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The World Made Straight (Blu-ray Review)

World-Made-StraightAlchemy is proudly bringing the film, THE WORLD MADE STRAIGHT to DVD and Blu-Ray this coming Tuesday (February 17). The thriller is based on the 2006 novel of the same title by New York Times best-selling author Ron Rash. David Burris (Executive Producer of CBS’ “Survivor”) directs the talented cast that includes Noah Wyle (The Librarian franchaise, NBC’s “ER”, TNT’s “Falling Skies”), Jeremy Irvine (War Horse, The Railway Man, Now Is Good), Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Pay It Forward) and Minka Kelly (500 Days of Summer, Friday Night Lights, Lee Daniel’s The Butler).

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Film 

The World Made Straight is set in a rural Appalachian community where it has been haunted by the legacy of a Civil War massacre. Young and rebellious Travis Shelton (Jeremy Irvine) finds himself ensnared in the violence of the past and the subtle evils of the present.

Try as I might, but the more this movie progressed, I just couldn’t find myself caring too much at all.  Its nicely performed, shot and handled pretty competently, but something wasn’t working for me.  I found myself progressively more bored as I proceeded.  The characters weren’t very compelling to me.  This also felt like a retread of so many of those hillbilly dramas and coming of age stories, but one that didn’t have any quirky characters or interesting things to say.  It tries to bring in some Civil War history things to tie into the current events of the plot, but it feels this story might have been better serviced just perfecting one of those lines instead of working with two of them.

I’ll give Noah Wylie some compliments as he’s pretty good here.  Where we first meet the character is unlike the typical roles I’ve seen him in before. And he handles it with ease.  Once we get a little more backstory, it sort of becomes a more traditional role for him, but he does well to set it apart.  I do think the guy is better than his “relegated to TBS/TNT programming” typecasting he’s seemingly been given since his departure from ER.

Minka Kelly here plays Wylie’s drug addict girlfriend.  And, this may have been the type of film where she had a chance to show some real chops and maybe prove a bit.  But, unfortunately for her, the role is truly a thankless one that has no meat to it and is more eye candy and extremely basic.  No fault of Kelly’s, there’s just really nothing there but for her to be eye candy that you’re supposed to feel bad for and angered when she gets abused later on.

The World Made Straight was not one “made good” in my eyes.  Its a pretty long story (two hours) and the more it kept going the less I was caring.  I didn’t find anything engaging about this film or its story.  Its based off of a book, so I really hope that the novel reads better than this movie does watching.  Its not a crap production mind you, I just couldn’t nestle into the subject matter or characters at all, no matter the strength of performance or actor playing them.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail:  This is a solid picture.  Its a little bit soft and too smooth during times, but for what it is, it does the trick.  It won’t wow anyone, but detail is there.  Medium shots and beyond lack distinction from finer details, but close ups get the job done.

Depth:  A bit flat and too smooth.

Black Levels:  Blacks are a bit lighter and more to the look of a grey in some points.  Nothing too deep and rich here.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are a natural and a bit on the (intentionally) dingy side.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural.  Detail comes better in close up where you can make out stubble, wrinkles and blemishes.

Noise/Artifacts:  Pretty clean.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  This is a solid track that does the trick.  It was set to a lower volume than that which I normally have films ready to go at.  But, it balances effects, voice and score well.  The film has a nice outdoors feeling that I think is captured decently in this track.

Low Frequency Extension:  Not a whole lot of action here.  Doors shutting and engines rumbling get a hand from the sub woofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Ambiance from the rear speakers adds to a nice nature-esque sound.  The front speakers lightly do a good job of structuring the sounds as they appear onscreen.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Clear and clean.

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Extras 

Zilch

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Summary 

I don’t know what it is, but I just couldn’t find myself caring much about this movie at all.  It feels like a tired retread of the backwoods/redneck coming of age story that seems to be a popular indie trend nowadays.  This disc comes with decent video and audio to present itself with.  There are no extras, so nothing was here to perhaps change my perspective a bit.  No recommendation from me, and if you have to see it, rent it or wait for it to be on your streaming service.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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