Blu-ray Review: Jackie

In 1963 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. America lost a president and Jackie Kennedy lost her husband. An iconic woman in her own right, Jackie looks at the time surrounding Kennedy’s assassination and how she dealt with that ordeal.

The films easly could have been a by the numbers biopic. However it has a few things going for it that elevate above the mediocrity it could have been.

First and foremost there is Natalie Portman who portrays Mrs. Kennedy. Jackie had such a unique style, both visually and vocally, that as a character she us a huge undertaking. Portman dives into the role head first and does about the best job one can imagine. At first it doesn’t quite work. In the first few scenes it feels like Portman playing Kennedy and it’s a little off putting. However, as the story progresses and we begin to dive deep into the emotional turmoil that Kennedy was experiencing during that time, Portman begins to shine and delivers a performance worth of the Oscar nomination she received. It was also nominated for Best Original Score and Best Costume Design, both of which were well deserved.

Secondly there is director Pablo Larrain. Right out of Chile, Larrain, doesn’t seem like the obvious first choice to tell the story of such an American icon, but producer Darren Aronofsky knew what he was doing when he tapped Larrain for the project. Larrain’s cinematic style elevates both Portman’s performance and the story itself.

Told in a non-linear fashion, the film jumps from an interview Jackie gave a week after the incident with an unnamed reporter played by Billy Crudup) , the time before, during and after the incident itself, as well a conversation she had with a priest (John Hurt). Jumping from one moment to the next allows Larrain to play with the emotions not only of Jackie, but with the audience as well. We all know the images of Kennedy’s Assassination. It’s one of the most iconic moments in American History, but because the film is told out of order, you don’t know when or if that moment is even going to be shown, thus providing a stronger impact on the viewer.

Larrain also does a great job of lingering on small moments that other director’s might have over looked. My favorite moment in the entire film is when Jackie is helping pack up all her belongings as she is leaving the White House to make way for the Johnson’s. She is standing in the middle of the room holding a vase as workers scurry about her. She is standing there starring around the room, she has no idea what to do. She is lost. It is a haunting and beautiful image, much like the rest of the film. This is a beautifully shot film.

Jackie isn’t a film that most people will expect when they sit down to watch it, and this is a good thing. This film gives you a look inside that short period of American history that still resonates today.

The film is presented in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio and Dolby 5.1 DTS-HD audio. This is a beautifully shot film, and the Blu-Ray represents the film well.

Extras include: From Jackie to Camelot: (22 min.) This is a solid look at the making of the film across all the major creative levels. It’s a bit of a fluff piece as well, but it has some interesting information in it for those that are curious.

All I’d heard about this film was Portman’s performance, so I was expecting an amazing performance in a mediocre film like many bio pics. However, thanks to director Pablo Larrain’s vision, this is a solid and unique film that contains a very memorable performance. All-in-all, it is much better than I expected it to be.

20th Century Fox presents Jackie. Written by Noah Oppenheim. Directed by: Pablo Larrain. Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Billy Crudup and John Hurt. Running time: 100 min. Rating: R for breif strong violence and some language. Released on Blu-Ray: March 7, 2017.

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