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Blu-ray Review: QUARRY Season 1

Feb 14 Posted by in DVD/Blu-ray, Reviews | Comments

Upon his return from his second tour of duty in Vietnam, Marine Sergeant Mac Conway (Logan Marshall-Green) is greeted at the Memphis airport by throng of screaming protesters. Mac and his best friend Arthur (Jamie Hector) had been questioned and cleared during the Department of Defense’s inquiry into the horrible Quan Thang massacre that left many women and children dead, but in the public’s eyes they are still monsters. Due to this event, it has been very difficult for the soldiers to find jobs. While Arthur takes a night shift at a furniture factory, Mac is still getting rejected everywhere. He was a star swimmer in high school, but even his old school won’t give him a job as a swimming coach, and when Mac does finally manage to get a job working at a local garage, a violent outburst due to his PTSD quickly puts him out of work again. To make matters worse, Mac is also having trouble at home with wife Joni (Jodi Balfour), and his stepmother is constantly preventing Mac from seeing his own father.

One day Mac receives a visit from a mysterious man who calls himself The Broker (Peter Mullan)/ The man offers him $30K in exchange for completing a series of jobs. He gives Mac the nickname of “Quarry”, due to the fact that he’s as hard as a rock, but all hollowed out inside. Despite his desperation for a job, Mac declines the offer to become a hitman for this unknown man. However, he soon discovers that Arthur accepted the same offer. And so Mac ends up being dragged into this world anyway, forced to kill in order to repay money that his friend now owes The Broker. The Broker seems to have eyes everywhere, whether it’s his right hand man Karl (Edoardo Ballerini), homosexual cleaner Buddy (Damon Herriman), or any other number of undercover assets. The Broker also seems to be playing mind games with Mac, who often discovers that he has a personal connection to his targets. As Mac desperately looks for other ways to pay back The Broker, his dangerous new job soon puts himself and wife Joni (Jodi Balfour) in the cross-hairs of a deadly killer (Kurt Yaeger), as well as in the sights of a detective (Josh Randall) who ivestigating one of the murders and refuses to close what seems like an open-and-shut accidental death case.

Quarry is based on novels written by Max Allan Collins. The series was created by Rectify writers Graham Gordy & Michael D. Fuller, and directed by Greg Yaitanes, who previously worked on Cinemax’s Banshee. The series wonderfully re-creates the look and feel of 1972 while exploring the struggles returning soldier Mac goes through while trying to re-enter society and put his life back together. Not only does Mac have to deal with being shunned by the people he fought for, but he’s also suffering from PTSD, his marriage is crumbling, and has other family issues. At the same time he is thrust into this deadly world of guns, drug-running and corruption, which both frightens him as well as makes him feel alive again for the first time since being on the battlefield.

Over the course of the season, the series also explores the travails and relationships of the other characters. Joni is dealing both with her suppressed anger towards her husband, but also with the guilt of her infidelity. Buddy the cleaner may appear to be happy on the outside, but inside there is a deep darkness. He wants to advance and get out of his line of business but The Broker does not take him seriously no matter how well he does his job, and in his personal life he’s constantly having to deal with bigots and gay-bashers. Quarry also delves into some other social issues that were going on at the time—the 1972 election, the Munich Olympics massacre, violent protests against bussing of black students into integrated schools, slave cabins, the general anti-war sentiment, and the effects of PTSD, which was just being ignored as shell shock at the time.

The first season of Quarry tells a nice complete story, while also leaving the series open for additional seasons. Mac and the rest of the characters go through interesting emotional journeys, and Logan Marshall-Green gives an excellent performance, really conveying the phyysical, moral and emotional struggles Mac faces. Most of the questions raised throughout the season are ultimately answered by the end as the storylines come full circle from the pilot to the season finale. In addition to all of the show’s excellent drama and character development, there are also some very tense and explosive action sequences. The one that really stood out to me is the spectacular single-shot in the season finale where we finally get to see the war atrocity that’s been alluded to throughout the season. This sequence is absolutely stunning and viceral, and really puts the viewer right in the middle of the action.

The Blu-ray presentation looks and sounds great. The picture looks flawless—it’s crisp, clear, detailed and beautifully colored to evoke the period. The audio track not only provides clear dialogue and an immersive experience for the action on screen, but the soundtrack also sounds phenomenal. Throughout the season characters are constantly playing classic records, or finding themselves in a bar with a live R&B performance, and this music becomes an integral part of the tone of the series.

This Blu-ray release is loaded with bonus material including three audio commentaries, cast/crew discussions of every episode, four behind-the-scenes featurettes, over 45 minutes of deleted scenes and over 20 minutes of featurettes set in the world of the series. There is also nearly an hour of excellent live music performances, which should be well worth the price of admission alone for any Rhythm and Blues fans. The three discs are packed in a standard multi-disc Blu-ray keep case with a cardboard slipcover, and inside is an insert containing the digital copy redemption instructions.



