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Title: Quarry: The Complete First Season

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :4stars:

HTS Overall Score:87

I only have vague memories from my uncle about the early 1970s as I was nothing but a twinkle in my father’s eye, but the truth is that we did not exactly treat our homecoming soldiers right. Back then America was fractured as a country (probably even more so than we are in this tumultuous political time). There were people screaming and raging about the war in Nam and taking out their anger on our G.I.s. Protests filled the streets, there were some people who thought they could turn the tide of our involvement in the war by “bringing the war home” (otherwise known as setting off bombs and other terrorist activities to prove that violence was no fun to the supporters of the conflict). Either way, we were NOT in good shape, and the men and women who served in our armed forces had a really tough time when they came home. One of my best friend’s father still won’t talk about some of the stuff that was said and did to him on his return, and remains horribly disillusioned with civilian life to this very day. From what I remember and was told, I don’t blame him one bit.

“Quarry: The Complete First Season” starts off with a fairly violent and stylized opening sequence that makes you wonder if this is going to be a post wartime drama or a hitman videogame. However, once you get through the first couple episodes of rocky exposition, “Quarry” gains a life of its own that walks a thin line between cool assassin show and a dramatic story about one man’s return to civilian life after living in the bowels of hell overseas. The show revolves around one Mac Conway (Logan Marshall-Green), who has just returned form 2 tours in Nam and been through the rigors of being investigated for a massacre (but was subsequently cleared of any wrong doing). When he gets back to the states to see his lovely wife Joni (Jodi Balfour) he doesn’t exactly get the welcome home reception that he was expecting. He received the classic Vietnam vet’s worst nightmare, with people screaming and spitting on him while calling his time in the war one of baby killing and embarrassing.

Trucking through the wasteland that is politically torn America, Mac struggles desperately to find a job so that he can get back into the life of a civilian and forget the horrors that he witnessed overseas. However, life isn’t handing him too many silver linings, except in the form of a man known as the “The Broker” (Peter Mullan), who offers the ex-soldier an opportunity to use his killing skill for more “lucrative” propositions. Declining the initial offer, Mac is pulled into the world of professional assassination when his war buddy Arthur (Jamie Hector) is drawn into the Broker’s spider web and left with a crushing debt. A debt that Mac is now forced to pay with his service until the advance that was given to Arthur is paid off.

One might expect from the description that “Quarry” is a wild, exciting show about hitmen, but interestingly enough the show leans more towards a raw edged drama that happens to deal with hitmen rather than glorify the occupation. Much like “Breaking Bad” the show is a story of someone of decent moral values drawn into a life of crime and deceit due to being in over their heads financially and leveraged just the right way. Only Quarry is much more gritty and harsh than other shows of the same ilk. The bulk of the content is Mac trying to pay off the Broker, but also dealing with the aftermath of coming home to a country that now finds him as repulsive as the cockroach on the kitchen floor. To top it all off he and his wife Joni are struggling after finding out that being separated was harder on their marriage than they initially thought. Being on the run doesn’t exactly help matters when one of Mac’s “targets” ends up slipping the nest and hunting the two of them as bad as they hunted him.

“Quarry” is an interesting show that pushes the envelope in terms of raw edged dramatic thrillers. The show balances between the themes of war and personal pain, while also adding in a subtext of PTSD that shows up in the form of watery visions that show the violently disturbed nature of Mac’s psyche. I personally had a blast with the show and was wildly surprised how different it was from the typical HBO dramas. Originally a Cinemax produced show, “Quarry” shows some definite promise in the upcoming seasons and has been one of the more enjoyable HBO shows as of late, and stands head and shoulders over their recent comedic entries, especially with the compelling cast. Logan Marshall-Green does a bang up job as Mac/Quarry, but the supporting cast keeps the show fresh and consistently entertaining. Most notably being Damon Harriman as Buddy (best known for the role of Dewey on "Justified"), a gay hitman who's sense of wit and style had me grinning every time he was on screen. Jodi Balfour was rock solid as well and Peter Mullan never fails to entertain.


Rated TV-MA

Video :4.5stars:
“Quarry” seems to be shot entirely on digital cameras, and like most HBO dramas, looks fantastic on Blu-ray. The digital production sports some rather stylized colors and grading to give it that look that makes us think of the 1970’s, complete with yellow tones and lightly pastel colors with earthy accents. Fine details and intimate close ups look magnificent, with skin tones and individual facial pores showing up with pinpoint precision and accuracy. The light tan and buff suits show soft folds in the cloth and fibers showing up in the tweed varieties, while skin shows off every hair and cut mark that befalls our valiant “heroes”. Black levels do suffer from some mild crush here and there, but daylight sequences are simply superb, with inky shadows and wonderful looking imagery. The southern fried locations in the show keep it visually stimulating and give off an authentic texture that allows the show its sense of realism and raw warmth. Overall, it’s a fantastic looking encode that has a visual flair all its own.

Audio :4.5stars:
The audio track on board the HBO disc is no slouch either. There’s a LOT of little nuances that show up throughout the production that make me really tip my hat to the sound mixer. Surrounds pick up the little sounds of feet scraping along gravel and a person getting into a car in the background and driving off. All perfectly picked up by those side channels and given some really nice directional queues that has the listener pointing out exactly where in the soundstage the car is driving off to. The dialog is all located right in the center channel and is balanced very nicely with the rest of the mix, and is not overwhelmed by the occasional sound of vicious gunfire, or the sickening smack of Mac’s fist pounding someone’s face into jelly. LFE is tight and clean, but also more than aggressive enough to really kick things up a notch when asked.

Extras :4stars:

• Deleted Scenes
• "Inside Quarry"
• "Quan Thang Inquiry Scenes"
• "About Quarry" – Delve inside the setting, characters and storylines of Quarry with the cast and crew.
• "Music of Memphis"
• "Recreating 1972"
• "Love Letters"
• "Car Chase Picture in Picture"
• Music Videos

Overall: :4.5stars:

“Quarry: The Complete First Season” starts out with a bit of a rocky start, making me raise an eyebrow and wonder if we were really supposed to swallow the opening episode as what to expect. Thankfully the show grabs you by the hair and just yanks you along for the ride, creating an engrossing and highly emotional series that has a lot of things going for it. The period piece show nails every little bit about the era with excruciating accuracy, and just enough style and violence to keep you wanting more. Once again, this IS an HBO show, so be warned that there will be some nudity (though nothing so stupidly gratuitous as “True Blood” or other more major HBO shows). Audio and video are simply fantastic, and the extras make for some of the best parts of the package. Definitely recommended.

Additional Information:

Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Jodi Balgour, Damon Herriman
Created by: Michael D. Fuller, Graham Gordy
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: HBO
Rated: TV-MA
Runtime: 480 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 14th, 2017

Buy Quarry: The Complete First Season Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Great Watch

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