Sling Blade: Director’s Cut

Sling Blade: Director’s Cut (1996)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Robert Duvall, John Ritter, J. T. Walsh
Extras: Commentary Track, Documentary, Featurettes, Interviews and Conversations

Miramax Home Entertainment celebrates the tenth anniversary of ’Sling Blade’ on DVD, Billy Bob Thornton’s directorial debut based on the short film ’Some Folks call it a Sling Blade’, for which he won a 1996 Academy Award for ’Best Adapted Screenplay’.

’Sling Blade’ is the story of a simple man named Karl Childers, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who returns home twenty five years after being committed to the state mental institution for committing a brutal crime. Upon returning home and trying to adapt to a new life, Karl is befriended by a young boy and his mother and her abusive boyfriend that leads Karl back to the life that he thought he had left behind.

Miramax has re-released this film as a director’s cut, featuring an additional twenty two minutes of footage and replacing the previous non-anamorphic DVD edition. This new special edition DVD comes complete with a new anamorphic transfer and re-mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The transfer is good, but is at times a little soft looking. There are some artifacts present on the print used for the transfer, but overall are not too distracting. The color saturation seems well balanced and skin tones are natural looking. Blacks are not as deep and defined as they could be but there is good shadow detail present.

The soundtrack has been re-mixed into Dolby Digital 5.1 for this release and sounds quite balanced without sounding dated. Since this is more of a dialogue driven film, the sound mostly comes from the front three channels, and there is good use of the .1 channel for scenes that contain allot of emotion, especially toward the climax of the film.

This special edition release contains a vast amount of extras to satisfy virtually any fan of this film. Included is a commentary by writer/director/actor Billy Bob Thornton, various documentaries containing conversations the director and actors; Robert Duvall, Dwight Yoakam and Mickey Jones. Also included is a forty-four minute documentary titled ’Bravo Profiles: Billy Bob Thornton’, ’Mr. Thornton goes to Hollywood’, behind the scenes footage and ’Sling Blade Reviews’.

If you own the previous edition of ’Sling Blade’ on DVD, you might consider replacing it with this nicely packaged special edition that won’t disappoint even a casual fan of this film.