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Stronger Blu-ray Review

Stronger.jpg

The cast makes “Stronger” stronger.

Based on the memoir of the same name by Jeff Bauman and Bret Witter, director David Gordon Green’s “Stronger” tells the true life story of how Costco employee Jeff Bauman lost his legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Bauman, who was not a runner, was actually there to support his on and off again girlfriend Erin who was running. The film not only deals with Jeff’s internal and external struggles, but it also delves into his complicated relationship with Erin.

One could argue that “Stronger” was made too soon, that it’s exploitive or that it’s just another patriotic biopic about a hero overcoming adversity and those are certainly valid points. To a certain extent, “Stronger” is a conventional biopic in that it’s dramatizing a true story and focusing on the ups and downs of its subject. As a whole, however, “Stronger” is constructed in a rather different manner. Only the last 20 minutes contain the standard inspiring overcoming adversity storyline. Most of the film is about Jeff Bauman’s self-doubt, how people view him as a hero even though he doesn’t feel like one, and the dysfunctional Boston family dynamic that admittedly feels like it’s trying to replicate “The Fighter” at times. The film’s greatest strength is that it actually explores Jeff and Erin’s relationship. In many films, Erin’s character would be the token girlfriend, but this movie focuses on her character just as much as Jeff’s. We really see how their relationship and lives have been affected by the tragic accident individually and together. It really grounds the story and sets it apart from other biopic tales.

What really makes “Stronger” work as a piece of cinema is the acting. Jake Gyllenhaal can be an odd actor. When he’s good he’s real good like in “Nightcrawler” or the underrated “Enemy.” He can also be crazy over-the-top like in this year’s “Okja.” Thankfully, he’s good here. He really commits to the role and is respectful of the man who he is portraying. The one who really steals the show for me, however, is Tatiana Maslany (the award-winning actress from “Orphan Black). She has the less showy part, but she is in many ways the heart of the movie I think. How she is not getting more major roles is beyond me.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.40:1 1080p. How does it look? It’s a solid transfer, but don’t expect flashy or crystal clear picture quality.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? It does the job.

Extras: Digital copy, Lionsgate trailers, and a half-hour featurette titled “Faith, Hope, And Love: Becoming Stronger” which contains film clips, interviews, discussions about how the project came to be, behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and talks about the real Jeff Bauman, and a whole lot more.

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December 9, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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