The Phenom Blu-ray Review
The acting alone makes “The Phenom” worth watching.
In “The Phenom,” the story revolves around a rookie MLB pitcher (Hopper) who has been struggling on the mound as of late. A renowned sports therapist (Dr. Mobley) tries to help him through his problems even though he has problems of his own.
The film also flashes back in time to dig into Hopper’s past more. We learn about the pressures he faces, his girlfriend, and his criminal, hard-ass, abusive father who pushes his son to an extreme level.
“The Phenom” may be marketed as a baseball movie, but it’s more of a psychological sports drama than anything else. Writer/director Noah Buschel focuses less on the action on the field and more on the mind of a ball player who is not at the top of his game. It’s a very grounded character study of a player who has a case of the yips as they say. While this subject not may not be of interest to some viewers, it proves to be a refreshing change of pace from not only other baseball films, but other films released this year.
Of course, the main reason the movie works so well is because of the acting talent of Johnny Simmons (best known for “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World”), Paul Giamatti, and Ethan Hawke. Simmons may not be a household name, but he should be able to land more roles after this very mature and deep performance. Giamatti is predictably great as per usual as the flawed therapist. Ethan Hawke has been delivering some of the best performances of any actor these past few years continues his streak with another A+ performance here as Hopper’s screwed up father. His final scene alone should put him in the Academy Awards conversation this year, but unfortunately, I don’t think this film will reach enough voters.
Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? This Blu-ray disc boasts a crisp hi-def transfer.
Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The DTS track is fine. Given that this is not an audio intensive movie, this track doesn’t have much to do in this dialogue driven feature.
* RLJ Entertainment trailers.
* Still galleries.
* ‘The Cast Of The Phenom” contains film clips and interviews with Ethan Hawke, Johnny Simmons, and Paul Giamatti who discuss the characters and story.