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Michele Civetta
Shea Whigham, Olivia Munn, Frank Grillo
Writing Credits:
Alex Felix Bendana, Andrew Levitas, Michele Civetta

A social worker assigned to the care of the daughter of a single mother intervenes when the dad returns from prison and lures them into a life of crime.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 9/7/2021

• “Living Legends” Featurette
• Trailer


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The Gateway [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 3, 2021)

Elsewhere on this Blu-ray, we get a featurette called “Living Legends” that looks at the cast of 2021’s The Gateway. I think that program’s title confers a higher status than those involved currently deserve, but the film enjoys a decent enough roster of actors to make it worth a look.

Set in St. Louis, Parker Jode (Shea Whigham) serves as a social worker. Though he continues to pursue the best for his clients, Parker struggles with the job and turns to drugs and booze to deal with the stress.

When Parker takes on the case of a young girl named Ashley Montrose (Taegen Burns), he also becomes involved with the well-being of her single mother Dahlia (Olivia Munn). This task turns into a tougher challenge when Dahlia’s husband Mike (Zach Avery) gets out of prison and creates havoc in his return.

At the start, I mentioned that “living legends” seems like too high praise for the cast of Gateway, but the movie’s collection of onscreen talent becomes its biggest asset. In addition to those already mentioned, the film features names like Bruce Dern, Keith David, Frank Grillo and others.

The actors give Gateway a level of credibility it probably doesn’t deserve. Despite their best efforts, this becomes a muddled mix of thriller and drama.

At its heart, Gateway wants to explore Parker’s tale, and it focuses on him more than anything else. However, the story seems unable to find real depth in his narrative.

With backstory of Parker as a neglected child who then works to protect kids, we get a fairly trite tale, and Gateway can’t find new ways to explore the material. Parker never elevates above the level of cliché, and the other characters fare even worse, as they seem far too thinly developed to bring much to the table.

As it combines different genres, Gateway fails to meld them in a compelling manner. Given the inherent drama involved with the various situations, the movie should feel more urgent and involving, but instead, the narrative tends to plod and feel disjointed.

All of this leads to a less than coherent flick that can’t live up to its potential. Gateway fails to develop into much more than a variety of clichés without much new to say.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D

The Gateway appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.00:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, this was a positive image.

Only a smidgen of softness ever cropped up here, mainly in some low-light shots. Otherwise, the movie showed nice clarity and delineation.

Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also stayed away from this clean image.

In terms of palette, Gateway went with mix of yellow/amber and reds much of the time, with some pale teal, greens and purples as well. Overall, the hues were fine for their visual choices.

Blacks showed good depth, while low-light shots boasted nice clarity. This was a solid “B+“ presentation.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it gave us competent sonics most of the time as well as a little pep on occasion. A drama like this didn’t need to boast a rock-em, sock-em mix, so the audio seemed acceptable.

Usually, the soundfield didn’t have a lot to do. This meant it concentrated on good stereo music and general ambience.

Every once in a while, though, the mix came to life – in a moderate manner, at least, usually related to forms of violence. These moments didn’t dazzle, but they gave the mix reasonable breadth.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other concerns. Music appeared full, with reasonable definition.

Effects remained clear and accurate, with some pretty solid low-end response during louder moments. This became a fairly satisfying track.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a featurette called Living Legends. It runs four minutes, 14 seconds and brings notes from writer/director Michele Civetta, producer Stephen Israel, writer/producer Andrew Levitas, and actors Shea Whigham, Bruce Dern, and Olivia Munn.

As expected, this one looks at cast and characters. It tends to give us fluff and not much substance.

It does seem amusing that Dern refers to 52-year-old Whigham as a “young actor” and possibly his generation’s Sean Penn. The two do look somewhat alike, but since Penn is only nine years older than Whigham, they’re essentially from the same generation.

With its story of a heroic but flawed social worker, The Gateway comes with some dramatic potential. Unfortunately, the film lacks coherence and fails to find a compelling path through its narrative beats. The Blu-ray offers good picture and audio but it lacks much in terms of supplements. This turns into a lackluster tale

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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