Vera Drake

Vera Drake (2004)
New Line Home Entertainment
Cast: Imelda Staunton, Richard Graham
Extras: Trailer

’Vera Drake’ is a critically acclaimed British movie about a controversial subject, handled masterfully handled by writer/director Mike Leigh. In post-World War II London, everyone is struggling to make living, and Vera Drake (Imelda Staunton) and her family or no different. Hard-working she is also one of the most compassionate people on her block, trying to give a helping hand or meal whenever she can. She always has a friendly smile for everyone as she goes about her life. In order to help young women in need, she also performs abortions, however illegal it may be. Using a simple syringe and soap water, she helps pregnant women when they have nowhere else to go or have no way of raising a child in their impoverished environments. One day, one of her patients nearly dies from complications and soon she finds the police on her doorstep.

’Vera Drake’ is a powerful film with a lot of heartfelt emotions that asks questions and shows us that it is not always easy to make the right decisions. The film is never moralistic and presents the story in a way that makes us understand why Vera does what she does. Imelda Staunton is simply remarkable in the part of Vera Drake and the moist poignant moment is certainly when she realizes the police has come to arrest her and for a few long moments time seems to stand still as she goes through her emotions pondering everything that was and would be.

New Line Home Entertainment is presenting ’Vera Drake’ in its original widescreen version in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 TV sets on this DVD. The image is absolutely clean and clear and free of any blemishes. Colors are nicely reproduced, perfectly reproducing the drab color palette and dark cinematography. Black levels are balanced making sure to render a deep image with very good shadow delineation. No edge-enhancement is visible and the compression is also without flaws.

The DVD features a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio track that is well produced. Subtle and never aggressive it nonetheless creates a lively ambience that makes frequent use of the surround channels to expand the sound field. Dialogues are always understandable and never drowned out.

The only extra on the release is the film’s theatrical trailer.

’Vera Drake’ is a brilliant film and an important film. Why it has received an ’R’ rating is entirely incomprehensible and shows off the rating’s board complete ineptitude and hypocrisy once again. The movie is touching, heartfelt, emotional and thought-provoking. Imelda Staunton’s performance is marvelous and shows just how subtlety can go a long way sometimes. We can quickly connect with her and her surroundings simply by watching her facial expressions and body language for a few minutes. For serious film lovers and lovers of serious films, ’Vera Drake’ is definitely a release you can’t afford to miss out on.