DVD & Blu-ray reviews: From Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler to Robert Downey Jr in The Judge

Jake Gyllenhaal perfectly captures this modern-day Travis Bickle/Rupert Pupkin in Dan Gilroy’s searing indictment of the media

Nightcrawler (15) Dan Gilroy DVD/Blu-ray (117mins)

Louis Bloom, a petty thief who steals from construction sites, chances upon a car wreck being filmed one night and figures that documenting human tragedy in LA would suit his sociopathic skill set. So psychotically driven Louis hocks a stolen bike for a camcorder and a police scanner, and forges a career as an incident chaser, selling gruesome footage to Rene Russo’s icy TV producer. Jake Gyllenhaal perfectly captures this modern-day Travis Bickle/Rupert Pupkin in Dan Gilroy’s searing indictment of the media (it recalls Sidney Lumet’s Network) and society’s sicker urges.

*****

Mr Turner (12) Mike Leigh DVD/Blu-ray (150mins)

“You’re a loose cannon, rolling about the ship,” a sailor informs JMW Turner, who has himself tied to a mast during a storm. Timothy Spall grunts, scowls and harrumphs as the artist, who shuns his family (apart from his loyal father, played by Paul Jesson), exploits his anxious maid (Dorothy Atkinson, excellent) and paints wonderful sunsets (“Sun is God,” he exclaims on his death bed). Mike Leigh’s singular period drama looks sumptuous, like a Turner canvas, and Bafta should hold their heads in collective shame for not recognising Spall’s whole-hearted performance.

****

 

Pride (15) Matthew Warchus DVD/Blu-ray (119mins)

“Dai, your gays have arrived,” Gwen (Menna Trussler) yells when the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) arrive in Onllwyn, a mining village in Wales. The LGSM, led by the charismatic Mark (Ben Schnetzer), channel their fundraising skills into the Eighties miner’s strike. While the tolerant likes of Dai (Paddy Considine) and Hefina (Imelda Staunton) welcome the help, other members of the community don’t. Pride, which is in the Brassed Up and Billy Elliot mould of British comedy dramas, is a beautifully acted film which celebrates, above all, compassion.

****

The Judge (15) David Dobkin DVD/Blu-ray (141mins)

Robert Downey Jr is the cocky lawyer forced to represent his arrogant old man (Robert Duvall), who happens to be a judge, in a murder case. The smooth- talker has to pit his skills against Billy Bob Thornton’s wily prosecutor. Will the formerly estranged father and son reconnect? What do you reckon? Vera Farmiga co-stars in this undemanding, rather comforting legal drama. Duvall and Downey Jr play their roles exactly as you would imagine they would.

***

Keeping Rosy (15) Steve Reeves DVD/Blu-ray (93mins)

When childless Charlotte is passed over for promotion, effectively making her redundant, the peeved careerist returns to her Docklands flat, fires her Polish cleaner for smoking and then, for good measure, kills her. Then she decides to bring up her former help’s baby. It takes an impressive actress to garner any sympathy for this beastly character, but the excellent Maxine Peake manages it in this fraught and increasingly absurd urban drama.

**

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