drama DVD and movie reviews and previews from curledupdvd.com - curled up with a good dvd
drama DVD reviews and previews from curledupdvd.com - curled up with a good dvd
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North Country - drama DVD review
North Country rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 stars
Actors: Charlize Theron, Elle Peterson, Thomas Curtis, Frances McDormand, Sean Bean
Director: Niki Caro   Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD release: 21 Feb. 2006   Runtime: 123 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Subtitles (English, Spanish, French), Audio tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1; French, Dolby Digital 5.1), Additional scenes, Making-of documentary, Theatrical trailer

Based on a book by Clara Bingham and directed by Niki Caro, North Country stars Charlize Theron (Monster, Aeon Flux) as Josey Aimes, a worker at the Eveleth Mines in Minnesota. The story centers on Josey's struggles - and legal battles - to get equal rights for the women who work at the Eveleth Mines.

Though there are strong performances by Frances McDormand (Glory), Sissy Spacek (Alice Aimes) and Charlize Theron, overall the movie falls flat even with the strong moments it shows during the first four-fifths of the movie. North Country does portray a serious issue in a serious way, but the last-minute extreme turnaround ending and the all-painted-with-the-same-brush vision of the men as sick, devious perverts is too heavy-handed. It's one abusive encounter after another, all playing the same note: domination by the ignorant male with the consequence of female degradation, subjugation, and/or victimization -take your pick.

For almost the entire movie, anyone closely associated with Josey is against her - her mother, her father, her friends, even her son. This in itselfmight have made for a deeply moving family drama. But the odds being so stacked against Josey makes you begin to feel you are only watching this to see her being abused and unjustly accused for nearly two hours. Though compelling for some for the first hour and forty-five minutes, the movie crash lands with a Perry Mason-like reversal where everything is wrapped up quick and neat. Even if you give in to dramatic license, the courtroom fireworks at the end undermine what otherwise could be seen as strong performances by all the actors in the film. Even Woody Harrelson, the goofy bartender of Cheers fame is excellent in his performance minus the absurdly contrived courtroom ending. It's hard to totally slam this solely based on the courtroom histrionics and difficult to forgive at the same time.

The DVD is light on extras: subtitles in French, Spanish, and English, a making-of documentary, and theatrical trailer. It's no surprise this movie didn't do well at the box office despite having Charlize Theron fresh off her Oscar-winning performance in Monster. The acting is worthy of the critics' praise, but the ending leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
reviewed by Bobby Blades
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