There’s not a lot on offer this month as we reach the DVDs of the limbo period between Summer and Awards Season. There are still a couple of great picks, and some new options for kids.
The Girl on the Train
Based on the best-seller, this adaptation boasts a great cast and director with an Oscar-winning book-to-screen adaptation already under his belt (The Help). However, the sum of these parts amounts to a pretty mediocre film that drags and may strain your attention a little as you attempt to wade through the muddle that should be a mystery. The film follows Emily Blunt’s Rachel, an unemployed alcoholic, who rides the train to and from New York everyday, watching a couple in their house as the train stops behind it. When the wife of this couple goes missing, on a night a drunken Rachel was in the area, she pushes her way into the situation, all the while unsure of her place in it.
Its red herrings aren’t convincingly placed, and with weakly drawn characters, its not quite the gripping thriller it sets out to be. It’s likely one that will vaguely entertain you as you slump sleepily on the sofa, but is quite forgettable in its cinematic form, and likely won’t be watched again.
Is it worth a Blu-ray? It’s visual element (one of its strengths) might be enhanced, but it won’t improve the film that much as a whole
Read the full review: ‘The Girl on the Train’ Review
I, Daniel Blake
Ken Loach’s BAFTA and Palme d’Or-winning drama is one of the most important films of past years. Its depiction of the issues with the UK’s benefits system, and the realities of the people who live under it, is incredibly powerful, and will hopefully humanise the situation for those who watch it. The film follows carpenter, Daniel Blake (Dave Johns), who, recently having suffered a major heart attack, has been forbidden, by doctors, from working, but not deemed unfit by the state (so does not receive his benefits. The film details his struggles to attempt to get some benefits from the system, as well as his growing friendship with single mother Katie (an incredible Hayley Squire), also struggling under benefits, and pushed to extremes.
It is filled with raw emotion and humanity; its sense of authenticity is one of its greatest strengths. It doesn’t turn real struggles into melodrama, it depicts them for what they are. It will both restore and destroy your faith in humanity with its mix of heart-breaking and empowering moments.
Is it worth a Blu-ray? This film’s struggle is in its emotions, so high-definition isn’t necessary
Read the full review: ‘I, Daniel Blake’ Review
Other films that are out include Miss Pelegrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Trolls, two of the well received (if not quite really acclaimed) children’s films of last year.