Feb 152017
 

American Pastoral receives, let’s say, mediocre reviews but for my money, I found all of the performances genuine and the story rather compelling, if not outright depressing and sad; for his first outing as director, Ewan McGregor did a fine job.

 

 

American Pastoral
(2016)

Genre(s): Drama
Lionsgate | R – 108 min. – $24.99 | February 7, 2017

Date Published: 02/15/2017 | Author: The Movieman

 


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by:
Ewan McGregor
Writer(s): Philip Roth (novel); John Romano (screenplay)
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning, Peter Riegert, Rupert Evans, Uzo Aduba, Molly Parker, Samantha Mathis, David Strathairn
DISC INFO:
Features:
Audio Commentary, Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray, DVD
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 46.0 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

 


THE MOVIE — 3.75/5


Plot Synopsis: Seymour “Swede” Levov (EWAN MCGREGOR), a once-legendary high school athlete, is a successful businessman married to an ex-beauty queen, Dawn (JENNIFER CONNELLY). When Swede and Dawn’s daughter (DAKOTA JOHNSON) disappears after being accused of planting a bomb – at the height of 1960s protests – at a local post office that resulted in a death, Swede’s perfect life is broken forever and he is left to make sense out of the chaos.

Quick Hit Review: American Pastoral is an adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and, from what I’ve read, might not have stuck close to the book, but having never read it, I’m looking at this strictly as a movie and while hardly perfect, with some slow pacing in spots, I found it to be an emotionally engaging drama featuring a pair of quality performances by Ewan McGregor and Jennifer Connelly, as well as Fanning in her limited role. In addition, David Strathairn makes appearance at the beginning and end adding his weight to a thin character who serves to tell the story; Molly Parker for her part has a couple fine scenes, playing a psychiatrist, including an intense one with McGregor.

This is less about the protests of the era but instead the undying love of a father toward a daughter who, following the bomb, is intent on spending the rest of her life in penance for her action. Under the direction of Ewan McGregor marking his debut, he’s efficient in the director’s chair telling a basic story that contrasts the idyllic era that was the 50s with the turbulence, both physically and metaphorically, of the 1960s on the outside and within his family as a once cheerful daughter turned hateful toward not only the world, but her parents, with special emphasis on her mother.

No, American Pastoral isn’t perfect and I can’t attest to how closely it follows the best-selling novel, but for my money, the emotions came across as genuine and the performances all around were well done.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.5/5


This release comes with a matted slip cover. Inside is a DVD Copy and a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. The features are relatively light but there is an Audio Commentary with Actor/Director Ewan McGregor, where he shows plenty of charisma while providing anecdotal stories, and two featurettes: American Pastoral: Adapting an American Classic (28:02; HD) and Making the American Dream (17:38; HD) both including interviews members of the cast and crew discussing the source material and respective characters.

PreviewsDeepwater Horizon, Our Kind of Traitor, Hacksaw Ridge, Indignation

 


VIDEO – 4.0/5


Lionsgate releases American Pastoral onto Blu-ray presented with an AVC-encoded 1080p high-definition transfer and in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio. The tone, both in plot and look, is fairly dark but still there were pops in color while detail was comparatively sharp throughout. There were no apparent bouts of artifacts, aliasing or banding so it is a clean looking transfer.

AUDIO – 3.5/5


The disc comes with a standard but effective DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. For a movie that is mostly dialogue driven, with the exception of one explosion and a few minutes of protest scenes, which makes the most usage of the front channel while the rear speakers are relegated for ambient noises and Alexandre Desplat’s emotional score (The Danish Girl).

 


OVERALL – 3.25/5


Overall, American Pastoral receives, let’s say, mediocre reviews but for my money, I found all of the performances genuine and the story rather compelling, if not outright depressing and sad; for his first outing as director, Ewan McGregor did a fine job. This Blu-ray released by Lionsgate has good video, so-so audio and an okay selection of bonus material.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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