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Punishment Park [Blu-ray] (1971)

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Details

  • Format: Import
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Studio: Imports
  • DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,537 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Like Medium Cool, this is a film from the anti-establishment era that used a combination of actors and non-actors participating in roughly scripted scenes and filmed in a mostly documentary fashion allowing a lot of convincing improvisation. Most of Punishment Park looks absolutely real and has an impact that no dramatized film could ever have. Forty years after it was made you could use it to fool some people into thinking it actually happened.

But does a grainy dirty 16mm film from the early 70's look any better in high definition? Fortunately this particular release has both the Blu-ray and DVD discs. To my eyes the Blu-ray with its relentless grain (even the dark police uniforms in many of the bright desert scenes grain out!) looks more like a projected film than the DVD, and that makes it look even more like true documentary of the era. This is especially effective in many scenes where the cameraman (actually a woman) is struggling to keep an actor (or non-actor) in focus yet the grain keeps hitting your eyes and keeping your attention. In the tribunal scenes the ugly grain somehow makes the tent seem even more claustrophobic. A few scenes do look slightly sharper with a little more detail but I can't say there are many of them.

Beware that there are some Blu-ray releases of Punishment Park that are B region (Europe) only. The disc I bought released by Eureka! ([...]) plays in all three regions. It claims the audio is a DTS-HD audio track but it's actually stereo PCM which of course is no different.
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