Molly's Game Blu-ray Review
One Good Woman
Molly's Game Film Review
Aaron Sorkin's Molly's Game is an impressive directorial debut from the master scriptwriter behind The West Wing and A Few Good Men, with Jessica Chastain finally given a worthy leading role.Having honed his talents writing some tremendous scripts and stage plays, and finally winning an Oscar for The Social Network, Sorkin ventures behind the camera to craft a compelling look at the life of Molly Bloom, taking her published memoirs about running an underground poker club for the rich elite and - as it turns out - some criminal elite too, and fashioning them into a punchy and powerful biopic driven by a great protagonist, some colourful characters and some even more impressive performances.
Using plenty of clever non-linear techniques (it might be safe to conclude that no modern biopic would dare telling a linear story as is presumably the format of the original source autobiography), Sorkin not only starts us off in media res, but arguably towards the end of the tale, with poker queen Molly Bloom getting arrested by the FBI, before intermittently taking us back in time not only to the events that led up to her arrest but also the childhood events that made her the woman she was.
Making something out of nothing.
Chastain owns the part of Molly, and it feels like a lead she's been waiting for her entire career, having impressed in supporting roles in Interstellar and The Martian, and gathered acclaim for Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life and, as the lead, in Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty. She was wasted in The Huntsman: Winter's War and on more impressive form in Miss Sloane, even if the story wasn't as great as she deserved, but here she makes the movie, with only possibly Kevin Costner's scene-stealing cameo threatening to de-throne her.
Through sharp writing Sorkin takes an admittedly incredulous and undeniably lightweight story, and fashion it into something special, with Chastain driving the piece across the finishing line, the two of them very literally making something out of nothing, and giving us an almost must-see biopic, which feels original, and is utterly riveting, but which is actually likely nothing we haven't seen before, even from Sorkin himself (A Few Good Men looked at similar themes of honour).
Molly's Game Blu-ray PictureMolly's Game comes to UK Region B-locked Blu-ray courtesy of Entertainment One, complete with a strong 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen.
It's a very good presentation of a glossy and stylish film, marred slightly by the fact that, for such a stylish piece, it doesn't quite look as good as it should.
It's a very good presentation of a glossy and stylish film.
Detail is certainly impressive, affording the piece excellent clarity that revels in the shiny near-perfect visage of its protagonist and the greying but perfectly trimmed beard of Elba, whilst enjoying the seedy textures of the opening locales and then the more decadent mahogany feel of the high-end poker rooms later established.
For as stylish a piece it is, it trades in a few too many digital defects, with fleeting evidence of both banding and variable grain, the former appears almost from the outset. Hardly a deal-breaker, there are still just enough unjustifiable reservations to prevent this from quite being the demo or reference piece that it should have otherwise easily been.
Molly's Game Blu-ray SoundThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track has the opposite issues, trading in a broader, more technically competent track than arguably the material can fully utilise.
It's hardly an expansive feature, with a few nice ambient noises, some brief instances of more visceral, punchy impact, and a solid score, but nothing really to explore the limits of the sound array.
A very good track which doesn't have the material to elevate it to demo territory.
Dialogue is - as you would only expect from a Sorkin piece - easily the most important aspect of the production, and is given corresponding weight and priority over the frontal array.
There are some nice effects, with the ski sequences particularly bracing, but it's all about the atmosphere here, and ambient, natural noises are well-realised. The score gives the surrounds yet more to do and round out a solid, at times very good - and certainly technically proficient - track which simply doesn't quite have the material required to elevate it to demo territory.
Molly's Game Blu-ray ExtrasA three-minute Featurette leaves this bare bones in all but name.
Molly's Game Blu-ray VerdictMolly's Game follows the familiar biopic structure, right down to the now-cliched non-linear narrative format, remaining remarkable entirely due to Sorkin's trademark razor-sharp writing and the lead acting performance of Jessica Chastain (supported by Idris Elba but, more notably, by a scene-stealing Kevin Costner). It's certainly much more effective first time around, but a second watch at home proves it's still no slouch.
A second watch at home proves it's still no slouch.
Entertainment One's Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release delivers the stylish film with very good video and sound, and whilst it's let down in the extras department, it's still a solid release.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
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