Movie Review: Snow Falling on Cedars (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray

Snow Falling on Cedars is based on the novel of the same name by David Guterson. The movie was directed by Scott Hicks from a screenplay he co-wrote with Ron Bass and stars Ethan Hawke, James Cromwell, Richard Jenkins, Youki Kudoh, James Rebhorn, Sam Shepard, Rick Yune and Max von Sydow. The music is composed by James Newton Howard.

A murder trial has upset the quiet community of San Piedro, and now this tranquil village has become the center of controversy. For Ishmael Chambers, a local reporter, the trial strikes a deep emotional chord when he finds his ex-lover is linked to the case. As he investigates the killing, he uncovers some startling clues that lead him to a shocking discovery.

The story for Snow Falling on Cedars centers around a murder mystery where Kabuo Miyamoto (Rick Yune), a young Japanese-American man has been accused of murdering a fisherman because of a feud over some land. His family purchased the land, but when the man they bought it from dies, his racist widow decides to sell it to a white fisherman. You see where I’m going with this? One by one, some of the locals take the stand to either defend the young Japanese man or place even more blame on him.

What happens is, when Ishmael Chambers (Ethan Hawke), a young man who runs the small town newspaper takes it upon himself to do the right thing and do his own investigating he’s able to prove the man’s innocence and show how the fisherman actually died. The thing about this young newspaper man is that he has to battle his own prejudice and jealousy to lend a helping hand. Once upon a time he was close to the accused man’s wife, Hatsue Miyamoto (Youki Kudoh), and it takes a lot for him to rise up and help prove Kabuo’s innocence.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/0-card. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. The Blu-ray disc features its own individual artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. Snow Falling on Cedars has been given a 4K transfer and restoration supervised by cinematographer Robert Richardson. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition upgrade was crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Snow Falling on Cedars was actually a first time watch for me and I’m not sure why I’ve never took the time to check this one out over the years because it’s a really good movie. I’ll confess that it’s not the kind of movie that appealed to me when it first released twenty years ago but I’m always open to checking out just about anything sooner or later. The interesting thing about Snow Falling on Cedars is that it’s a mixture of genres because it’s a murder mystery that also happens to be a war time drama but at the center of it all is a touching love story. The story deals with sensitive topics like prejudice, racial profiling and discrimination and I thought Scott Hicks captured everything he needed to make this movie an entertaining watch with a great cast to cap it all off. Snow Falling on Cedars is the latest modern classic to join the Shout! Select lineup and will be available on a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray on November 5th.

Distributor: Shout! Factory

Run Time: 128 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.39:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include new interviews with some of the crew, a film restoration featurette, audio commentary, location spotlight, deleted scenes and theatrical trailer.

  • NEW “Accident Rules” – A Look Back At The Film Including Brand-new Interviews With Director/Co-Writer Scott Hicks, Novelist David Guterson, Director Of Photography Robert Richardson, And Composer James Newton Howard (51:39)
  • NEW “A Fresh Snow” – A Look At The Restoration Of The Film With Robert Richardson (10:12)
  • Audio Commentary With Scott Hicks
  • Spotlight On Location (21:43)
  • Deleted Scenes (21:59)
  • Theatrical Trailer (02:29)

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