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Nomadland Blu-ray Review

“Nomadland” is a flawed but absorbing character study.

Based on the non-fiction novel “Nomadland: Surviving America In The Twenty-First Century,” “Nomadland” is a fictionalized adaptation of the novel by screenwriter Chloé Zhao (who is also the director). The story follows a woman named Fern who has suffered great loss. She lost her job after a plant in Empire, Nevada closes down and she lost her beloved husband. Fern decides to move away and live life on the road as a nomad picking up jobs here and there while interacting with fellow nomads. What follows is her everyday struggles as she embarks on a new journey in life. 

On the surface, the Oscar nominated “Nomadland” is a deceptively simple story, but there’s a lot going on under the surface of Chloé Zhao’s film. It’s a movie about grief, change, America (and its current state), the fading American Dream, the nomad lifestyle, solitude, connections and community. It gives viewers an inside look at the nomad life which isn’t explored in cinema much. It’s also refreshing to see a film showcase different perspectives and a different way of life. 

Despite only having 3 features under her belt thus far, Chloé Zhao is cementing herself as a premier filmmaker. There’s an intimacy and authenticity to her work that is hard to capture for any filmmaker out there. It will be fascinating to see her branch out to genre work like the forthcoming MCU film “The Eternals.”

Of course, Zhao is aided by one of the all-time great actresses with Frances McDormand. Once again, she is a revelation here but you didn’t need me to tell you that. She manages to make Fern such a real, raw and vulnerable character. Equally impressive here is the always reliable David Strathairn (a fellow nomad named Dave who connects with Fern) and real-life nomads playing versions of themselves (namely Linda May and Swankie who deliver genuine performances).

As deep as the movie may be, there are some issues that take it down a notch. No matter how good the direction and acting is, there’s no denying that it is a very tedious and circuitous downer of a movie that suffers from some real pacing issues. It sometimes feels too dreary and repetitive for its own good. 

“Nomadland” is available on Blu-ray April 27, 2021.


Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? A fantastic hi-def transfer. The cinematography by Joshua James Richards really shines here.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Expect a crisp and clear audio track.

* Digital copy
* 2 deleted scenes
* A 15 minute Telluride Q&A with Frances McDormand, Chloe Zhao among others from the Drive-In Premiere.
* “The Forgotten America”- A featurette on the film with interviews, film clips, discussions about everything from the themes to the locations.

April 16, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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