DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Chinonye Chukwu
Alfre Woodard, Richard Schiff, Aldis Hodge
Chinonye Chukwu

As she prepares to execute another inmate, prison Warden Bernadine Williams must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1/16X9
English Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 112 min.
Price: $22.98
Release Date: 3/24/2020

• “Behind the Scenes” Featurettes
• 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.


Clemency (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 25, 2020)

A dark drama, 2019’s Clemency takes us to a prison that houses inmates on death row. Longtime Warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) has supervised many executions, but the latest one goes wrong.

Faced with extra scrutiny due to this mishap, Bernadine finds herself even more on edge than normal, and she struggles with the stresses of her job. As she attempts to cope, she needs to prepare for another execution.

Convicted of murder, Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge) nears his date. He clings to hope that crusading lawyer Marty Lumetta (Richard Schiff) will manage to stave off his impending demise, but the clock ticks away and leaves less hope.

With Anthony’s fate up in the air, Bernadine tries to go about business as usual. However, after so many years on the job, her duties take a psychological toll that she may not be able to address.

If that sounds like Clemency will offer a grim downer, then you interpret the film correctly. While not utterly devoid of any lightness or humor, this remains a nearly entirely somber tale.

Which makes sense. Focused on its characters, Clemency takes its subject matter seriously and ensures that the audience feels the pain and damage involved.

Clemency punches the viewer in the gut right out of the box due to that botched execution. While not as graphic as the infamous electric chair scene from 1999’s Green Mile, the opening scene in which condemned prisoner Victor Jimenez (Alex Castillo) fails to go quietly into death creates a jarring, disturbing introduction to the tale.

Matters get no less dark from there, as the rest of Clemency remains somber. While we spend much of our time with Bernadine, we also get to know Anthony and invest in his case, as the movie makes it pretty clear that he’s innocent.

Part of me wishes that Clemency focused entirely on Bernadine, as the scenes with Anthony feel a little tangential. The movie really tells Bernadine’s tale, so the nature of the inmates’ issues shouldn’t come to the fore.

That said, I understand the choice to involve Anthony, as the movie otherwise might not come with much drama. It seems clear that Bernadine will carry out her duties despite any potential misgivings or doubt, so Clemency needs to find other ways to exploit tension, and our investment in Anthony’s fate fulfills those domains.

This threatens to turn Clemency into a trite prison drama, but the general emphasis on Bernardine gives it a twist. Due to flicks like Green Mile, it’s not unique to get a movie that concentrates on the prison staff, but I think the choice of the warden adds a spark, as we’d usually focus on the rank and file guards.

Also, Clemency obviously lives in a much more real world setting than Green Mile. That one seemed more like a fantasy/fable/metaphor than a hard-hitting prison drama, whereas Clemency exists to create a hard-hitting look at justice today.

Even though the story leans a little toward the tried and true, the actors elevate it. Woodard got robbed of an Oscar nomination, as she provides arguably the best performance of her career as the troubled warden. She avoids pitfalls and never asks for the audience’s sympathy as she creates a believable take on the role.

As good as Woodard is, I think Hodge provides the best work in Clemency. Utterly heartbreaking as the condemned prisoner, Hodge creates a delicate performance that never betrays a false note. Though he started his career as a kid in 1995’s Die Hard With a Vengeance, Hodge hasn’t attained stardom yet, but acting like this should elevate him.

I wouldn’t recommend that you watch Clemency after a bad day at work, as it won’t perk up your spirits. However, it offers a deep drama with substantial emotional impact.

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

Clemency appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this single-sided, dual-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 sets. The movie looked decent but it demonstrated the limitations of SD-DVD.

These concerns largely impacted definition, as the film tended to seem somewhat soft. Close-ups worked pretty well, but anything wider than that ended up on the fuzzy side of the street.

Jagged edges and moiré effects remained modest, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws also failed to materialize beyond some minor and inevitable digital artifacts.

Like many modern efforts, the film opted for a fairly subdued feel, with an amber or teal sense much of the time. Within those choices, the hues looked acceptably well-developed.

Blacks came across as mostly dense and tight, and low-light shots demonstrated acceptable clarity. Given the capabilities of SD-DVD, the movie remained watchable but not especially accurate.

Expect fairly positive audio from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Clemency. The forward realm dominated, as the film featured solid stereo music and a good sense of environment. Elements meshed smoothly and moved across the spectrum well.

In addition, the surrounds added some engagement. The back speakers used music well, and effects also created a fine sense of place. The surrounds didn’t have a ton to do throughout the movie, but the mix used them in a satisfying manner.

As for the quality of the audio, it seemed good. Speech always came across as natural and concise, with no edginess or other issues.

Music was bright and clean, while effects showed nice reproduction. Those elements came across as lively and dynamic, and low-end response appeared deep and firm. The film consistently boasted pleasing audio.

Under Behind the Scenes, we get six short featurettes. With a total running time of 11 minutes, 37 seconds, we hear from writer/director Chinonye Chukwu, and actors Alfre Woodard and Aldis Hodge.

“Scenes” examines the tone on the set and Chukwu’s work as director, story/characters and the movie’s message, research and realism, cast and performances. A few decent notes emerge, but these largely remain promotional in nature.

The disc opens with ads for Portrait of a Lady on Fire and The Lodge. We also find the film’s trailer.

Buoyed by excellent performances, Clemency provides an emotional drama. A heavy affair, it invests in its characters to a satisfying degree. The DVD brings good audio but visuals seem mediocre and we don’t find substantial bonus features. This becomes an iffy DVD for a compelling movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main