What’s Included:

Episodes: (7:57:55)

    Blu-ray:

    • All 8 Episodes of the First Season:
      “You Don’t Miss Your Water”, “Figure Four”, “A Mouthful of Splinters”, “Seldom Realized”, “Coffee Blues”, “His Deeds Were Scattered”, “Carnival of Souls”, “Nuoc Cha Da Mon”
    • 1080p / Widescreen 1.78:1
    • Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS Digital Surround 5.1, Latin Spanish DTS Digital Surround 2.0
    • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Dutch

    Digital Copy (Redemption Deadline 12/31/2022):

    • UltraViolet Digital HD Copy (Vudu or Flixster Video)
    • Digital HD Copy (iTunes or Google Play)

Extras:
* Some of these bonus features are available both on the discs and via the included Digital Copy

  • Inside Quarry* (17:33)
    The producers and cast talk about the major events and themes of each episode. Includes interviews with executive producers Graham Gordy and Michael D. Fuller, director Greg Yaitanes, and actors Logan Marshall-Green (“Mac Conway/Quarry”), Jodi Balfour (“Joni Conway”) and Jamie Hector (“Arthur”). These are located on each disc along with the related episodes. There is Play All on each disc, or select from:

    • Episode 1* (2:01)
    • Episode 2 (2:24)
    • Episode 3 (2:01)
    • Episode 4 (2:22)
    • Episode 5 (2:06)
    • Episode 6 (2:22)
    • Episode 7 (2:11)
    • Episode 8* (2:06)
  • Car Chase Picture in Picture (1:22)
    Director Greg Yaitanes and star Logan Marshall-Green talk about the car chase scene in the second episode, plus get a behind-the-scenes look at how the scene was shot via picture-in-picture.
  • Behind the Scenes (6:46)
    Collection of promotional behind-the-scenes featurettes. Includes interviews with producers Graham Gordy and Michael D. Fuller, director Greg Yaitanes, Memphis & Shelby County Film Commissioner Linn Sitler, music consultant David Porter, production designer Roshelle Berliner, make-up department head David Atherton, property masters Beau Harrison & Luci Leary, costume designer Patia Prouty, and actors Logan Marshall-Green, Jodi Balfour, Damon Herriman (“Buddy”), Edoardo Ballerini (“Karl”), Mustafa Shakir (“Moses”) and Jamie Hector. Play All or select from:

    • About Quarry* (2:06)
      The producers and cast talk about the show’s premise, setting and characters.
    • Music of Memphis (2:32)
      The producers and cast talk about the show’s use of music—both in the soundtrack and in the live performances on the show.
    • Recreating 1972 (2:06)
      The cast and crew talk about recreating 1972 Memphis in New Orleans, and reflecting the era in the sets and clothing.
  • Deleted Scenes* (31:12)
    A nice selection of twenty deleted scenes. These are located on each disc with the related episodes. There is Play All on each disc, or select from:

    • Episode 1 (4:10)
      4 scenes – Sc. 30-31 “Mac Leaves Knickerbocker Sees Buddy Outside”, Sc. 49 “Ruth and Arthur Discuss Night Shift”, Sc. 65 “Mac Walks on Tracks”, Sc. 94 “Mac Stalks Cliff”
    • Episode 2 (5:47)
      4 scenes – Sc. 35 “Joni Talks to Hutto”, Sc. 48 “Mac Tears Flesh From Hand”, Sc. 63-64 “Mac Carries Joni to Bed”, Sc. 85 “Marcus Prepares Food For Ruth”
    • Episode 3 (1:29)
      1 scene – Sc. 32-33 “Buddy Gets Dopp Kits”
    • Episode 4 (2:05)
      2 scenes – Sc. 17-19 “Tommy and Verne Discuss Olympics”, Sc. 39 “Mac and Harlow Discuss Pump”
    • Episode 5 (4:39)
      3 scenes – Sc. 1 “Joni and Mac Discuss Codephrase”, Sc. 2 “Joni Stresses About Money”, Sc. 3 “Joni and Mac Mattress Shop”
    • Episode 7 (:37)
      1 scene – Sc. 23 “Marcus Takes 100 Dollar Bill”
    • Episode 8 (12:25)
      5 scenes – Sc. A01 “Mac Tells Joni He Re-Enlisted”, Sc. A10 “Pizzutti Killed By Grenade”, Sc. 11 “Joni Gets a Call From Lloyd”, Sc. A15 “Verne Calls Sandy”, Sc. 62 “Mac and Arthur Discuss Quan Thang”
  • Audio Commentaries
    A solid collection of entertaining and informative audio commentaries on the premiere, the finale and a stellar midseason episode. The various participants in each commentary provide insight on the story, adapting the novels and the cast. They also give lots of behind-the-scenes stories and production tidbits. This is especially true in the commentary on the finale, which brings together a wider assortment of people.

