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The Jericho Mile Blu-ray Review


“The Jericho Mile” should be a more well known Michael Mann film.

Set in Folsom Prison, the 1979 TV movie “The Jericho Mile” centers around a man named Rain who is serving a life sentence for murdering his father. Rain is a quiet man who keeps to himself and essentially punishes himself for what he did. In order to pass the time, Rain runs the track on a daily basis. His fast running catches the eye of both the prison and the local press leaving him with a potential opportunity for an Olympic trial. Initially, he’s not interested, but after a tragedy occurs, he decides to do so out of respect. Will Rain get a chance? Will obstacles within and outside the prison prevent him from doing so? That would be telling. Expect to see a few other key subplots involving Rain’s only friend Stiles and a gang leader named Dr. D.

The words “TV movie” aren’t exactly synonymous with quality, but thankfully, this is one of those TV movies that is actually worth your time. Directed and co-written by veteran Michael Mann (most well known for helming “Heat,” “Collateral,” and many more), “The Jericho Mile” is a fascinating multi-genre movie. It’s a sports film, it’s a prison film, and it’s a film about race. This could have easily just been another happy ending tale in which the main character defies the odds and is victorious, but it never plays out that way. It’s actually rather surprising in how it unfolds to a certain degree (I’m being vague here on purpose). Sure, there are some overly dramatized moments that one would expect from older TV films, but there are good portions of this movie that are refreshingly un-Hollywood ala the complex main character, the more realistic depiction of prison inmates and race relations, and the bittersweet but powerful ending.

The cast is filled with plenty of familiar faces such as Brian Dennehy, Richard Moll, Geoffrey Lewis, Richard Lawson, Burton Gilliam, Peter Strauss, among others. Strauss, who isn’t a household name, really shines as Rain. He gives a very understated and layered performance and brings a lot to the character. All of the supporting cast is top notch in their roles of varying length.


Presentation: 1.33:1. How does it look? A super crispy transfer. This movie looks brand new.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A quality 2.0 track to be sure.

Extras: A trailer for “The Jericho Mile” without sound (never seen that before) and an entertaining and informative commentary by film historian Lee Gambin.

July 22, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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