I, Tonya Blu-ray Review
Based on irony free, wildly contradictory, totally true interviews.
I, Tonya Film Review
The gritty, darkly witty biography of figure-skater Tonya Harding provides a tremendous acting vehicle for star Margot Robbie.The colourful life of self-proclaimed redneck figure skater Tonya Harding is almost too crazy to believe, and Craig Gillespie's biography does its best to embrace the wacky outlandishness of the real-life events, painting a mockumentary-style feature which would be (and arguably still is) hilarious, if it weren't the tragic truth.
Pieced together from a number of contradictory interviews, conducted by screenwriter Steven Rogers in preparation for the production, from the real individuals involved (which are reenacted for camera here), the film details the tortured history of Tonya, her abuse at the hands of just about everybody around her, and the twisted path that led to several pinnacles of skating glory and one tragic and horrific event.
An uncomfortably compelling watch, with Robbie at her best.
After standing out in both Wolf of Wall Street and Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie has well earned a decent lead role, landing this juicy part which affords her the chance to get her teeth into a really meaty, complex character. Clearly borne from decades of trauma - both physical and psychological - Robbie embraces the relentless force of nature that was Tonya Harding, revealing the dark underbelly to this tragic and disgraced American icon.
With support from West Wing alumni Allison Janney, on fiery Oscar-winning form as the horrible mother, Winter Soldier's Sebastien Stan as her abusive husband, it's really Robbie's baby, earning an Oscar nod for her troubles, which was the least she deserved.
Gillespie crafts a funky, vibrant little piece full of zeal and energy, unapologetically telling the dark and almost absurd true story with all the attitude you'd only expect from a story about Tonya Harding. It's an uncomfortably compelling watch, with Robbie at her best.
I, Tonya Blu-ray PictureI, Tonya comes to UK Blu-ray courtesy of Entertainment One, who deliver a Region B-locked disc with a strong and faithful 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen (and fullscreen 1.33:1 inserts for the faux interview clips).
It's not exactly a striking film - quite the opposite - drenched in 80s/90s muted tones and occasionally garish colours, not only abiding by the stylistic period intentions but also the mockumentary approach, replete with some really dodgy (intentionally so) video snippets and plenty of fullscreen interview bites.
It's a gritty film with a gritty presentation.
Despite all of this detail holds up pretty well, with a thick swathe of likely stylistically applied grain pervading the piece, but close-ups pleasing and textures evident. Tonya's beatings look visibly painful, and the digitally augmented skating sequences hold up quite well (although who knows how they would fare under the precision eye of 4K UHD), with only a few looking like out-and-out green screen work.
The colour scheme makes the most of Tonya's colourful outfits, juxtaposed with the white ice, otherwise buried by the often dated and not particularly refined home environments. It's a gritty film with a gritty presentation; perfectly faithful to the style but not particularly useful to show off your equipment with.
I, Tonya Blu-ray SoundIt's the song tracks that really stand out, a highlight on a very good track.
The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track is bursting with period song tracks both diegetic and non-diegetic, on and off of the ice, providing clear and regular highlights that bring the track to life and help punctuate the quieter interstitial interview segments.
Dialogue remains firmly prioritised, never less than clear and coherent throughout, whilst effects include a couple of gunshots, plenty of camera flashes and car engine noises, a few painful punches and incidents of abuse, and some raucous crowd moments that span out across the surrounds and draw you into the intense skating sequences. It's the score's song tracks, however, that really stand out, remaining a highlight on the otherwise still very good, but not quite demo, audio track.
I, Tonya Blu-ray ExtrasA few nice extras.
The UK Blu-ray release of I, Tonya affords it a few nice extras headlined by an Audio Commentary from Director Craig Gillespie. There's also a quarter-hour Making-of which is split into a series of smaller segments and peppered with interview snippets from the cast and crew. Over a quarter of an hour of Deleted Scenes and a few Trailers round out the disc.
I, Tonya VerdictA mockumentary-style feature which would be (and arguably still is) hilarious, if it weren't the tragic truth.
The UK Blu-ray release of I, Tonya affords the punchy, gritty star vehicle for Margot Robbie strong and faithful video and a zesty soundtrack, with a decent selection of extra features that covers the bases. It's worth checking out.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £12.99
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