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Indignation (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 11, 2016 by  



James Schamus’ film adaptation of Philip Roth’s “Indignation” is a wonderful directorial debut from the well-known film producer.  Compelling and thought provoking, a wonderful look at the perspective of a young free thinker during a repressive time in America. Definitely a film worth watching!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Summit Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Indignation

FILM RELEASE: 2015

DURATION: 111 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (1:85:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

COMPANY: Summit Entertainment

RATED: R (Sexual Content and Brief Language)

RELEASE DATE: November 8, 2016


Based on the Novel by Philip Roth

Directed by James Schamus

Written by James Schamus

Produced by Anthony Bregman, James Schamus, Rodrigo Texeira

Co-Producer: Stefan Arndt, Peter Cron

Executive Producer: Stefanie Azpiazu, Jonathan Bronfman, Avy Eschenasy, Caroline Jaczko, Logan Lerman, Sophie Mas, Woody Mu, Lourenco Sant’anna, Lisa Wolofsky

Associate Producer: Gustavo Rosa

Music by Jay Wadley

Cinematography by Christopher Blauvelt

Edited by Andrew Marcus

Casting by Avy Kaufman

Production Design by Inbal Weinberg

Art Direction by Derek Wang

Set Decoration by Philippa Culpepper

Costume Design by Amy Roth


Starring:

Sarah Gadon as Olivia Hutton

Logan Lerman as Marcus

Tracy Letts as Dean Caudwell

Linda Emond as Esther Messner

Ben Rosenfield as Bertram Flusser

Noah Robbins as Marty Zigler

Pico Alexander as Sonny Cotler


Passions ignite and cultures clash in this provocative coming-of-age story based on the best-selling novel by Philip Roth. After Marcus (Logan Lerman), a brilliant working-class Jewish student from New Jersey, arrives at a small, conservative college in Ohio, he becomes infatuated with a beautiful classmate, Olivia (Sarah Gadon). Their mutual attraction sparks a torrid encounter with consequences Marcus never imagined, putting his family’s best-laid plans—and his own beliefs—to the ultimate test.


Based on the 2008 novel “Indignation” from multi-award winning novelist Philip Roth, the film features the directorial debut of James Schamus (known for producing films such as “The Ice Storm”, “Brokeback Mountain”, “Hulk”, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”).

The film stars Logan Lerman (“Fury”, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, “3:10 to Yuma”, “Percy Jackson” films), Sarah Gadon (“Dragon Utold”, “Enemy”, “The Amazing Spider-Man”) and Tracy Letts (“The Big Short”, “Imperium”, “Killer Joe”), Linda Emond (“Julie & Julia”, “Jenny’s Wedding”, “The Good Wife”) and many more.

“Indignation” begins with an introduction of an elder Olivia, being given her medications at a facility.

The film then transitions to the Korean War as a Korean soldier going after someone.

The film then introduces to Marcus (portrayed by Logan Lerman) and his family attending a funeral for a young man who has died in battle during the Korean War.  Marcus talks to his friends about the death of their friend Greenberg and how they have been drafted by the military, while Marcus is getting prepared for college.

In the meantime, while working for his father, a kosher butcher, his father is starting to become more challenging to live with because his father has been going crazy from seeing many young men killed in battle during the war and he worries so much about his son that it has become too much for Marcus.

Marcus is leaving Newark, New Jersey and from Robert Treat College to avoid his family and start a new college life in a Christian college, Winesburg College in Ohio.  A school which requires students to attend ten chapel sessions.

But the intelligent Marcus who was hoping to focus on his education, is suddenly captivated by the elegant Olivia Hutton (portrayed by Sarah Gadon).  Beautiful, sexually experienced and also a woman who has survived a suicide attempt.

But he begins to become closer to Olivia, meanwhile creating new rifts with his roommates especially with dean of men, Hawes Cauddwell, over his freedoms as a student and that on grounds that he is an atheist, that he does not want to attend any of the chapel sessions.

But how far will it cause problems for Marcus of being around Olivia and will his constant challenging of the dean, lead him to more trouble?


VIDEO:

“Indignation” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality for the most part is very good.  Especially during outdoor sequences and capturing that 1950’s feel.  I didn’t notice any problems with picture quality during my viewing of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Indignation” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and features crystal clear dialogue.  While there are moments of action, they are very limited and the entire film is dialogue driven.

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Indignation” comes with the following special features:

  • Timeless: Connecting the Past to the Present – (6:00) Interview with director James Schamus and the cast about the film and the film’s characters.
  • Perceptions: Bringing Philip Roth to the Screen – (7:16) A featurette about bringing Philip Roth’s novel “Indignation” to the big screen.

EXTRAS:

“Indignation” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet code.


Watching “Indignation”, my feelings of the film, in someway I can equate to certain people who have done well in high school and pursued academic excellence and the finding out that not long after, a few of them took a hard fall after high school, after discovering reality and discovering things they never expected to look for as a young adult.

“Indignation” follows a story of an intellectual, an atheist and free thinker during a time when America was not very appreciative of those who separated from the norm.

The film follows Marcus, an educated intellectual who feels constricted at home due to his parents.  As a Jewish young man who happens to be an atheist, Marcus often quotes Bertrand Russell (known for his humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought) and is inspired by him.

Unfortunately for Marcus, he has chosen to attend Winesburg College, known for being strict for its following of Christian ideals, which include mandatory attending of chapel sessions.  Something that Marcus does not want to do under grounds of being an atheist.

But as much as the film focuses on Marcus’ philosophy and free thinking, he is also a young man discovering his sexual needs.  Especially when he becomes attracted to the beautiful Olivia Hutton.  A young woman who has sexual experience but also a woman who is a survivor of attempting suicide.

And despite the two being together, Marcus’ mother is very much against the relationship and all she asks for her son is to end the relationship with a woman who had attempted suicide.

The film is rather intriguing because it shows how individual freedom was viewed back in the old days and those not conforming to rules, were seen negatively. Those who attempted suicide or had mental or behavioral issues were also seen negatively.

And the film’s adaptation to Roth’s “Indignation” is also rather interesting as of all Roth novels that have received a film adaptation, the film is a fictionalized depiction of Roth’s ’50s college experience and going deeply into how America’s perspective towards the Korean War, Christian views towards Jews and their treatment in college but also examining and the response to those who have mental breakdowns.

The film is no doubt a smart look at the lost of innocence but not just to romantic love but to the repressing establishment and in someway, perhaps becoming a warning of what America can become, if it goes backwards in time.

The storyline is a running theme of what one may find in other Roth writings.  From his 1963 essay of “Writing About Jews” in which he felt the need to question the values and morals of the middle-class Jewish Americans and their uncertain identities in an era of cultural assimilation.  But he drew much ire for his 1959 novella, “Goodbye, Columbus” which drew controversy among the Jewish community.  And as an atheist, he has received ire for his words criticizing people of religion.

So, watching “Indignation”, I viewed it as the excelling student who discovered freedoms and liberties that they never knew they had and then succumbing to their environment.  While some manage to become excellent leaders, others crash and burn.  The protagonist Marcus is dealt with these challenges of being a man who wanted to have freedom of thought, live in a world free of religion and persecution because of his beliefs during a time when it was not so possible.

Overall, James Schamus’ film adaptation of Philip Roth’s “Indignation” is a wonderful directorial debut from the well-known film producer.  Compelling and thought provoking, a wonderful look at the perspective of a young free thinker during a repressive time in America. Definitely a film worth watching!

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