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Belfast Blu-ray Review

A great ensemble cast doesn’t save the overhyped “Belfast.”

Set in Belfast, Northern Ireland during The Troubles period in 1969, “Belfast” is a coming of age story told from the POV of a 9 year old child named Buddy. Buddy lives with his Protestant family comprised of his father (who is constantly overseas working), his mother, his grandparents, and older brother Will. The free flowing story follows Buddy as he navigates the joyful moments of childhood and the terrifying real world chaos of The Troubles (the riots and Protestant vs. Catholic confrontations). Elsewhere in the story there are plots involving Buddy finding romance with a Catholic girl named Catherine, family financial woes, Buddy’s cousin Moira landing him in hot water, and a criminal named Billy who causes problems for the family and the community as a whole. 

Written and directed by Kenneth Branagh, the Oscar nominated “Belfast” is clearly a semi-autobiographical personal film about childhood, innocence (and a loss of it), the past and present and hometown nostalgia, but it feels like it could have amounted to more. While undoubtedly well made, the meandering narrative gives the impression that Branagh is trying to make sense of his own childhood and the history of his birthplace, but having little to say about it. The content within the film lacks depth and is too vague for its own good. 

What “Belfast” does have going for it is an incredible ensemble cast. Judi Dench is Judi Dench. You know she’ll be top notch in whatever movie she’s in. Jamie Dornan had a banner year in 2021 between this (his best performance) and the ridiculous comedy “Barb And Star Go To Vista Del Mar.” Jude Hill cements himself as a talented child actor as Buddy. Veteran actor Ciaran Hinds can do no wrong and makes a lasting impression in a supporting role as the grandfather. Last, but not least there’s Caitriona Balfe whose career should be taking off after this movie as Buddy’s mother. She gives such an honest performance.  

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The grand B&W cinematography shines in hi-def.

Audio Track: 7.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Everything from the dialogue to the Van Morrison tunes sounded crisp to this reviewer.

Extras:
* Digital copy
* An alternate ending with optional commentary by Kenneth Branagh.
* 2 minutes and 45 seconds of deleted scenes with optional commentary by Kenneth Branagh.
* Commentary by Kenneth Branagh
* “Everyone’s Inner Child”-  The cast recounts childhood memories.
* “A City Of Stories: The Making Of Belfast” features cast and crew interviews, film clips, discussions about the historical and personal elements of the story along with the characters, etc.

March 1, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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