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Indignation Blu-ray + Digital HD Review

Indignation (2016) movie poster Indignation

Theatrical Release: July 29, 2016 / Running Time: 112 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: James Schamus / Writers: Philip Roth (novel), James Schamus (screenplay)

Cast: Logan Lerman (Marcus Messner), Sarah Gadon (Olivia Hutton), Tracy Letts (Dean H.D. Caudwell), Linda Edmond (Esther Messner), Danny Burstein (Max Messner), Ben Rosenfield (Bertram Flusser), Pico Alexander (Sonny Cottler), Phillip Ettinger (Ron Foxman), Noah Robbins (Marty Ziegler)

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For a long time, Hollywood wasn't interested in Philip Roth. Since 2003, though, five of Roth's novels have made it to the big screen. This year brought two of them. American Pastoral, starring and directed by Ewan McGregor, is kind of languishing at the moment in limited theatrical release.
Three months earlier, adapted from Roth's 2008 novel, Indignation opened in theaters to favorable reviews and decent business.

Set in 1951, Indignation sees Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman), the son of a kosher butcher, relocate from his native Newark to Ohio to attend Winesburg College. There, Marcus is assigned two Jewish juniors as roommates and invited to pledge to the school's Jewish fraternity. But Marcus doesn't personally identify as a Jew. He considers himself an atheist and resents being perceived as a Jew and treated differently.

Marcus goes on a date with Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon), a pretty blonde classmate who blows his mind when she, uh, suddenly performs oral sex on him in a car. The act confuses Marcus. As he tries to make sense of his feelings for her with heartfelt letters, he clashes with the school's dean (Tracy Letts) about mandatory chapel sessions and the role of religion in the college's education.

Adapted from Philip Roth's novel, "Indignation" centers on Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman), a young man from Newark trying to identify himself apart from his family's Jewish faith as a freshman at a small liberal arts college in Ohio.

Indignation is a small film that is not chockfull of story or surprises. Instead, it disarms with recreation of a time and place and the human emotions that flow from them. Like many of Roth's writings,
it is somewhat autobiographical and personal in nature. He too was born and raised in Newark and tried to distance himself from his family's Jewish customs. He attended Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, not a small college in Ohio. But certainly, elements of himself creep into the story's protagonist.

With his performances in films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Fury, Lerman has established himself as a young talent. He excels here as well as any of his contemporaries would have. Gadon keeps pace with him in their few challenging scenes together. And making his directing debut, longtime screenwriter, producer, and Ang Lee collaborator James Schamus does a fine job of making the material interesting, accessible, and period-authentic.

Indignation grossed $3.4 million in domestic theaters, without ever getting wider than 317 venues. That's a total that American Pastoral seems unlikely to reach despite its more substantial star power. The film hit Blu-ray and DVD this week from Lionsgate.

Indignation: Blu-ray + Digital HD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

1.85:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (English)
Subtitles: English, English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Suggested Retail Price: $24.99
Single-sided, single-layered disc (BD-25)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as DVD + Digital ($19.98 SRP) and on Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

The stately period visuals of Indignation look great on Blu-ray, where they use nearly every pixel available in occupying the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio mix is without issue as well. Obviously, you're getting dialogue and score, not Transformers-like sensory assault. But it's all crisp, clear, and evenly-mixed.

Tracy Letts discusses the film in one of Indignation's two making-of featurettes. One of the mandatory chapel sessions that Marcus objects to features in the Indignation Blu-ray menu montage.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Indignation is joined by two short featurettes, which the Blu-ray presents in HD.

"Timeless: Connecting the Past to the Present" (6:01) lets the cast and crew comment on the story.

"Perceptions: Bringing Philip Roth to the Screen" (7:16) focuses more on the adaptation, with screenwriter-director James Schamus leading the way with his comments and others discussing his collaborative nature.

"Also from Lionsgate" repeats the disc opening trailers for Southside with You, American Pastoral, Genius, and A Hologram for the King.

In what has been a Lionsgate standard for some time, the Blu-ray also comes equipped with Digital HD UltraViolet. An insert supplying your unique code accompanies the plain gray disc inside the eco-friendly keepcase whose artwork is reproduced in a glossy slipcover above. Actually, in a creative touch, the keepcase artwork places the slipcover's rain-blurred front visuals in focus.

Olivia (Sarah Gadon) visits Marcus (Logan Lerman) in the hospital.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Indignation won't change anybody's life or make anybody's day, but it should keep most viewers interested in its coming-of-age story of 1950s academia and sexual awakening. This well-acted drama seems to find and uphold the appeal of Roth's novel without dumbing things down or settling for convention.

Lionsgate's basic but commendable Blu-ray is worth a look for parties interested in the film.

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Related Reviews:
New to Disc: Imperium • The Sea of Trees • Café Society • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Collector's Edition) • Nine Lives
Adapted from Philip Roth: American Pastoral • The Humbling | Written by James Schamus: The Ice Storm
Logan Lerman: Fury • Stuck in Love • Noah • Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief • Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Sarah Gadon: Cadet Kelly • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 | Tracy Letts: Elvis & Nixon • The Big Short
Kill Your Darlings • A Serious Man • A Single Man • Carol • Dead Poets Society • The Graduate

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Reviewed November 10, 2016.



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