passable and has some moments where it shines. I found the earlier scenes in the training phase to be quite good, as the character development is given good time to unfold. I still wouldn’t call The Deserter a great movie, but it does provide decent entertainment and for fans of Hardy, one of his earlier performances.

Video: How does it look?

The Deserter is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen. This transfer is sharp and clean, but the overall depth isn’t on the same level as the elite HD treatments. Even so, detail is strong in most scenes, just not razor sharp. The colors are warm and natural, while black levels look excellent. I saw no errors either, which is good news. So while not a new demo disc in terms of transfer, the movie looks terrific and fans should be pleased.

Audio: How does it sound?

A Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is offered, which sounds passable, but unremarkable. This is due to the source, as the movie just doesn’t have an aggressive sound design. Even in more kinetic scenes, the surrounds remain low key, so this movie is never going to be an explosive one. The music adds some depth however, while dialogue is clear and clean throughout. Not a memorable audio experience, but a competent one.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes the film’s trailer.

Disc Scores