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Pride (Blu-ray Review)

PrideIn 1984, the United Kingdom, under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher saw the start of what would be a year long strike from the National Union of Mineworkers after the government closed down twenty coal mines.  With the picketing came a surprising amount of violence related to the topic as well.  Hell, I mean there’s even a part of this story called the “Battle Of Orgreave” which was between picketers and the police.  The view on the miners was sort of indifferent publicly at the time, but support of them came from an unlikely source that viewed their troubles as similar to their own.  Lesbians and Gays Support The Miners became one of their biggest backers, which shocked a town, but also managed to enlighten them through the trials and tribulations of it all.  The film we’re here to discuss today is about this very piece of history and bond between two very different peoples to link for common causes.

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Film 

Based on a true story, the film depicts a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to help families affected by theBritish miners’ strike in 1984, at the outset of what would become the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign. The National Union of Mineworkers was reluctant to accept the group’s support due to the union’s public relations’ worries about being openly associated with a gay group, so the activists instead decided to take their donations directly to Onllwyn, a small mining village in Wales, resulting in an alliance between the two communities. The alliance was unlike any seen before but was successful.

Earlier in the year, I was at my local arthouse theater catching a few films and I saw the trailer for this one repeatedly and was interested in partaking in a screening when it opened.   Then it winds up that it did open and I completely missed the boat and I didn’t even realize it until the press release for the Blu-ray came by my e-mail.  Well, I’m happy that I got to get this one in before the end of the year.

The film’s take on the events do follow in a more “general audiences friendly” fashion, avoiding what could have included some harsher and darker avenues.  Though, make no mistake, the film doesn’t shy away from presenting the issues, its just handled in a more tasteful or ambiguous manner than had this been a hard indie film.  But, what I like most about the style and presentation of how the film’s subject matter is translated, is that it brings such a sense of joy and harmonious vibe that really gets you behind its characters and mission in the film.  When the film gets into a more character driven second act, I’m fine with it, because I’m really enjoying watching these people interact and also strive to work together in different ways to achieve a common goal.  And the film does wind up being one of those happy, heartwarming tales, but never feels incredibly cheesy and the endgame is something the film earns and where you as an audience member really want to see it go.

Pride is full of good acting all around.  Particularly I found Dominic West as Jonathan Blake to be pretty damn outstanding in this movie.  West puts on a full show and is an absolute charmer in the role, including a pretty memorable and crowd pleasing dance number occurring in the film’s second act.  “God, I miss disco” might be one of my favorite lines/deliveries of the year.  West manages to fill a whole range of emotion through scenes in the film and becomes on of the most moving and touching characters in the whole story.  Right now if I had to pick a winner for Best Supporting Actor for 2014, it would no doubt go to Dominic West (But, I doubt he’ll even see a nomination).  Also, I can’t remember the character’s name and looking for the actress who played her came up empty, but the staunch opposed woman to the LGSM in the film was TERRIFIC!  So much so, that I wanted to punch her face on my TV and was hoping a character in the film would do so in the finale.  When I can’t stand you THAT much, you’re damn good at what you’re doing.  Lastly, Faye Marsay from The White Queen was in this, and she’s someone I hope breaks out into more things as she has a presence I’m really enjoying in the projects she’s working on.

Matthew Warchus’ Pride is a very sort of modern populist film that plays to a more general audience level of viewing, but absolutely soars sky high in its execution.  The film works in so many aspects; comedy, drama, education are just a few to give you an idea.  Its littered with plenty of charm, fun and emotionally moving moments.  This is one of the year’s best films and everyone really needs to do themselves a favor and check it out.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail: Pride is easily proud of its picture quality.  As expect from a modern film of its ilk, it looks very good translated to Blu-ray.  The image is sharp and features plenty of rich detail with a nice sharp looking take on its characters and objects.

Depth: There is some impressive depth displayed in some of the hilly shots as well as some of the parades that occur in the film.

Black Levels: Blacks are nice and inky, but not hiding any detail.  Hair follicles on brunettes are easily discernible as well as the texture of Mark’s leather jacket.

Color Reproduction: Colors are vibrant and poppy when in the city and take on more of a cold and dingy look when in the mining community.  Both interpretations do feature a nice rich quality to them.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are natural and feature plenty of detail.  You can see moles, makeup hidden acne, wrinkles and all sorts of facial skin feature with ease.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, English SDH

Dynamics:  As expected, this is a really solid track featuring some wonderful moments.  Not a lot is to be expected since this is really a drama led by conversation.  But, the concerts scenes, parade scenes and bar scenes are pretty impressive in filling your sound area.  Also, little moments of action like bricks being thrown through a window work to jolt.

Low Frequency Extension:  Mainly pump the music out pretty good, but there are also some engines to hum as well.

Surround Sound Presentation: Inside the concert and bars there is a nice bit of sound to fill you in the place and make it transcribe the environment audibly.  There is accurate placement of voice to screen character as well as plenty of movement between front speakers.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Crisp and clean.

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Extras 

Pride comes with an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

Deleted And Extended Scenes (HD, 10:09)

Pride: A True Story (HD, 16:03) – A sort of general look back at the events the film was based on as well as adapting them into the film.  The cast, director, writer and actual members of the LGSM and NUM from back when this happen provide insight about the people and events as behind the scenes footage and clips from the actual stuff play.

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Summary 

Pride is one of 2014’s best films.  It comes to Blu-ray with a great audio and video transfer.  Dragging it down is a little lack of extras, but what’s provided is pretty significant enough.  This is a film that I’m not sure if you need to rush out and buy it, but I definitely think you should make it a point to see it.  Its currently nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture-Musical Or Comedy, but you never know if that’s going to translate over to the Academy or not, but its good to see some recognition.  It fully deserves it!

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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