Ralph Potts reviews this drama that is based on the acclaimed novel by Willy Vlautin about a lonely teenager that gets a summer job working for a horse trainer and befriends a fading racehorse.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Lionsgate - 2018
Feature running time:
English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
English SDH, Spanish
Charlie Plummer, Chloe Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Travis Fimmel
Written & Directed by:
Based on the Novel by:
July 10, 2018
"Based on the Acclaimed Novel"
Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer) arrives in Portland, Oregon with his single father Ray (Travis Fimmel), both of them eager for a fresh start after a series of hard knocks. While Ray descends into personal turmoil, Charley finds acceptance and camaraderie at a local racetrack where he lands a job caring for an aging Quarter Horse named Lean On Pete. The horse's gruff owner Del Montgomery (Steve Buscemi) and his seasoned jockey Bonnie (Chloë Sevigny) help Charley fill the void of his father's absence-until he discovers that Pete is bound for slaughter, prompting him to take extreme measures to spare his new friend's life. Charley and Pete head out into the great unknown, embarking on an odyssey across the new American frontier in search of a loving aunt Charley hasn't seen in years. They experience adventure and heartbreak in equal measure, but never lose their irrepressible hope and resiliency as they pursue their dream of finding a place they can call home.
I haven’t read the novel but, thought that Lean on Pete
looked quite interesting so I went ahead and requested it for review. I wanted to love this film but, came away with mixed feelings. Written and directed by Andrew Haigh it’s a slice of life drama that eschews typical genre trappings in favor of a poignant, unsentimental, and hard look at poor America, in a world removed from the bustling mainstream. I really appreciated that aspect of the story and the clear focus on Charlie’s plight, which is integral to the plot. The film’s first hour was excellent as it allowed us to connect with him on an empathetic level which made rooting for him a must.
The introduction of the key characters in his life occurs then, which sets up the events that will take place in the film’s second act. Unfortunately, those characters, played by Steve Buscemi, Travis Fimmel and to a lesser degree Chloe Sevigny, really have no part to play beyond that. We are then left with Lean on Pete and Charlie, whose relationship isn’t developed any where near enough to carry the remainder of their story. Beyond that are a few ancillary characters Charlie meets along his journey but, there is no real substance to them. I thought that Charlie Plummer knocked it out of the park in his portrayal of “Charlie”. I really enjoyed Steve Buscemi’s “Del” and every scene between he and Charlie.
Lean on Pete
is a film that succeeds due to the total sum of its parts, despite a disappointing second act. Its story speaks to the human condition from a perspective grounded in genuineness. While I’d hoped for more, overall I found it enjoyable.
The rating is for language and brief violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
- DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA
Lean on Pete comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
This a solid video presentation that offers excellent refinement during close ups and discernibly crisp definition within objects during mid-level camera pans. The color range perfectly sets the film’s somber tone and has a reserved aesthetic that rarely offers bright, eye catching hues. Rendering is clean and depth is appropriate. Fleshtones keep pace with the look of the rest of the film and have a balmy but natural texture. Spot on contrast yielded crisp, bright whites and blacks are stable but slightly elevated which leaves them appearing less dynamic and occasionally flat. I didn’t see this as a problem based upon the visual style of the film. This is a clean rendering that showed no obvious signs of video related artifacts or anomalies.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix features dialogue that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects and vocal reproduction is handled with excellent clarity and depth. There is little call for active surround activity and extended dynamics however there is frequent use of atmospheric sounds that stabilize the soundstage in support of the venues being depicted onscreen. All in all this is a nicely balanced presentation that underscores the films thematic elements.
- Searching for Home: Making Lean on Pete - Featurette
- Digital Copy
Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name, Lean on Pete
is an entertaining slice of life drama that while not wholly gratifying, succeeds due to the total sum of its parts, rather than a thoroughly compelling narrative. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring solid high definition audio/video quality. Lean on Pete
is easily worth the cost of a rental and deserves a place near the top of your Blu-ray rental queue.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems