Long Shot (2019) Blu-ray Review


Taking Shots at Politics

Long Shot makes no attempt to restructure the mainstream romantic comedy. It uses bigger stakes – the American Presidency – and still finds a way to get the guy into a car to speed through Washington’s streets to get the girl.

The change-up comes when skewering modern politics. Often, Long Shot steers toward an overbearing, implausible righteousness, yet at no moment is this a work of reality. It’s idealist satire. And, the scope is broad.

Charlize Theron plays Secretary of State Charlotte Field; using a woman for that position means an opportunity to lash out at media and public sexism. Long Shot doesn’t shy away. Field is poked and prodded, told how to look, how to act, how to wave, and because Long Shot needs a central challenge, who to date. Polls tell her to smile.

Then the White House, run by a TV star President with no desire to keep his current position, using it only to catapult his fame. He’s an idiot too. In-between, a billionaire media mogul who consolidates publications, turning them into right-wing propaganda machines. There’s even a pot shot at Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau. Long Shot travels the world on the hunt for something to satirize.

Long Shot brings out its ultimate thesis: Being honest in the run up to 2020 works

In that, Long Shot is a sly, observant take on the modern, flummoxed political system. A left-leaning take, obviously, although a key scene late with Theron’s co-star Seth Rogen and O’Shea Jackson Jr. tampers things down. College roommates, the two have a moment where they discover each others party preference, becoming a speech on understanding and how harsh dialog often shuts conversations down. Topping the explicitly one-sided comedy with an honest discussion elevates Long Shot’s material.

It’s hilarious away from the Washington barbs too. Vulgar and brash exchanges bring out these characters. That’s key for Field whose years of public service and need to underplay herself in public eroded her personality. Therein lies the fantasy, that a female Secretary of State ever could act out, do drugs, and be seen dating an abrasive ex-journalist wearing a jacket outdated in 1993, yet still prove popular.

With the final key moments, Long Shot brings out its ultimate thesis: Being honest in the run up to 2020 works. Or will work. While little more than a genre trope, Long Shot uses a generic podium to embrace speaking openly, not hide behind polling. It’s ludicrous of course – politics do not work like this. Yet even if there’s a smidgen of progress drawn from Long Shot, maybe a future leader will appear human rather than a robotic result of polling formulas.

Video

Backed by clean, sharp digital cinematography, Long Shot’s Blu-ray transparently delivers this material without any stand out faults. Being free of noise means clarity stays high with a keen eye for fine detail. Facial definition in close delivers above par and while some exteriors use stock shots, a few that appear new sell the skylines.

Digital color timing leaves flesh tones on the puffier side. Long Shot brings in an attractive palette, accentuating the fantasy. Primaries push hard on their way into the frame. It’s a bit much in spots, even glowing. If Lionsgate released a 4K UHD of Long Shot, that would likely pull the saturation down naturally. However, that HDR-infused edition is digital only. Shame on Lionsgate.

Contrast carries pep though on Blu-ray, even without HDR. Brightness sticks out, adding the needed depth when helped by black levels. Those blacks hit substantial lows, coveting shadow detail as to not cause a loss.

Audio

A key sequence for this Dolby Atmos track comes during a brief war scene. Bombs pelt a hotel, bringing the subwoofer into play with a stream of debris slipping into positional channels. Overheads pull destruction their way, then falling through the rears and fronts. It’s wild and mixed with intensity. Credit goes to Field’s ending speech too, spreading wide with natural echo.

Elsewhere, the audio track works within rom com norms, lightly ambient with firm center channel dialog. Little moves away from the center, and credit to keeping things intelligible even in a booming club.

Extras

The 30-minute making-of at the top of Long Shot’s bonus menu is the best extras offering. It’s funny and informative with interviews ranging from producers to writers and the cast. A joint interview with Rogen and Theron runs seven minutes, speaking candidly about their work. The rest – all nine featurettes around five minutes each – run in a bland pack of EPK gunk.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Long Shot
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

A movie designed entirely for the now, Long Shot pushes a romantic comedy into the current political spectrum with success.

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