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Blu-ray Review: Being Flynn

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Sometimes, it’s hard to imagine that Robert De Niro was ever the bad-ass we all remember him for in motion picture classics like Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and The Godfather. And, when you sit down to watch the 2012 Focus Features release, Being Flynn — a melodrama based on the oh-so-artfully-titled novel, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn — you might just wonder where the De Niro we used to know has gone off too. Here, Bob is cast as Jonathan Flynn: a writer under the delusion that he is one of the best writers in the world.

Alas, he isn’t. In fact, nobody has ever read his material — and that’s mostly due to the fact that it has never been so much as considered for publication , which is attributable to the fact that he still hasn’t even finished writing his alleged magnum opus after all these years. During that time, he has either warded off or up and left everyone around him due to his abrasive and inhospitable attitude. He left his wife (Julianne Moore) many years back, handing the responsibility of raising their child to her. In the present, Flynn’s son, Nick (Paul Dano, who I never saw act in anything until this film), is a slightly maladjusted individual with a dead mother and a long-gone father.

That is, until the certifiable Jonathan wanders back into Nick’s life. Trying to find some sense of purpose in life, Nick takes on a job at a Boston homeless shelter, only to encounter his cantankerous, close-minded old man — where Jonathan’s argumentative and seemingly psychotic manner winds up rubbing even the other crazy old men the wrong way. Director Paul Weitz (who also co-wrote the script here with the real Nick Flynn, as well as co-produced) paints a bleak look at several bleak lives in this emotionally gloomy flick which also features Olivia Thirlby and Lili Taylor.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment brings us Being Flynn to Blu-ray in a better-than-average transfer that is just as dismal in appearance, with a 1080p presentation that is very sharp and clear, though the color scheme is very blue-oriented (it’s a gloomy flick, remember?).  I must say, though, the transfer is several times more rewarding than the feature film itself. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is pretty impressive, considering it’s a talk-oriented title, but Universal’s audio track still rocks.

Fortunately, the only bonus materials here (aside from the usual amount of trailers for other films) is a short one: a six-minute behind-the-scenes look at the making-of the film from the perspective of the cast and crew — so there’s no need to dive any further into this “I have issues with my father” (hey, who doesn’t?) feature.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.