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Shana Feste
Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon, Carey Mulligan
Writing Credits:
Shana Feste

After their teen son's sudden death, Grace and Allen struggle to deal with the death of their son, but their attempts at peace are interrupted by his girlfriend Rose's announcement that she is pregnant.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$33,616on 8 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

100 minutes
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 7/13/2010

• Interviews
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Greatest [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 19, 2022)

A pretty solid cast supports 2009’s drama The Greatest. The same night that Bennett Brewer (Aaron Johnson) first gets it on with his girlfriend Rose (Carey Mulligan), he dies in a car wreck.

This leaves his family – father Allen (Pierce Brosnan), mother Grace (Susan Sarandon) and brother Ryan (Johnny Simmons) – distraught, while Rose ends up with a broken arm and other emotional wounds.

And that’s not all, as her one-time dalliance with Bennett finds Rose pregnant. With her mom in rehab, Rose has few options, so she comes to stay with the Brewers.

This doesn’t sit well with Grace, as she thinks Rose is running some scam, but Allen behaves in a more charitable manner. The film follows this awkward relationship, as all involved work through their grief and deal with the unusual situation.

Perhaps this is a superficial complaint, but I must say that The Greatest suffers from one of the worst titles I’ve heard in a while. It makes more sense once you see the movie, but on the surface, it’s just awful.

To people of a certain age, it sounds like a biography of Muhammad Ali, and to people who don’t make that connection, it seems meaningless. The Greatest gives us virtually no hint about the film’s content, and it sounds so generic that it doesn’t make us want to explore the flick.

Once we get past the awful title, Greatest provides some decent pleasures. It’s a seriously character-based effort, so don’t expect much plot.

“Family deals with grief” is really the closest it comes to a story, but that’s fine. It doesn’t need more than that set-up – plus the twist of Rose’s pregnancy – to fill its time.

The pitfall we encounter here stems from the depiction of the film’s characters. Though four principal roles doesn’t seem like a lot, it becomes more than Greatest can chew.

The movie doesn’t tie the character threads together terribly well, and the various parts remain somewhat underdeveloped. They each get moments to shine, but they don’t ever quite grow into full personalities.

The actors do their best, though. Sarandon gets the most thankless role with the often cold, obsessive Grace.

While Allen wants to help Rose, Grace remains indifferent and downright antagonistic toward the preggers teen. Sarandon manages to give the role the appropriate edge, but she doesn’t make Grace a one-note harpy, as she adds depth and feeling to the difficult role.

Though the worst developed of the four leads, Simmons possibly offers the strongest performance of the bunch. Rather than make Ryan the standard petulant teen, he gives the part actual personality and avoids too much stereotypical behavior.

Despite the inconsistencies of the script and story, The Greatest manages to remain interesting, largely due to the work of the actors. It’s not a particularly original tale of loss and grief, but it’s a decent exploration.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C+/ Bonus C

The Greatest appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was a decent but unexceptional presentation.

For the most part, sharpness seemed satisfying. Wider shots tended to be rather soft, but those weren’t terribly ill-defined. They were acceptable and closer elements appeared pretty concise.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. Other than a small speck or two, I also failed to discern any source flaws.

Despite the movie’s dramatic subject matter, it comes with a surprisingly warm palette. The movie favored rich, sunny hues that probably should’ve seemed out of place, but they worked fine for the story.

The colors were generally positive. They seemed a bit fuzzier than I’d like, but they were mostly attractive.

Blacks appeared dark and tight, while low-light shots came across as clear. The image didn’t leap off the screen, but it was more than adequate.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it provided a predictably low-key effort. After the car wreck early in the flick, you won’t find a whole lot to bring the soundscape to life.

The track remained heavily focused on the front speakers; even a scene at the beach stayed forward-oriented and didn’t do much to form a lively environment.

Which wasn’t an awful thing, but it meant that the track lacked much vivacity. Again, I didn’t anticipate anything tremendously active, but I thought the mix could’ve been more engulfing than it was.

At least audio quality was fine. Speech came across as concise and distinctive, without edginess or other problems.

Music showed nice range and clarity, and effects demonstrated positive impact. They didn’t have much to do, but they appeared accurate enough. This was a generally average mix.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? The Blu-ray’s lossless audio came across as a bit more natural and warm than the DVD’s lossy affair, but the subdued nature of the mix meant the track didn’t seem like a substantial improvement.

Visuals showed a reasonable improvement, as the Blu-ray came with the usual step up in terms of accuracy, blacks and colors. Because the DVD was pretty good and the Blu-ray unexceptional, this didn’t turn into a remarkable upgrade, but the BD worked a bit better than the DVD.

The Blu-ray reproduces the DVD’s extras, and the disc provides Interviews with four of the film’s participants. We hear from writer/director Shana Feste (11:03) and actors Pierce Brosnan (8:30), Carey Mulligan (5:26) and Johnny Simmons (5:29).

Across these, we get notes about the movie’s origins and development, cast and crew, sets and locations, performances, music and editing, and the film’s reception.

As expected, Feste’s notes offer the most value. She gives us a good overview of different production elements and delivers the highest level of filmmaking info.

The others contribute a smattering of useful tidbits as well, though you have to sit through the standard praise to get to them. Still, the overall impression left by the interviews remains positive.

Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of 16 minutes, 12 seconds. These include “Tent” (1:32), “Drugs” (1:29), “Friends” (2:46), “Country Music” (6:47), “Money” (2:09), and “Sister” (1:25).

The Grace character gets the most extra time here, as she’s the focus of “Friends” and “Country Music”. (The latter’s length actually comes from the fact it offers three takes.) These don’t really do anything to develop Grace, though, so they don’t go missed from the final cut.

As for the other four, “Money” provides the most intrigue simply because it actually lets us see Rose’s irresponsible mother. We hear about her in the film but don’t meet her, which is fine, though it’s interesting to actually encounter her here.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we locate some Previews. These give us promos for The Dukes, Addicted to Her Love, Baby on Board, Camille and Dolan’s Cadillac.

At no point does The Greatest do much to break new ground in its genre, but it provides a reasonably interesting exploration of loss and recovery. Most of the credit goes to its unusually strong cast, as they manage to develop the characters beyond the written page. The Blu-ray offers perfectly acceptable picture, audio and supplements. If you like character-based dramas with an emotional side, you’ll probably find merit here.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of THE GREATEST

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