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(Taken from official synopsis) Directed by Roland Joffé and brilliantly scripted by Bruce Robinson (Withnail and I), The Killing Fields is based on the true story of the relationship between Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston), a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times correspondent, and Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor), the Cambodian aide who remains behind following the evacuation of Cambodian citizens by the US army. Nominated for seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture and Best Director) THE KILLING FIELDS features an outstanding supporting cast including John Malkovich, Julian Sands and Spalding Gray. This 30th Anniversary edition features brand new extra content.

Video


After the worst looking Warner Bros. logo I've seen in quite some time opening the film (like VHS bad) and some rather grain filled opening credits, The Killing Fields begins to look pretty good. Set in mainly real world locations the image holds a natural quality with a lot of natural lighting and a fair bit of realistic colouring, using earthy tones such as browns, sandy yellows and oranges.

Darker scenes suffer from losing sharpness and black elements can often merge together somewhat blasting out the detail. Textures are generally good with elements such as wrinkles and stubble showing off and the depth to the image in and around the locations can really can look very good.

The image has a fair layer of grain which gives the Blu-ray an aged look by modern standards and there's the odd bit of dirt and damage that speckles around the screen from time to time but it's far from frequent enough or noticeable enough to deems it a real issue.

The Killing Fields is an extremely natural looking film, with good colour representation. The film is full of strong imagery and the Blu-ray upgrade does a lot to enhance it but it rarely shows off due to its restrained natural lighting and slightly softer than expected edges and inconstant quality of HD visuals. This is a good representation of the film's looks but for me, it was missing that extra bit of HD good looks to really show of the strengths of the remaster.

Audio


The audio track is well mixed with a fine balance of dialogue and score. The rich, score is full of sadness and its choirs and instruments live strongly in the centre and rear speakers.

The sound effects and general ambience of the busy, extras filled track, feels quite lively and layered but again its missing that extra bit of required power at times and feels quite dated when placed along a modern title. Other elements, such as general dialogue and sound effects are a little more restrained and small sounding and there does seem to be an underwhelming display of bass at times, giving some of the larger events such as explosions or louder dialogue a bit of a tinny sound but this is probably more to do with the film's original mastering rather than a disc limitations.

This lack of bass is largely down to the majority of the stronger elements of the track living very much in the centre speaker and never really branching out but the score is very much is the show off element of the track, exploding across the mix in ways the other elements of the film never quite manage to contend with.

Extras


The commentary track with director Roland Joffe is full of behind the scenes stories and more background to the situation depicted in the film.
 
The 'Interview with Lord David Puttnam' (48:18 HD) is great and the giant in the British Film Industry and producer of this film, is as easy to listen to as ever and provides so much detail regarding the making of the film and the struggles it took to make it. He talks of the style, the performances and the placement of the film in the  British Film Industry.

The 'Interview with Roland Joffe' (42:31 HD) is once again a detailed account of the making of the film and good addition to the already in depth commentary track.

The 'Interview with Bruce Robinson' (21:37 HD), who wrote the screenplay is a different view on the film and his adaptation of the story he took the elements from.

Lastly we have the film's trailer.

Overall


The Killing Fields is a powerful piece of British cinema. The subject is a tough one and the story is well told with a Mike Oldfield score that's devastating in its emotional drive. The disc provides a natural un-tampered with looking video presentation that celebrates the film's looks rather than tries to tweak them for a modern audience and that works for the most part. The audio is rich and strong and the lengthy extras add a good insight to the film and its history.

 Killing Fields, The
 Killing Fields, The
 Killing Fields, The
 Killing Fields, The
 Killing Fields, The
 Killing Fields, The


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