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Blackout

review by Zach B.

 

 

Not Rated

Running Time: 95 Minutes

Starring: Zoe Saldana, LaTanya Richardson-Jackson, Sean Blakemore, Jamie Hector, with Saul Rubinek, Melvin Van Peebles and Jeffrey Wright

Written and Directed by: Jerry LaMothe

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $24.99

Features: Meet Jerry LaMothe, Behind-The-Scenes Special, Meet The Cast, 2003 Blackout: True Stories, Deleted Scenes

Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (10 Scenes)

Released: February 5th, 2007

 

 

"Blackout" is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. It's a pretty good transfer, with accurate fleshtones, nice detail and solid color saturation that doesn't smear, and is vibrant for the most part. The streets of Brooklyn really look alive in this film, and there's definitely a nice texture and sharpness to the image quality overall. A bit distracting are some edge halos and mosquito noise, plus a little grain, but otherwise this is a strong transfer.

 

The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is also quite concise. Dialogue comes out clear and is easy to hear, and there are a few surround effects that certainly punch the track up and lend itself to the subwoofer a bit - namely when there's some looting and violence going on. George J. Fontenette's score sounds a bit mild, but certainly pleasant, through the channels. This is a suitable 5.1 mix overall.

English closed captions and subtitles are also included. 
 



Meet Jeremy LaMothe is a four minute interview conducted by Sophie Minnot of the Uptown Movie Network. It's a pretty concise if short interview: the soft-spoken LaMothe talks about his origins in the independent film world, and how he actually started out as an actor. Nice, despite the time restraint.

Also made for the Uptown Movie Network is a two minute Behind-The-Scenes Special. I don't know if you can call this a "special" if it really only lasts 120 seconds, but LaMothe talks about his inspiration for the film (living in Brooklyn during the 2003 blackout), and some of the cast - Jeffrey Wright, Saul Rubinek and a few others give their thoughts on what makes the film appealing.

Lasting the longest (and also from the Uptown Movie Network) is Meet The Cast, running a bit over seven minutes. The principal cast discuss their characters: their backgrounds, their motivations and conflicts. There's also footage of them interacting on the set. Pretty straightforward, but interesting nonetheless.

Helping give historical context to the film is 2003 Blackout: True Stories, where a few New Yorkers recall where they were when the blackout hit. Some stories are better than others.

Finally, there's about seven minutes worth of Deleted Scenes in anamorphic widescreen. There's no formal explanations why these were cut, but these scenes - some of which are extensions of moments in the film - are mainly a few character building moments that aren't crucial to the film as a whole.
 

"Blackout" is an intriguing, and somewhat harrowing look at the summer 2003 east coast blackout in Brooklyn. It's not a perfect film, but I felt Jerry LaMothe's intertwining character studies evoked a bit of Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing." The DVD is pretty nice overall, for those who may want to take a look: a solid presentation, and some short but sweet featurettes.