Click above to purchase "The Claim" at amazon.com
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 108 minutes
Starring Wes Bentley, Milla Jovovich, Nastassja
Kinski, Peter Mullan, Sarah Polley
Screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Based on he book "The Mayor Of Casterbridge" by Thomas
Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Retail Price: $26.98
Features: Theatrical Trailer
Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby
Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Closed Captions,
French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search (16
If there's a movie that got overlooked at Oscar® time
last year, it's got to be "The Claim". Released very smally
in 2000, the film got good reviews and a lot of buzz but not
enough to catch voters attention. It was later re-released
briefly in 2001. However, it was not enough. The film barely
made anything at the box office, however, it's now on DVD
and if you like a good drama, you should check it out and
see what the (small) fuss was about. This movie isn't for
everybody and I can see a lot of people getting bored with
it, but if you have the patience and really like good
cinema, you won't be disappointed. Hopefully more people
will check it out on video and DVD.
The film is based on a book, and follows the events in
the town Kingdom Come. Donald Dalglish is a railroad planner
who is being bothered by a wealthy man named Daniel Dillon
who knows that if he wants to continue his propserity, he
needs a railroad to come through his town. However, things
come to a halt when a mother and daughter named Elena and
Hope arrive. What do they hold and how they are important to
this story? I'd rather not say but let's just say this: the
past comes back to haunt. The film deals with a lot of
betrayal, drama and romance that moves nicely.
This film can be slow at times, but in the end it is a
pretty rewarding experience. Again, this film won't knock
everyone's socks off... people are sure to find this boring.
But it's rich in its story. Great dialogue and great
scenarios really move the plot along. The setting also has a
role of its own. The bleak, cold and underwhelming snowy
environment comes to represent a lot of the story.
Michael Winterbottom, who's work I've tremendously
enjoyed, does a fantastic job here. The camerawork is
stunning and beautiful with many marvelous wide shots. The
editing is also good and so are the costumes and art design,
but the performances here were really Oscar®-worthy and
tremendous. Wes Bentley has a lot going for him, while
Kinski and Jovovich show a lot of their stuff. Still, the
two most impressive performers to me were Polley and Dillon.
They were really great and bring so much to their roles.
Both are so powerful and are the heart of the film. There's
so much to like about "The Claim". While not everyone will
appreciate it or get it, there's a lot to take in which film
lovers will eat up.
Despite some little annoyances, "The Claim" looks
terrific. The transfer is pretty sharp most of the time, but
sometimes it can be soft and grainy. Blemishes and scratches
plague the print but are never too distracting. Shimmering
is present sometimes but it's annoying. The rich landscapes
of the Sierra Nevada mountains are quite lavish, while
detail and black levels are excellent. This film is
beautiful with all the great shots I talked about, and the
white snow and bleak colors really show off the film's
presentation. A very good transfer that really gives off the
majesty of the movie.
"The Claim" has a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and it's quite
good. There's a lot of nice subtle surrounds to bring the
speakers to life. The winds roaring in the background, the
beautiful Michael Nyman score, horses trotting, doors
closing and footsteps. A lot of stuff does stand out without
overpowering the viewer. It's usually a lot of the little
things that bring it to life, but there are some other
sequences. A very good track for the source material.
English closed captions, French and Spanish subtitles plus a
Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital track is included.
Despite a price higher than usual and the critical kudos,
MGM has only included an anamorphic Theatrical
Trailer. Go figure.
"The Claim" is a marvelous film, but it probably won't
appeal to everyone. Still, if you like a rich drama you owe
it to yourself to see "The Claim". You won't be
(4/5 - NOT included in
NOT an average)