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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Biopic > Football > The Express (2008/Universal Blu-ray)

The Express (2008/Universal Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: C+     Film: C+



Gary Fleder’s The Express (2008) is a decent, nicely produced period biopic about how Ernie Davis (Rob Brown of Finding Forrester) went from the racism and poverty of Uniontown, Pennsylvania to one of the first big football players and become the first African American to land The Heisman Trophy.  Charles Leavitt’s screenplay is professional and well-rounded, which along with the fine location shooting and cast makes this a solid film.  The only thing holding it back is that it is still too much of a biopic and cannot exceed its genre, which has been done so often lately.


Dennis Quaid, Clancy Brown and Charles S. Dutton are among the more recognizable cast in the quality showing, but there are also moments in the film where it drags, which does no help at 130 minutes.  However, Brown shows he is a growing actor and I was very happy to see him in action in a strong role again.  Football fans will really like this, but it is worth a look to anyone who wants to see history done well enough in a film that is not brainless.  These kinds of films are not made enough.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is stylized down slightly to be a bit softer than I would have liked, but in this case, it does not look phony and actually enhances the film.  Director of Photography Kramer Morgenthau, A.S.C., also seems to be visually referencing football photography and print images of the time.  The DTS HD Master Audio (MA) lossless 5.1 mix is not bad and has some soundfield, but the makers have decided to have a purposely laidback mix and that again makes sense in enhancing the narrative yet further.  The combination is interesting, even risky and I like it.  Extras include a making of featurette and three other featurettes in Making History: The Story of Ernie Davis, Inside The Playbook: Shooting The Football Games and From Hollywood To Syracuse: The Legacy of Ernie Davis.  We also get feature-length audio commentary by Director Fleder, deleted scenes with optional Fleder commentary, plus the Blu-ray exclusive BD Live function and 50th Anniversary of the 1959 Syracuse National Championship.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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