Far From The Madding Crowd (Blu-ray Review)

madding crowd coverIt was nice to revisit Far From The Madding Crowd, as it is one of my early favorites of the year. The film may seem like a traditional period drama, but it does well for the genre by working as a very watchable one. Thanks to strong performances, tight editing that appears to cut away a lot of the fat, Far From The Madding Crowd manages to do well for both Victorian literature enthusiasts and those looking for a solid drama. Now the film is on Blu-ray, with a solid technical presentation and more.




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Based on Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel, the film tells the story of Bathsheba Everdene, played by Carey Mulligan. Bathsheba is an indepdent woman with a desire to make her own choices. That said, there are three different suitors who all desire her. One is Gabriel Oak, the sheep farmer played by Matthias Schoenaerts. Then you have the wealthy bachelor, William Boldwood (Michael Sheen). Lastly, there is the reckless Sergeant Frank Troy played by Tom Sturridge. Each challenge Bathsheba in their own way, as she explores what her true desire just may be.

The film comes from the director of The Hunt, Thomas Vinterberg, who was honored with an Oscar nomination for that film. This film is actually the fourth attempt to adapt Hardy’s story and Vinterberg does a great job handling both the setting and romantic drama found in this period film, despite being a far cry different from his previous film. I would go as far to say that this is the best take yet on the story, surpassing the most famous adaptation starring Julie Christie.

The film, which was shot in Dorset, makes great use of the English countryside to build a rural society in the Victorian age and it feels quite authentic. Charlotte Bruus Christensen’s cinematography is absolutely gorgeous and aids the film tremendously.

Speaking of the actors, Mulligan is great in the lead role. She has the energy required, allowing the film to work well as far as servicing the female character in a positive manner. This reflects the novel very well, as we see a character that has both traits to praise and other aspects that show she is not perfect.

Equally good are her costars, who all share the right kind of chemistry with Mulligan. Schoenaerts, in particular, has the sort of stoic swagger that not only bodes well for him in this film, but shows how strong of an actor he is in general, as he appears in bigger and bigger films. Sheen is also very good in reeling back the sliminess seen in some of his characters and playing someone who is quite genuine for this film. Here he plays an honorable man, whose motive become clearer as you come to understand him.

The final act is the only area where the film slightly falters, as the various storylines intersect. It does manage to end on a strong note, but there is a bit of a rush in an effort to fit all the pieces into place. With that in mind, it does not take away from how effective everything was in building up to the end. The fine score from Craig Armstrong, the level of wit and the dramatic stakes all serve the film well.

Far from the Madding Crowd is a fine costume drama done right. There are many great examples out there, but this one never feels all that stuffy and appropriately handles the romantic plotting in the right ways.


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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: There is some gorgeous scenery featured throughout Far From The Madding Crowd and it all looks great, thanks to this stellar transfer. Given the period aesthetic, there is a great amount of detail to see in the production design and costuming, which is all represented quite well on this disc.

Depth: The great locations lead to many great shots that really show a depth of the land these characters find themselves interacting within.

Black Levels: Blacks are strong and consistent. There is a deepness that does proper justice, which is never betrayed in this transfer.

Color Reproduction: The colors do a fine job of showing off the natural nature of what we see in the time period. It helps that the more elaborate costumes really pop as well.

Flesh Tones: Character features look great, as we see the rugged nature of some of them and the fairly well-preserved nature of others.

Noise/Artifacts: None.



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Audio Format(s): DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The score is what stands out as feeling immersive enough to really help this lossless audio track shine. It’s a great track all around, as you really get a sense of the world around you, even in the film’s more subtle moments.

Low Frequency Extension: There are a few key sequences where the LFE channel gets a chance to shine.

Surround Sound Presentation: The mix presented here is quite solid. You get a sense of the world, once again, which is thanks to the proper balance of the score, dialogue, sound effects and other audio elements done proper justice.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone is loud and clear.



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There are a lot of brief featurettes, but I wish we could have had a more comprehensive look at a film like this. A commentary would have helped, but that was just not to be apparently.

Features Include:

  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 17:54) – I do like how this film cut a lot of the fat, which is reflected in all these scenes that could have easily been in the film, but aren’t. There is also an extended ending presented here, which is fine, but unnecessary.
  • Promotional Featurettes:
    • Bathsheba Everdene (HD, 3:17)
    • The Suitors (HD, 3:56)
    • Adapting Far from the Madding Crowd (HD, 4:32)
    • The Look of Far from the Madding Crowd (HD, 5:08)
    • Gabriel Oak (HD, 2:22)
    • William Boldwood (HD, 2:34)
    • Sergeant Troy (HD, 2:26)
    • The Locations of Far from the Madding Crowd (HD, 5:03)
    • Thomas Vinterberg (HD, 4:07)  
  • Gallery (HD, 2:30)
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Digital HD Copy of the Film


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There is a lot to like about Far From the Madding Crowd, which largely stems from how effective a period drama it is, without getting too steeped in the aspects that can make those films drag at times. This film is far from a lighthearted riot, but it is entertaining, which comes down to the strong performances. It helps that the Blu-ray presentation is very strong and the handful of extras are nice enough as well.

Order Your Copy Here:

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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