The Screening Room
"Election" is funny ha ha, and I mean that as a compliment.

"Election" is now available on Blu-ray disc.

Alexandar Payne's film surprises you with its quiet wit. This isn't a movie where I found my sides hurting from laughing too much. This is a film where I chuckled and grinned at the absurd happenings.

The script, by Payne, is rich with detail and devious humor. It's based on the novel by Tom Perrotta. Matthew Broderick is a popular teacher at a high school in Omaha, Nebraska. His world is seemingly perfect until Resse Witherspoon, a perky girl who knows the answers to everything and always has a smile, starts to ruin it. Broderick suddenly finds himself getting into messes he never imagined.

Matthew Broderick, to my generation, has almost always been youthful. We've grown up with him as "Ferris Bueller" (1986) and the computer hacker in "War Game" (1983). In "Election," he's grown up and supposedly responsible, but turns an ugly corner in the course of ruining his life. He is subdued in his comedy and seeing him try to resist temptation and lead a mundane life is very funny.

Reese Witherspoon has always been hit and miss with me. On one hand, I think she's a pretty good actress and cute. On another, she can come off as being cold. In this film, she's perfect for the role of Tracy Flick. We've probably all gone to high school with this type of person. Always smiling, always raising their hand in class, always just living a perfect existence while many of us toil, etc. She's the kind of girl you love to hate, and yet you admire her for her tenacity. Witherspoon nails this role.

The Blu-ray is solid in picture and sound quality. There are times when the image is bright and sharp, while others suffer from the original weaknesses of Super 35mm cinematography. There is occasional film grain and digital noise in the picture, but it's nothing bad. The Blu-ray is superior to the DVD of the same movie in picture and sound quality. I prefer this disc over the DVD.

The Blu-ray is presented in Dolby TrueHD, which seems to be Paramount's choice format. The sound is good, but it's based on a simple soundtrack to begin with. The film is mostly driven by dialogue with occasional music cues. This isn't a movie that requires a dynamic soundtrack, anyway.

The film is solid and a kick to enjoy. It takes some of its cues from old 1960s romps, but plays everything with a sharp undertone of a Cheshire Cat grin and a wink its eye. I bought the film years ago on DVD and had a good time watching it. After 10 years, "Election" still wins my vote.            
Bill Kallay

Special thanks to Click Communications

Photos: Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.
Blu-ray Quick Glimpse



Funny and dark comedy

Director: Alexander Payne

Cast: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein 



Picture: Very Good
Sound: Good

No real geek out on this Blu-ray to speak of

Aspect Ratio (2.39:1)

Dolby TrueHD

January 20, 2009
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