Killing Lincoln appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though nothing great, the image was pleasing.
Sharpness was generally fine. Some shots could be a bit on the soft side, but those instances weren’t a substantial concern. Instead, most of the film showed reasonable delineation. I noticed no issues related to jagged edges, shimmering or edge haloes. No source defects marred the presentation, either.
One wouldn’t anticipate bold colors from a Civil War-era film, and Killing went with a pretty standard nearly sepia look. While I can’t say I was wild about the stylistic choices, I thought the Blu-ray represented them well. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows looked clear and distinctive. This was a reasonable representation of the source.
Similar thoughts greeted the docudrama’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. A fairly talky piece, the track usually focused on the front, but it managed to open up as necessary. Some more “action-oriented” moments used the five channels well, and the film’s score broadened to all the speakers on a frequent basis. None of these traits dazzled, but they created an appropriate soundscape for a flick like this.
Audio quality seemed solid. Dialogue was always natural and concise, and though the score tended to get a bit buried in the mix, the music seemed full and lively. Effects showed good clarity and accuracy. Again, this never became an impressive mix, but it was satisfactory.
A few extras fill out the package, and we open with an audio commentary from executive producer/screenwriter Erik Jendresen. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, historical background, cast and performances, sets and locations, and related notions.
While Jendresen occasionally touches on filmmaking areas, he usually concentrates on the facts behind the film’s tale. He does so in a compelling manner; though Jendresen never seems “scholarly”, he does appear to know his stuff. He conveys the details related to the movie in a concise manner and makes this a worthwhile discussion. (Someone should tell him the town is called “Charlottesville”, not “Charlottesburg”, however.)
An Interview with Author Bill O’Reilly runs five minutes, four seconds. In this, O’Reilly discusses why he wrote the book, facts that stand out the most for him, the film adaptation, and some general thoughts. This is little more than a promo piece, so it doesn’t tell us much of interest.
For a “making of” piece, we go to the 22-minute. 22-second Uncovering the Truth. It includes comments from Jendresen, executive producer Ridley Scott, director Adrian Moat, costume designer Amy Andrews Harrell, makeup designer Ashley Fetterman, property master Mark Hughes, production designer Richard Blankenship, stunt coordinator Kid Richmond, and actors Jesse Johnson, Billy Campbell, and Geraldine Hughes. We learn about the source book and its adaptation, the movie’s combination of documentary and acted-out material, research and realism, costumes, props and makeup, cast and performances, sets and locations, and historical recreations.
We learn a reasonable amount here, but the program feels somewhat self-congratulatory, as the participants often tell us how accurate they made the film. That’s good – and appreciated – but I could’ve done with less backpatting and more about the movie’s actual creation.
Four Promotional Features fill a total of 10 minutes, 26 seconds. We see “Becoming Booth” (2:39), “Becoming Lincoln” (2:00), “Playing Mary Todd” (1:51) and “Directing a New Lincoln Story” (2:16). Across these, we hear from Johnson, Campbell, Hughes, Blankenship and Moat. They talk about story but mostly discuss characters and performances. These clips lack much depth, but they give us a few good insights.
The disc opens with ads for Atlas Shrugged Part II, The Bible and The Oranges. Sneak Peeks includes promos for Hitchcock, Stoker, A Late Quartet, The Last Ride and Homeland Season One. A preview for Killing pops up in the “Promotional Features” area.
While not a bad look at historical areas, Killing Lincoln never quite turns into a winning drama. It delivers a competent piece and that’s about it. The Blu-ray brings us generally positive picture and audio along with supplements highlighted by a fairly informative commentary. Killing turns into a decent intro to its subject.