The Screening Room
THE STUDIO GATE
Fine acting. Check. Excellent dialogue. Check. Fine,
moody cinematography. Check again. What does this all add up to? A fine
movie with fine acting that can lull a viewer into a slumber.
"Doubt" is now on Blu-ray.
This is a an actor's film that shows off their immense acting chops. How
could you go wrong with Streep, Adams & Seymour Hoffman working with a
famous stage play as their guide? It's not that the film adaption of John
Patrick Shanley's play doesn't try to aim high. The plot sets up these
actors in a case of whether or not there has been improper conduct in a
Catholic school. They act cold (Streep), too innocent until she gets some
fire in her gut (Adams), and eventually yell for an Oscar-worthy performance
clip (Hoffman). All of this adds up to a shrug on the part of viewer. That
Streep is quite good as Sister Aloysius and gave me the creeps as the head
of the school. She's a bit over the top at times, but she's a joy to watch.
Hoffman hasn't really ever hit the right buttons with me as an actor.
Perhaps it's from his performance in "Boogie Nights" that firmly planted in
my mind as sort of a creepy character actor. Yet he's good in his role as
Father Flynn. He's not so creepy. Adams continues to suprise me with her
range. She wasn't really even on the Hollywood radar until "Enchanted," in
which she gave a wonderful performance. Her meek character of Sister James
is often funny because of her innocent outlook on the world.
The movie sets up an intriguing "did he do it or didn't he" premise, yet
falters. Underneath this rough dog's exterior is meager puppy. I found the
movie plodding in its pace. I kept checking the remaining running time on my
Playstation 3 to see how much longer I had to go.
The Blu-ray picture quality on this film is excellent. The picture maintains
Roger Deakins' fine cinematography. This is not a slick looking film by any
means, so Blu-ray viewers shouldn't expect to see ultrasharp imagery. The
film has an overcast pall over it, dulling the colors and keeping the sharp
The DTS-HD Master Audio is perfectly fine for a mostly dialogue driven film.
I don't think most home theatre buffs will crank up the volume on Streep.
The production sounds like it was well recorded and mixed.
If you went to Catholic school during the days of sisters ruling their
classes with an iron fist, you might enjoy some of the jokes in the film.
This is really a production that probably worked wonders on stage. Here on
film, it's a slow journey.
Special thanks to Click Communications
Photo: © BVHE. All rights reserved.
Blu-ray Quick Glimpse
Fine acting can't overcome snore inducement
John Patrick Shanley
Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman
"From Stage to Screen" audio commentary, and
Experience Meryl Streep's latest accent!
Aspect Ratio (1.85:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1
BLU-RAY RELEASE DATE
April 7, 2009