Blu-ray Review: Hell And Back Again [M15] & DVD Review: Trishna [MA15]

HellandBackAgain-BluDir: Danfung Dennis Director:
Featuring: Nathan Harris, Ashley Harris

The Film: Last year I was very impressed by war documentary Armadillo, and generally I do find documentaries on the subject a tough watch. They aren’t something I can watch often, yet I was very interested in seeing Hell And Back Again. Like the also recently released Undefeated it was nominated this year for the Best Documentary Oscar. The nomination got my attention and I figured there was something here. With its release on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia, I got the chance to sit down and watch it and I am glad I made that decision. This is quite the film and worthy of that Oscar nomination.

The film focuses on Sgt Nathan Harris, a wounded soldier who returns home. It is tough for him to come back home, which we experience with him. The film shows us his time during his last tour, and we see a very confident and strong person, he believes in what he is doing and he wants to do what is right. That is what I got from him, being away in Afghanistan really gives him a sense of purpose and things are very different once he is back. He needs to rehab his injury, and the entire process is quite emotional.

Hell And Back Again is quite the ride, we are there with Harris through so much and we experience what he does. It is an honest and raw film, one that focuses on this individual and gives us the insight into him. We hear from him, find out why he joined originally and how much he has changed and grown. The footage we see is amazing, it is shot so beautifully and war shouldn’t be. Danfung Dennis put a lot of effort into his equipment to make this film and it does show. It is a film that will make viewers feel different things, all the while it is incredible to see and experience. The ending was hard hitting, and I can safely say that both Nathan and Ashley were quite brave to allow their lives to be shown like this.

Reviewers Note: This review is much shorter than my usual ones; the reason being is that I am dealing with an injury and chronic migraines. Sorry for the mini-review and I do hope I can go back to full-length ones in the near future.

The Australian DVD 
Audio/Video: The video is presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen 1080p HD. Audio is presented with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.

This film looks stunning on blu-ray, so clear and sharp. This really is a much more ‘in your face’ experience in HD. The sound is incredible, I could hear every little sound clearly.

* Audio Commentary with director Danfung Dennis, Editor Fiona Otway and Sergeant Nathan and Ashley Harris
* Technical Gear Demo
* Willie Nelson’s ‘Hell And Back’
* Did you Kill Anyone?
* Invisible Wounds
* Collateral Damage
* Theatrical Trailer

There is a very strong showing of extra’s here, which immediately impressed me as after watching the film I did want more. The Technical Gear Demo is great, I found it interesting to hear what the director had to say and how he went about filming (and recording audio) for the film. Willie Nelson’s song is nice, and the other extra’s are definitely interesting and I found the discussion part very eye opening. The commentary is the highlight, and it is well worth listening to and I think it makes the film a much fuller experience.

Overall Rating



Trishna-DVD1Dir: Michael Winterbottom
Starring: Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed

The Film: I like Michael Winterbottom, he really is a diverse director and I am always open to checking his films out. In fact the two films he made before this one The Trip and The Killer Inside Me are films I love for many different reasons. I have been waiting to see this film, I unfortunately missed it during its theatrical run and I was excited for it’s DVD release. Was Winterbottom on a roll? Sadly, at least for me, no.

Trishna was not an easy film for me to get through, I could not engage with the film. I didn’t connect with the story or characters, it did not spark an interest and it took me several watches to actually finish it. I have not read the source material and I am not familiar with it. I know the location and time period were changed, so I am not sure how that could have affected things. The location in this film looks stunning, because it was shot with passion and in turn it just looks so great. It is vibrant and it shows the culture and these were things I did like.

I haven’t really gone into the story, because I don’t feel I really need to. It is a tragic one, a relationship between two people Trishna (Freida Pinto) and Jay (Riz Ahmed). Both actors do a great job, they are so talented and they did give it their all. Winterbottom has had this project for years, and for me it just didn’t work entirely. The attempt was there, but it does fall short – perhaps if it actually grabbed me I may have liked it more. But things often bored me and I just didn’t have any investment to really care. While it was not a film for me, it could very well grab others so if it feels like your thing, check it out.

Reviewers Note: This review is much shorter than my usual ones; the reason being is that I am dealing with an injury and chronic migraines. Sorry for the mini-review and I do hope I can go back to full-length ones in the near future.

The Australian DVD
Audio/Video: The video is presented in 2:35.1 anamorphic widescreen. Audio is presented with Dolby Digital Audio 5.1. with English and Hindi languages, subtitles are in English.

I thought this was a lovely looking DVD, the video was vibrant and clear and I was impressed by that. The audio was fairly good, I have no complaints.

* Interview with Michael Winterbottom
* Interview with Riz Ahmed
* Deleted scenes
* Mumbai Montage
* Theatrical Trailer

The interviews are good, well worth checking out – whether you liked the film or not. Personally the deleted scenes did nothing for me, but I do always like to see what didn’t make the cut. The Mumbai Montage was a nice addition too, I would have liked to have seen a commentary or something added.

Overall Rating


Thanks to Ben from MadMan for his support.


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