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“Million Dollar Baby” - {Blu-ray}
Reviewer:
Taylor Carlson
Studio: Warner Bros.
Genre:
Drama
Release Date:
11/14/06
Special Features:

James Lipton Takes On Three, Born To Fight, Producers Round 15, Trailer

Review:

Million Dollar Baby is directed by Clint Eastwood. The film stars Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and Hilary Swank. ***

Frankie Dunn (Eastwood), an aging boxing trainer, reluctantly takes Maggie Fitzgerald (Swank), a 30-something waitress under his wing, upon the insistence of his long-time friend and fellow fighter (Freeman.) Although she begins to experience success in the ring, Fitzgerald still continues to struggle in her relationship with her highly dysfunctional family. And when she falls victim to a tragedy in the ring, Dunn must face the most difficult decision of his life. ***

Clint Eastwood is a great director and actor alike. Over the years, he has proven himself a master of both these trades on several occasions. With a repertoire as impressive as his, it is difficult to pick a single best film. Even in his old age, Eastwood is still going strong. If Million Dollar Baby isn't his finest effort to date on both ends of the camera, it is damn close. ***

This is dramatic filmmaking at its finest. Eastwood paints a realistic, down-to-earth dramatic picture with this film. The trio of stars (including Eastwood himself) gives the performances of their careers - no one is overacting or winking at the camera. The movie makes no attempt to glorify Maggie's journey - even Eastwood's character comes off as unsympathetic early on, but this gradually changes due to his mastery on the other side of the camera. The film lasts over 2 hours, but Eastwood doesn't take the easy way out and give audiences a happy, storybook ending. In fact, the ending is going to spark debate amongst nearly all viewers. ---

Image And Sound:

The movie was a fairly early Blu-Ray release, but it doesn't look half bad on the format. It isn't reference quality, but it is a solid transfer that respects the film crew's intentions. This is in all ways a step up from the DVD version, and doesn't feature any annoying enhancements. ***

Sadly, the audio is not an upgrade over the DVD. If you're looking for reference-quality audio, you won't find it here, but I doubt fans are going to have any substantial complaints.

Special Features:

Not much on the disc, sadly, when you consider the amount of acclaim that it received. All we get are a few fairly short and shallow supplements. A movie this great deserved a better package.

Final Words:

Million Dollar Baby is Clint Eastwood doing what he does best. Dramatic, full of substance, effective characters, and an ending that is sure to spawn tears and controversy alike, this is one of his finest films to date. It won Best Picture - and it is a movie I can truly say deserved the honor. The lack of supplements on the disc is a bit disappointing, but I still highly recommend the disc on the quality of the movie alone.

 

 
 
 
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