Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Love Ranch (DVD Review)

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Courtesy of eOne Films

Dir: Taylor Hackford (Proof of Life, Dolores Claiborne)
Cast: Helen Mirren, Joe Pesci, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Gina Gershon, Taryn Manning
USA, 2010

Reason to see: Helen Mirren is always a yes in my book.

When sitting down to watch Love Ranch, I was suprized to see the notation that it was inspired by true events but it's the kind of story that feels like it has to be inspired by the truth for you to believe it. And I did. Helen Mirren stars as the brothel madam Grace, who together with her husband Charlie (Joe Pesci) runs the Love Ranch. It's clear that Grace is really the one that runs the operation though, and is asked to take on even more when Charlie asks her to be manager to the boxer Bruza (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) on top of everything else.

Turns out more love goes on than just behind the doors of the ranch as our madam Grace becomes the subject of courting to Bruza. I found it particularly refreshing to see this unlikely, yet great, on screen romance between an older woman and a younger man and both Helen Mirren and Sergio Peris-Mencheta do a great job in their roles both with the chemistry together and in the individual scenes. I liked how the film didn't gloss over or over romanticize the relationship nor the daily life of working in a brother or being a boxer. It was very down to earth, but without being gritty but just rather practical. That was a happy surprize.

Seeing Helen Mirren in action is always a delight and that is the shining light of Love Ranch. She's great in every scene, be it being the tough as nails madam, confounded wife or more vulnerable with Bruza. Sergio Peris-Mencheta is really great here as the charismatic but slightly down on his luck boxer, whose trying to make the best of things. Interesting characters with an interesting journey in what feels like finding something in the unlikeliest of places.

DVD Extras:
  • Audio commentary with director Taylor Hackford - very by the numbers commentary on exactly what is happening in the scene, what it means, the tone they were going for and why. I found it surprizing as it left no interpretation to the viewer as it was from the 'this is what we did, and why, and that's how it is' perspective. I did enjoy the notations to how it aligned to the people which it was inspired by and what happened to them in their lives and if it was at all different from the depiction in the film.
  • Introduction by director Taylor Hackford and actor Helen Mirren (8 minutes) film introduction noting inspiration and focus of the film as well as highlighting several of the deleted scenes which are also included in the extras.
  • Deleted Scenes with optional commentary (30 scenes, 57 minutes) wow, this is the most extensive deleted scenes footage I've ever seen. Not only do we have 30 scenes and almost an hour of footage, but there is also the optional audio commentary by director Taylor Hackford but there is also each scene has a title card introducing the scene name with context. Very extensive.
Love Ranch is available on DVD as of November 9, 2010. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed the performances and how it showcased a not often seen relationship between an older woman & younger man
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it to fans of frank dramas

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

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Courtesy of eOne Films - Joe Pesci & Helen Mirren

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Courtesy of eOne Films -Sergio Peris-Mencheta & Helen Mirren

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Courtesy of eOne Films -Sergio Peris-Mencheta

1 comment:

Suzie Ridler said...

Wow, now this is not the kind of movie I was expecting to see here recommended but after reading your review Shannon, I may reconsider my first impressions. Well written, nicely done!

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