David Mamet's latest movie is certainly different from his last film, "The Spanish Prisoner". That film dealt with a con game between two men who battled with only their wits. "The Winslow Boy" is a well-acted, simple story that is actually rated G. The story revolves around a young boy named Ronnie Winslow who is accused of stealing a postal order. The son pleads his innocence to his family and especially his father, who decides to start an intense battle to prove that his child is innocent. Sir Robert Morton (Jeremy Northam) is soon called in to defend the boy. Soon, not only the family but the lawyer finds that the intensity of their fight is draining their finances and begining to ruin them.
Although there are times when I felt that the story began to be slightly dragged out a little too long, there are wonderful things that are done with the plot. Where it seems that the story will be a courtroom drama about the fight towards justice for the boy, it turns out to be something completely different. The movie focuses not out the courtroom drama(although we are shown how big the case has begun to get), but the way that the tension of the case has turned on the emotions of the characters. It's a film mainly about character, and the way that Mamet is able to build tension from the simplest of sequences. The sharp delivery of Mamet's characters adds to the riveting conversations.
The performances are quite good, especially Nigel Hawthorne and Jeremy Northam. While I didn't find "Winslow Boy" as involving as "The Spanish Prisoner", it's still a very well-acted movie that deserves a look on DVD.
VIDEO: This is a gorgeous transfer from Tristar and aside from a few small scratches here and there, it's beautiful and very close to perfect. The image is perfectly sharp and clear, but what really is impressive are the rich, deep colors - colors are well-saturated, bright and marvelous looking at times, with no problems at all, such as bleeding. Black level is excellent, and flesh tones are accurate throughout.
There really isn't anything wrong aside from the previously mentioned flaw of a couple of small marks on the print used. There's no shimmering, no pixelation, no nothing. An incredibly smooth, clean image throughout, Tristar has done a great job with this DVD.
SOUND: A very basic, dialogue-driven sound mix. There really isn't anything at all in this film to the audio besides conversations between characters. Dialogue sounds clear, but a little on the soft side in volume at times.
MENUS:: Although animated menus certainly would have been effective in introducing us to a film like this, the non-animated menus that New Line has put together are still effective and easily navigated.
Commentary: Tristar has brought a great group together for this DVD edition of "The Winslow Boy". On this track are writer/director David Mamet, actress Rebecca Pidgeon and actors Jeremy Northam and Nigel Hawthorne. A great deal of this commentary is devoted to the group's thoughts on acting style, as well as comments on the way that members of the cast played their parts.
There really isn't much discussion into the technical aspects of the movie; the group mainly focuses on the acting and the history behind the story. There are also a number of instances where Mamet talks about stories that happened on-set with the production. The director really does lead the commentary, doing a lot of the talking and occasionally asking the other members of the discussion their thoughts on a certain scene.
It's a very interesting and informative commentary and occasionally, the group does make a very funny joke or two about the film or a particular performance.
Trailers: Trailers for "The Winslow Boy" and Mamet's "The Spanish Prisoner".
Featurette: An above-average featurette that's a few minutes in length. It provides interviews with all of the cast members as well as Mamet, and gives the viewer a good idea behind the production and history of the play.
Also Talent files.
Final Thoughts Definitely worth looking into, although if you haven't seen Mamet's "Spanish Prisoner", I'd recommend that first.