Pride Blu-ray Review
It’s 1984 in the United Kingdom and it’s a brutal scene: police clash with citizens, miners strike and anti-Margaret Thatcher banners hang on buildings. There are protests and assaults, marches and insults.
Gay local activist Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer, 2012’s THE BOOK THIEF)—who would die in 1987 at the age of 26 shortly after being diagnosed with HIV AIDS—sees parallels between his community and the miners’ and believes standing up to the oppressors (which include Thatcher and the media) is the right thing to do. It doesn’t matter that the miners have never come to the aid of gays or that some have even been known to hand out beatings to those in the gay community; it matters that the miners are now facing similar bullying and harassment.
He, along with a number of gay and lesbian friends, start an organization called Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners. It’s not a catchy name, but it has a noble cause. Unfortunately for the LGSM, the National Union of Mineworkers won’t accept their money. A liaison, Dai Donovan (Paddy Considine, TYRANNOSAUR, which he also directed), is introduced to bring some form of peace between the two groups, which allows the LGSM to make their case.
The UK miners’ strike has been featured prominently or as a backdrop in a number of films and television works, including Stephen Dalrdy’s BILLY ELLIOTT and the nine-part BBC serial OUR FRIENDS IN THE NORTH, but this part of the story is so rarely discussed; many likely aren’t even aware a gay and lesbian organization went out of their way to support the miners’ cause.
But it’s a portion that should be told. And PRIDE is told so well by writer Stephen Beresford (the play “The Last of the Haussmans”) and director Matthew Warchus (“Matilda the Musical”; he also won the Tony Award for Best Director of a Play for “God of Carnage”). It is hardly sappy or sentimental, although it easily could have been more so. There is no self-congratulating or patting of one’s own back, although the plotline seems like it would be hard to avoid.
While there are far too many minor characters, the soundtrack (with songs from Bananarama, Culture Club and the like) is overkill and the movie runs a bit long, PRIDE is an achievement and serves multiple commendable purposes: to highlight a lesser-known fraction of a significant part in the UK’s history, to remind how easily it is for a group to be oppressed and to promote civility and acceptance.
The supporting cast includes Andrew Scott (who portrayed Moriarty on SHERLOCK), Imelda Staunton (who played Dolores Jane Umbridge in two HARRY POTTER entries) Bill Nighy (I, FRANKENSTEIN), Dominic West (HBO’s THE WIRE) and George McKay (Paul Wright’s FOR THOSE IN PERIL).
PRIDE screened at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Queer Palm. It was nominated for seven British Independent Film Awards, winning Best British Independent Film, Best Supporting Actor (Scott) and Best Supporting Actress (Staunton).
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The picture quality is quite nice, with detailed textures and accurate colors.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English. The dialogue is clear and the loaded soundtrack comes through nicely.
PRIDE: A True Story (16:03): Cast, crew and those that lived through the actual events discuss the inspirations, plot and more.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (10:09): There are six here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Jonathan’s Goodbye,” “Discussion About AIDS,” “Farewell,” “I Did Speak Up,” “Mark and Joe Depart” and “Don’t You Dare Waste It.”