Ashes in the Snow
R2 - United Kingdom - Signature Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (16th August 2019).
The Film

Ashes in the Snow is the harrowing true story following a 16-year-old girl who is deported to Siberia during the Soviet occupation.

Siberia, 1941, Stalinís henchmen violently invade and ruthlessly deport Baltic families from their homes. Sixteen year old Lina, along with her mother and younger brother, are exiled to a soviet labour camp whilst Linaís father gets put in a prison camp. Lina fights for her life, fearless, vowing that if she survives she will honour her family, and the thousands like her, by documenting the experience in her art. She risks everything, hoping that her messages in art will make their way to her fatherís prison camp to let him know his family is still alive.

A beautifully executed yet heart-breaking, captivating and eye opening drama that unveils a forgotten part of history in a way that makes you experience the despair and shocking conditions of war.

Video

1942: A young artist Lina (Bel Powley) and her family are deported from Lithuania to Siberia by Stalin's forces.

Effective, well made but depressing true story of one woman's hellish journey at the hands of the Soviets. The cast are all splendid and the film well directed but it has that desaturated, faded quality so many modern digitally shot productions favour when they handle grim material. Nonetheless, it's a worthy WWII drama if this kind of thing is your bag.

A digitally shot modern production gets an adequate standard definition release from Signature Entertainment. The colour palette is very muted with an overall desaturated look deliberately designed to match the films grim story and tone.

Black levels are generally very good with some shadow detail although as is usual for DVD there is some crush in darker areas. I saw no signs of digital tinkering and obviously a new film like this digitally shot has no damage.

Contrast is very supportive particularly in the second half of the film when the story reaches the snowy wastes of Siberia where there's plenty of scope for blown out highlights. Detail manages to come through the softness but there's little or no grain. Encoding seems decent.

PAL / 1.85:1 / 97:09

Audio

English / Russian / Lithuanian Dolby Digital 5.1
English / Russian / Lithuanian Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English (burned into image)

Both tracks are lossy obviously but both export a certain amount of depth and range, particularly the 5.1. Dialogue is always clear, front and centre with the score relegated to the four corners. Surrounds kick in during moments of action; the train journey is a particular standout. Subtitles are only provided for the non-English dialogue. Sadly, hard if hearing viewers are not catered for.

Extras

Startup Trailers:
- Arctic (2:13)
- Kursk: The Last Mission (1:21)


As usual for Signature Entertainment nothing to speak of.

Packaging

Standard black DVD keepcase with card slipcase.

Overall

A fine historical drama gets a basic DVD release from Signature Entertainment in the UK. We have decent standard definition image and lossy Dolby Digital sound; adequate for the casual purchaser but buffs will want a Blu-ray and some substantial, contextual extras. The film isn't very dynamic visually and has that digitally shot, soft look with desaturated colour to let the viewer know that they're watching a serious story.

The Film: B Video: B- Audio: B Extras: E Overall: C

 


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