It’s hard for a Hollywood
icon like Jack Nicholson to portray a character that the audience doesn’t see
as Jack himself, but as Warren Schmidt he delivers a brilliant performance in
a non-typical Jack role. This is a character driven journey through the eyes
of the title character being part comedy, tragedy and drama.
Warren Schmidt begins his
journey of self-discovery on his last day of work as an insurance vice
president. He retires from this life long pursuit only to find himself not
really knowing where his life is now heading or how his wife and daughter will
factor in it now. After a life changing event Warren reaches the depths of
human depression only to find new hope in his third world pen pal Ndugu who
acts as a release for Warren’s pent up and repressed world anxieties. By the
end of the film one really feels for the plight of Warren and in a touching
moment we as an audience emphasise completely with his life and pain. What is
the movie about…. well it’s about Schmidt.
DVD visual transfer is
crisp and pleasing throughout, to be expected with such a new release, with
anamorphic transfer for the lucky widescreen owners out there. Audio is in
DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 format and Dolby 2.0 stereo. The DTS track was
superb with a very clear central speaker bias as to be expected on a character
driven story. Music is sparse but the theme used in the menu section and
throughout the movie is clever in conjuring up an almost elevator ‘muzak’
atmosphere in keeping with Warren’s mundane existence.
Extras include deleted
scenes which I think add a great deal to the understanding of Schmidt’s
personality and are essential viewing to get a richer thematic understanding.
There is a section showing several different short films on the building
Woodman of the World (Warren’s employer) and a theatrical trailer. The menu
was nicely animated, if slow loading, with a shot of the clock detailing the
last few seconds of Warren Schmidt’s working life.
This is a critically
acclaimed movie with Nicholson winning a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the
sad repressed tragic figure of Warren. Kathy Bates pops up to play a
potential inlaw and is a delight to watch and the supporting cast all come
across as believable. I was moved at the end of this movie and it was down to
a great story and a brilliant performance by Jack Nicholson. The film is so
understated in action and pacing that it is only by its end that you realise
it’s point. That what is important in life is living life itself. I highly
recommend this to anyone, a highly moving film very different from the multi
million action flicks ala T3 but much more rewarding emotionally and