DVD Review Doubt
Directed by: John Patrick Shanley Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Viola Davis Running Time: 100 mins Rating: PG-13 Release date: April 7th
Plot: Based on his own play, John Patrick Shanley writes and directs a film about a Bronx parish in the 1960’s that faces inner turmoil when a respected priest’s (Hoffman) good nature is questioned by two nuns (Streep and Adams).
Who's It For? Those willing to experience a slowly paced, dramatic exploration into universal themes like leadership as told in a setting timely to the church’s own problems in recent years.
Movie: An effective script can only go so far to distract from convenient performances and faulty directing. John Patrick Shanley guides a very talented cast through a clunky adaptation, but is still able to let his powerful themes resonate in a sermon that has its fire and brimstone moments. I’m giving this the same score as when I reviewed it last December, but I do this with even less certainty.
Movie Score: 7/10
From Stage to Screen: Writer-director John Patrick Shanley talks to us (and sometimes Meryl Streep) about the play/film's backstory. Some behind the scenes moments are shared, but mostly this not so special feature becomes too self-congratulatory to be memorable.
The Cast of Doubt: The main thespians from the film are asked some intriguing questions by Dave Karger from Entertainment Weekly. This is an intellectual Q+A that expands beyond the comfy confines of a praise-fest, and becomes an involved discussion of the film's theories.
Scoring Doubt: Before watching this extra, I had thought of the film's score as relatively unimportant. Composer Howard Shore proves me wrong with this special feature, where he explains significant themes in the film's music.
Sisters of Charity: The DVD's most unique extra, this one offers a brief history lesson about the sisterhood that inspired the film's main characters - as told by the actual nuns. Their telling of the times that the film takes place in helps provide Doubt with even more authenticity.
Other Extras: Feature Commentary with Writer-Director John Patrick Shanley
Extras Score: 6/10
A film like Doubt is one that warrants a re-view, but not the good kind. The often raved about performances are impressive to an extent - but when Philip Seymour Hoffman is shouting again, or Amy Adams is naive and weak, it all seems a bit easy. My second viewing of Doubt brought to light the intensity of a few themes, but reminded me of how flawed its direction was (dutch angles, seriously?). The extras on the DVD did little to convince me of otherwise, but they did serve as a decent educational representative of all the many ideas Doubt has a-brewin'.
Final Score: 6/10