High Crimes

High Crimes (2002)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Tom Bower, Jim Caviezel
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes, Theatrical Trailer

While it had some momentum when it hit theaters in 2002, director Carl Franklin's "High Crimes" somehow never managed to really take the limelight. Maybe it is the somewhat-taboo subject matter, I am not sure, but arriving now on Blu-Ray Disc, "High Crimes" is a film I decided to give a check up to see how it compares to the previously released DVD version.

Out of the blue, Claire Kubik's (Ashley Judd) world falls apart as her husband (Jim Caviezel) is arrested for killing countless innocent people during a military operation many years back. A successful lawyer herself, she is determined to represent him, but quickly learns that the military deals with legal matters in their own ways. Civilians are not only unwelcome, they are, in fact, treated like an enemy with a viciousness that is surprising to the young woman. Therefore, she hires ex-military lawyer Charlie Grimes (Morgan Freeman) to help her defend her husband. As they explore the case, they discover that they may have hit upon a big government cover-up, in which her husband is supposed to serve as the scapegoat to take the fall.

Featuring a 1080p high definition transfer, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment delivers 'High Crimes' in its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio on this release. As expected from such a relatively new movie, the transfer is sparkling clean without blemishes or defects of any kind, making sure it looks the best it could. The level of detail in the presentation is impressive, rendering an image that is incredibly sharp and holds details that were previously lost. PArticularly during night time scenes, the transfer shines by creating an image that is bold and deep. The color reproduction is strong and nicely restores the various color schemes used throughout the film for atmosphere. Black levels are meticulous, creating deep blacks and shadows that never lose definition, yet are impenetrable whenever desired.

A DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio track accompanies the film, along with a French Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Spanish Dolby surround track. The multichannel mix is very active and makes good use of the surround channels. Though there are few moments in this film during which discrete surround sounds could be put to use very aggressively, the movie mostly relies on the surround channels to enhance the ambiance of the images we see on the screen. Dialogues are nicely integrated and always understandable and are never drowned out by the music of sound effects.

'High Crimes' contains a commentary track featuring director Carl Franklin in which he talks about his ambitions, the production and his cast in quite some length. The track is very informative and manages to relay a good amount of specifics about the making of the movie.

Culled from the DVD version are also 6 featurettes that cover many of the aspects touched upon in the movie, such as beating a polygraph, the differences between Civilian Law and Military Law among others. They are quite informative and make a great addition to the disc.

The release is rounded out by the movie's theatrical trailer.

'High Crimes' is not a bad film. It's not a great one either. It is an entertaining thriller that manages to create suspense despite the fact that it is very formulaic and offers very little new or surprising. Still Judd's and Freeman's performances help keep the movie grounded and the direction help move the film along at a brisk pace. This high definition release gives the film a new sparkle and definitely improves upon the previous DVD version by allowing the image to come to live more vividly.