|Year Of Production||2011|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Montrail 'Money' Brown
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary feature this year, Undefeated is the story of the lowly Manassas Tigers High School football team, from an impoverished region of North Memphis, as they struggle to overturn a tide of defeat that stretches back aeons. It is a stirring story, full of joy and tears.
Director/editor pair Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin were inspired to come to the school after seeing a newspaper article about a promising young athlete named O.C. Brown who lived part time with one of the team coaches so he could concentrate on his studies to get that all important college scholarship. In the course of filming him they found more remarkable people and built a story around three talented but troubled young footballers and their coach Bill Courtney.
Aside from O.C. Brown there is the studious Montrail "Money" Brown (no relation) who loves his football but realizes he is too small to play the game at higher levels. He wants to see out his last season at school and get good enough grades to enter college without a sporting scholarship. The hot-headed Chavis Daniels, just out of reform school, is a talented but entirely undisciplined player. It reads like a melting pot of Friday Night Lights and The Blind Side except these are real people, not scripted actors, and we get the privilege of following them every step of the way. Like Al Pacino bemoans in Any Given Sunday life, like football, is a game of inches.
Coach Courtney is a volunteer. He has been helping out with the football programme for 6 long years seeing hopes disappear into dust. The football programme at the school is underfunded and the team has survived by accepting homecoming engagements to play the slick schools where their job is simple - get thrashed unmercifully to the delirium of the other school home crowd. Coach Courtney has given his all to the team but, as his long suffering wife points out, he has children of his own to look after. The Coach realizes that it is about time he stepped back. Crucial and heartbreaking injuries, team divisions and the pressures of just passing school combine to make this a riveting film.
2009 looks to be his greatest year. The Seniors are talented guys but can he keep them on the field and not fighting long enough to win. We know from the outset that the film title is symbolic, after the Manassas Tigers get beaten in the first game of the season. There are 9 games to go. Can the team do what no Manassas team has done in 110 years - win a play-off game?
As with all good sports documentaries, including its kindred spirit Hoop Dreams, this is not really a film about football. It is about finding the strength to overcome obstacles and personal setbacks. As Coach Courtney says : " You think football builds character. It doesn't. Football reveals character."
Documentary fans will not be disappointed with the visual presentation of Undefeated. It was shot on High Definition digital video and presented in the cinema at a 1.85:1 ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The directors did the filming themselves and most of it is "in your face" cinematography. The camera peers deeply into the faces of the young men and their coach, examining their emotions through victory and defeat. It is not always perfect and there are some instances of noise throughout. They are minor and enhance the verite feel the film.
Otherwise, the colours are strong and the flesh tones are accurate.
There are no general subtitles. Some of the scenes are subtitled where voices are indistinct or the accents are too strong to be heard.
Undefeated comes with an English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound track running at 448 Kb/s.
For the most part, the documentary does not really require an expansive surround track. Most of the action comes from the centre channel. Apart from those moments mentioned above, which are subtitled, most of the dialogue can be easily understood. Coach Courtney speaks clearly and directly throughout, something he has to do to communicate with the boys. The young men themselves have quite strong Tennessee accents and you have to listen closely to catch everything.
Original music for the film is provided by Michael Brock, Daniel McMahon and Miles Nielsen. The music is appropriately contemplative one moment and joyous the next.
There are no technical problems with the sound.
|Surround Channel Use|
The only extra provided is the theatrical trailer which gives a good introduction to the film.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This DVD is due for a 2013 DVD and Blu-ray release in Region 1.
Undefeated may induce groans as yet another uplifting sports story. Just like The Blind Side this is a story of young men in the south struggling and overcoming adversity. But unlike that film, where a pep talk from Sandra Bullock on the sideline can suddenly change the team's fortune, these are battles for the barest of glories.
The DVD is of fine quality both in sound and vision terms. There are no extras.
|DVD||Cambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Pioneer SC-LX 81 7.1|
|Speakers||Aaron ATS-5 7.1|