Plot: What’s it about?
Gwen Cummings (Sandra Bullock) is a journalist in New York and while the business is tough, she has managed to become quite a success in the field. So she works hard to maintain her status, but when the office hours end, she becomes a wild and insatiable party animal. She loves to dance, talk, and especially drink and while that doesn’t sound too bad, Gwen seems to have a problem knowing when to say when. She’s never gotten into serious trouble because of it though, so she just keeps on pushing the limits of herself and her luck. This luck runs out when at her sister’s wedding, she decides to take the limo for a little joyride. Of course, she’s had a few drinks prior and before she knows what happens, she crashes the limo into someone’s front porch. In the process, she winds up with a DUI and a twenty-eight day ticket into a rehabilitation program. As she passes her time in the program she meets interesting and unusual people, and even develops some new ideas about happiness and addiction. Will this round of rehab help Gwen to whip her life back into shape, or will she drown her newfound ideas with some alcohol once she is released?[Editor: I’d tell ya what I’d do…]
This is an excellent film, but don’t be drawn in by the trailers and such. If you believe the trailer then you’ll expect a comedy with some dramatic elements, but this is very much a drama with some comedic elements. This film deals with serious subject matter and as such, focuses on the more somber aspects of that concept. This is not however a depressing film by any means and the comedic relief is well placed and executed. The humor never seems forced at all and it seems to come at just the right time to break the tension. The basic premise of the storyline seems predictable enough, but this film rises above the basics and delivers a terrific movie that defies the limits of the formula it uses. This is in part thanks to the writing used, but director Betty Thomas and actor Sandra Bullock also have major roles in making that happen. I am very pleased with the results and I think this film stands as both of their best efforts thus far in their careers. Columbia/Tristar issued this fantastic film in a special edition release and has loaded the disc with bonus materials. I highly recommend this movie to all those reading this review and though a rental is ok, I think a purchase is much more in order.
This film was directed by Betty Thomas, who has directed a few films and seems to focus on light films driven by one main character. This film keeps in pace as far as character, because Sandra Bullock’s Gwen is a strong, central role, but Thomas veers into more dramatic waters with this movie. You’ll find some humor laced into the picture, but the focus on the more serious side of the story. I think that was a wise choice and it works well here, though I am sure some will dislike the not as charming Bullock we see here. Thomas never falters in the switch in the least and in the end, I am confident that this stands as her finest work to date. She keeps her usual traits in this one, but she also expands her range as a director, which is always good. If you want to see more projects by Thomas I recommend The Late Shift, HBO’s Dream On, Doctor Dolittle, and Private Parts. Sandra Bullock may not be as charming and warm in this film, but she gives her best performance yet in 28 Days. Bullock (Speed, Forces Of Nature) shows a more realistic, dramatic side in this movie and I hope she chooses to display her skills like this again soon. The supporting cast is loaded with talent and includes Dominic West (Richard III, Spice World), Azura Skye (EdTv, Alone), Elizabeth Perkins (The Flintstones, I’m Losing You), Diane Ladd (Carnosaur, Primary Colors), Alan Tudyk (Wonder Boys, Patch Adams), Viggo Mortensen (A Perfect Murder, G.I. Jane), and Steve Buscemi (Fargo, Trees Lounge).
Video: How does it look?
28 Days is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As we’ve come to expect from Columbia/Tristar, this transfer looks fantastic and no serious problems surface to complain about. The source print is pristine and shows no wear signs, while the compression is just as good and displays no errors such as pixillation and edge enhancement. The colors are natural in tone, but brighter shades still show up and no smears or bleeds can be seen. The contrast is up to task also, as detail is never obscured and shadow depth is deep and accurate. Simply put, this movie couldn’t look better than this!
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc features a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which handles all elements and delivers a very effective mix. This is a dialogue driven film most of the time so not much power emerges from the surrounds, though some sequences will open up the field a little. When the music kicks in the surround will wake up and offer an immersive texture, which fits the musical selections very well. Aside from the music and some atmospheric background use though, the front channels take the reins and control the mix. The dialogue is in fine form on this track though and the vocals sound distinct and crisp at all times. I found no volume inconsistencies either and on the whole, this is an effective and impressive track.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This is a special edition title from Columbia/Tristar, so you know it has been packed with supplements from top to bottom. You’ll find some production notes inside the insert booklet and on the disc you’ll discover talent files, information on how to make a gum wrapper chain, and the film’s theatrical trailer. This is just the start though, as many more bonus features can also be found here. If you didn’t get enough of the Santa Cruz soap opera that runs within the film, you can delve into twenty-five minutes of bonus footage from the soap, which is a fun and interesting addition to the disc. A fifteen minute behind the scenes featurette also makes the cut and while it basically promotional fluff, it’s nice to see the interviews and footage nonetheless. Some interesting character testimonials can be found, as well as a feature called Guitar Guy’s Lost Songs. Both offer a unique glimpse into the characters and make nice additions to this disc. Two alternate audio tracks round out this disc, one an isolated musical score and the other a commentary with the director, producer, composer, and editor. I enjoyed both tracks and the commentary is filled with anecdotes on all aspects of the film, which should please fans.