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Pawn (Blu-ray Review)

PawnTwisting and turning its way onto Blu-ray is Anchor Bay’s Pawn.  It’s a film that lives on the plot twist, double cross and connectivity between characters.  With so many new revelations and turns through the film’s runtime, this film should be a mess.  However, it’s not clumsily handled, not expertly either, but well enough to make for an entertaining jaunt through its runtime.

Film 

Pawn’s story centers around a police officer Will (Forrest Whitaker) stopping by a diner late one night for a cup of coffee.  Something appears astray with his good friend, the manager (Stephen Lang).  Will soon builds the suspicion based on surveying his surroundings that he’s walked into the middle of a hold up (led by Michael Chiklis playing “Derrick”).

Before we see the aftermath of that event fully play out, the film continues pulling back from and leading back up to the diner event.  The story continues to flush out, give us new background and other perspectives on the people and events surrounding the diner that night.  After the initial diner scene finally plays out, we are treated to A Dog Day Afternoon style hostage situation (minus anything lighthearted). And yes, there’s a WHOLE LOT of conspiracy going on.

The film is entertaining primarily on its constant flipping over of leaves.  At each moment it feels like someone new is involved in the scheme or against it.  It’s also enjoyable to continually get background on people in the diner before it happened.  Pawn proves to be an entertaining exercise in excessive plot twists while mixing with the “one event from multiple perspectives” storytelling.

Pawn’s cast is full and a mixed bag.  There are excellent turns from Ray Liotta and Stephen Lang.  In fact, Liotta is actually really good in this.  He’s fun while coming across as a patient kind of intense and slightly scary.  Michael Chiklis is over the top and comes off as a little too much when it comes to fitting in with the rest of the cast.  It rounds out with people being solid to underplaying mostly.  Common, whom I’ve seen in plenty of other bigger films, comes across as if this is his first movie.  He’s not a focus of the film, but is a bit of a chore to watch and buy into with his character.

If you’re looking for a film you don’t know much about and want to be entertained and think a little bit for an hour and half, Pawn makes a solid choice.  It’s a decent film and never really features a down moment.  There’s far too much going on constantly and your brain will be too busy making connections and trying to remember them.

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Video 

The 1080p MPEG-4 AVC picture in Pawn provides a good consistency in its 2:40:1 aspect.  Facial features such as stubble and skin texture are distinguishable even at surprising distances.  The image isn’t insanely sharp but its not distractingly so and is impressive in its own right.  Clothing and surface texture are for the most part clean and discernible.  What impressed me most were some shots that appeared with great depth in a very 3 dimensional image.  It happened a couple times but wasn’t really consistent where it could have been throughout.  Overall, another very good picture from a modern title in the Anchor Bay library.

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Audio 

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is serviceable.  It’s not bad, but it doesn’t provide anything spectacular either.  The dialogue is nice and clear and the film’s score is never overbearing.  Gunshots and crashes in the film lean toward the tame side.  While at 5.1, the mix never really plays with that as most of the action is completely front and center.  Considering most of the film takes place in a diner during a hostage situation, more work could have been done to give the audience the feel that they were caught up in the middle of it.  But, nonetheless the track is consistent and is enough to do the trick.

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Extras 

Pawn: Behind the Scenes (23:09) – The cast and crew talk very little about any depth of the film and are more interested in discussing how amazing reading the script was.  Actor Sean Faris is incredibly overzealous about this movie like its Inception.

Summary 

Pawn comes to you as a decent little thriller with great picture quality and solid audio.  The film is definitely for those who love plot twists.  There are plenty of them here.  Not much insight is provided in the way of bonus material.  But, maybe you’re as passionate about the movie as Sean Faris and are happy to just hear people talk about Pawn.  It’s a solid little movie with a good presentation.

Pawn Blu-ray

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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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