    • Episode 1 – “You Don’t Mis Your Water” (1:15:56)
      Participants include executive producers/writers Graham Gordy & Michael D. Fuller.
    • Episode 4 – “Seldom Realized” (58:14)
      Participants include actor Jodi Balfour (“Joni”) & executive producer/director Greg Yaitanes.
    • Episode 8 – “Nuoc Cha Da Mon” (1:21:49)
      Participants include executive producer/director Greg Yaitanes, 1st assistant director Kevin Koster, costume designer Patia Prouty, stunt coordinator Richard Burden, music supervisor PJ Bloom and co-producer Allen Marshall Palmer.
  • Additional Scenes* (15:11)
    Even more deleted scenes from the season. Play All or select from:

    • “Hitmen in Cars”* (8:56)
      Collection of 4 scenes with Buddy and Karl passing time in the car discussing various topics such as love, reading, and the first person they knew who died. Scenes include “Car Talk with Buddy & Karl”, “Book Club with Buddy & Karl”, “Buddy Makes a Hit”, “The First Death with Buddy & Karl”.
    • “No Money Down”* (1:52)
      Karl tries to sell a used car to a prospective customer.
    • “Karl on Suggs’ Trail” (4:21)
      Karl follows the trail left behind by Suggs.
  • Music Videos (56:15)
    Watch the uninterrupted live musical performances and music videos for the songs from the show’s impressive soundtrack. Play All or select from

    • Episode 1:
      • “On the Battlfield For My Lord” performed by George Young Church Choir (2:51)
      • “Take It Off Her and Put It On Me” performed by Tank and The Bangas (3:00)
      • “Little Bluebird” performed by Jeremy O’Bryan & The Quarry Band (3:26)
    • Episode 2:
      • “634-7589” performed by Van Ford (2:32)
      • “Goodnight Baby” performed by J. Roddy Walston & The Business (3:16)
    • Episode 3:
      • “Born Under a Bad Sign” performed by William Bell & The Speakerbox (3:16)
    • Episode 5:
      • “John Law Burned Down the Liquor Sto'” performed by Chris Thomas King (3:41)
      • “Soon This Morning Blues” performed by Chris Thomas King (3:59)
      • “Red Mud” performed by Chris Thomas King (3:41)
      • “Judge Harsh Blues” performed by Chris Thomas King (3:19)
    • Episode 6:
      • “I Saw the Light” performed by The Kid Carsons (3:11)
      • “B-A-B-Y” performed by Keia Johnson & The Royal Studio Players (3:17)
      • “Something’s Wrong” performed by Alynda Lee Segarra (2:49)
      • “One Way Out” performed by Blackberry Smoke (4:50)
    • Episode 7:
      • “Feel Like Hollerin'” performed by John Mooney Band (2:38)
    • Episode 8:
      • “Bird on the Wire” performed by Frally Hynes (4:07)
      • “Long as I Can See The Light” performed by Frally Hynes (2:19)
  • Love Letters (1:21)
    The audio correspondence between Mac and Joni while he served in Vietnam is set to home video footage of the loving couple.
  • Quan Thang Inquiry Scenes (19:59)
    The declassified DOD Quan Thang debrief interview footage where the soldiers testify to the events of the tragedy. Play All or select from:

    • “Mac and Arthur Before Interviews” (3:29)
      Mac and Arthur discuss what they’re going to say while waiting to be called in for their inquiry interviews.
    • “Thurston Interview” (3:17)
      The declassified black and white DOD interview of Captain James Thurston.
    • “Arthur Interview” (2:12)
      The declassified black and white DOD interview of Lance Corporal Arthur Solomon.
    • “Mac Interview — Redacted”* (3:01)
      The declassified black and white DOD interview of Sergeant Lloyd Conway Jr, with portions redacted.
    • “Mac Interview — Un-Redacted” (7:58)
      The un-edited declassified black and white DOD interview of Sergeant Lloyd Conway Jr.

 


Final Thoughts:

My Rating
Episodes:
Video:
Audio:
Extras:
Recommended

Quarry is an entertaining drama about a shunned war veteran who struggles to put his life back together after returning from Vietnam, and in the process becomes a hitman for a mysterious man known as The Broker. The series has some excellent dramatic performances as well as some intense action sequences. At the same time, the series also explores some of the social issues of the era. Quarry‘s beautiful recreation of the ’70s looks amazing on this Blu-ray release, it’s R&B soundtrack sounds fantastic, and the discs are loaded with wonderful bonus features. This is a must buy for fans of the series, and worth checking out for anyone looking for an interesting and intense character-driven drama.