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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Pride (Blu-ray)
Pride (Blu-ray)
Sony Pictures // R // December 23, 2014 // Region A
List Price: $34.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Oktay Ege Kozak | posted December 17, 2014 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
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Highly Recommended
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The Movie:

Pride is one of the best examples of the "Conservative working class Brits face socially controversial change and learn to grow as a result" British comedies pioneered by the likes of Full Monty, Billy Elliot and Calendar Girls. Its simple yet effective messages of tolerance, compassion and the importance of solidarity are delivered with an infectiously positive approach that doesn't slip into lazy pandering or condescension.

The screenplay is loosely based on the real story of the London gay community deciding to help the miners during a massive strike in 1984. Upon realizing that the miners are vilified and misunderstood by the public, the politicians and the media, just like the gay community was at the time, they decide to fight for the miners' rights for a better life.

Of course as it happens with many films based on real stories, there's some controversy surrounding how truthful the fictionalized version is to the real events. Whether or not the film loyally depicts the miners' initial awkwardness of the gay community's support along with their eventual acceptance of them is irrelevant. What matters is if the final product is entertaining, inspiring and emotionally satisfying. Since Pride accomplishes all three, it works perfectly well as it is.

It's beyond a doubt that the premise itself is ripe for comedy gold. You put open minded and sometimes-flamboyant gay characters in a depressing mining town drowning in grayscale amongst gruff working class miners, the jokes practically write themselves, as admitted by screenwriter Stephen Beresford in the documentary included on the disc.

However, Beresford still manages to steer away from an overreliance on obvious jokes (Even though there are enough of those, including the women of the Welsh mining town predictably cutting it loose once they enter a gay bar in London) as he puts more weight on character development while letting the humor emerge from the construction of three-dimensional personalities.

The story is told from the perspective of Joe (George McKay), an impressionable young man still in the closet, being taken in by the gay community's efforts to help the miners, a movement implemented and led by the charismatic Mark (Ben Schnetzer). The group calling themselves Lesbians and Gays Support The Miners (LGSM) are surprised by the Welsh town's overall acceptance of their presence, but a minority of dissenters become dedicated to kick them out. Meanwhile, Joe struggles to come out to his parents as he becomes more and more inspired by the unusual alliance between the miners and the LGSM.

All of the three act beats of such a comedy are all predictably there. If you've seen any of the films mentioned above, you can set your watch or Smartphone to the story conflicts and resolutions that will appear at every step. What it does have to cover up for that is loads of energy, enthusiasm and genuine need to entertain and inspire the audience.

The Blu-Ray:

Video:

Pride comes with a clean and beautiful 1080p transfer that does justice to the bright colors of the London gay scene as well as the gray and grainy palette of the mining town. Devoid of any noticeable video noise, it's a near-stellar presentation.

Audio:

The DTS-HD 5.1 surround track is the only one offered on the disc. For a comedy, Pride offers a quite powerful audio presentation. Even though the surround channels don't get much of a workout, the handful of impromptu musical scenes might have you tapping your toes. The discrepancy between the dialogue and music levels (It's understandable that music is mixed at a higher volume) works well on a surround system, but the mixdown might force those listening to the film out of TV speakers to keep their fingers on the volume button. I wish a 2.0 mix was also given as an option.

Extras:

Deleted and Extended Scenes: Ten minutes of short scenes, most of them briefly extended from sequences already in the film. Nothing vital here.

The True Story: This twenty-minute featurette shows interviews from the cast and crew about the real events, as well as testimonials from the real people. It was surprising to find how some of the characterizations in the movie resembled their real counterparts.

Final Thoughts:

Containing an impressive cast of legendary British actors like Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine and Imelda Staunton, who are yet to disappoint us with anything resembling a bad performance, Pride is a crowd-pleaser with a lot of heart.

Oktay Ege Kozak is a film critic and screenwriter based in Portland, Oregon. He also writes for The Playlist, The Oregon Herald, and Beyazperde.com

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