Our Brand is Crisis (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 20-Apr-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Sandra Bullock: A Role Like No Other (11:00)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 107:31
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Gordon Green
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Sandra Bullock
Billy Bob Thornton
Anthony Mackie
Joaquim De Almeida
Scoot McNairy
Ann Dowd
Louis Arcella
Zoe Kazan

Case ?
RPI ? Music Dave Wingo


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Chinese
Korean
Arabic
Croatian
Czech
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Thai
Turkish
Smoking Yes, constantly
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Political strategist Jane “Calamity Jane” Bodine (Sandra Bullock) has been out in the wilderness, physically and literally, for six years following a succession of scandals and failed political campaigns when she is approached by Ben (Anthony Mackie) and Nell (Ann Dowd) to come to Bolivia to help with the campaign for President of Pedro Castillo (Joaquim de Almeida), a rich, conservative senator who is trailing the populist candidate Victor Rivera (Louis Arcella) badly in the polls. Castillo has an image problem and had also been president 15 years before when people protesting against his policies had been shot. Jane is not interested until she is told that Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton), her nemesis who has bested her in every campaign they had fought, was advising Rivera.

     Jane travels to La Plaz where she joins the other US advisors including Buckley (Scoot McNairy). However Jane, suffering from altitude sickness and unable to warm to Castillo, finds it difficult to get involved until Candy pulls some underhanded tricks and Jane meets Eduardo (Reynaldo Pachero), an idealistic young man from the slums on Castillo’s team. From there things become very personal for Jane; she orchestrates and manipulates a rebadging of Castillo as a strong and experienced man capable of managing Bolivia’s “crisis” and enlists the dirt-digging researcher LeBlanc (Zoe Kazan). Thereafter the campaign becomes one of half-truths, lies, innuendo and dirty tricks. Game on! May the most amoral team win!

     Our Brand is Crisis, directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express (2008), is based on the 2005 documentary of the same name by Rachel Boynton which told the story of the involvement of US political advisors in the 2002 Bolivian presidential election. Our Brand is Crisis changes the originally male protagonist to the female character played by Sandra Bullock, who is very good and very watchable as “Calamity Jane” Bodine, and her interactions and byplay with Billy Bob Thornton are the film’s highlight, although there are a lot of funny lines as well as laugh out moments. When the film sticks to the electioneering and machinations, the unfolding and unravelling of dirty tricks, it is both sobering and amusing, although if anything it is rather too light-hearted for its own good so that Jane’s revelation at the end seems too sudden and does not have the impact it might have had in a slightly more hard-hearted political expose.

     Our Brand is Crisis tries to have it both ways, as both an expose of electioneering skulduggery and as the journey towards enlightenment of the central character. Nevertheless, Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton are always worth watching and the film holds the interest, is funny in places and the dirty tricks are intriguing.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Our Brand is Crisis is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, close to the original 1.85:1 ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Our Brand is Crisis was shot on film stock and looks lovely! Detail is pristine, the colours in both interiors and exteriors are deep, rich and lush, everything having a rich golden hue. Blacks are solid and shadow detail excellent, skin tones are natural, brightness and contrast consistent.

     Other than some slight blur with motion against mottled surfaces I did not notice any artefacts or marks.

     A range of European and Asian subtitles are available as well as English for the hearing impaired and Arabic.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Feature audio is English DTS-HD MA 5.1 while also available is an English descriptive audio and Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Thai and Turkish dubs, all Dolby Digital 5.1.

     The film features a lot of dialogue which is always centred and easy to understand. The surrounds and rears provided a nice enveloping presence with music, engines, crowd noises on the street or at a bar, while the stone throwing sequence was very effective. The sub-woofer did not call attention to itself but provided appropriate depth to the music, the stones and engines.

     The score by Dave Wingo had an Andean feel and was supported by South American and western songs, including ones by Tom Jones and Ten Years After.

     I saw no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Sandra Bullock: A Role Like No Other (11:00)

     Using on-set and film footage plus comments from Sandra Bullock, the director, producer and six of the other cast, this featurette looks at the changes made to the film when Bullock was cast and the character changed from a male to a female, the character of Jane Bodine, her character arc during the film and her revelation at the end. Light-weight, but a reasonable watch.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Blu-ray releases of Our Brand is Crisis are the same in all regions except for audio and subtitle options.

Summary

     The change to a central female character both helped and hindered Our Brand is Crisis. Sandra Bullock is both funny and very watchable but there seems a need to soften the underhanded Machiavellian machinations of her character and have her “repent” of her ways at the end. The result is that Our Brand is Crisis throughout is not as hard-edged or cynical of the electioneering process as it might have been. Nevertheless, in an election year here, a look at the advisors, strategists and the spin involved in political campaigns is never less than interesting.

     The video is very good, the audio fine; extras are minor but are the same as are available elsewhere.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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