While not a fan of Hilary Swank, "FREEDOM WRITERS" is a much better film than its ads, or inner-city storyline suggest. Swank plays an idealistic young teacher, working in a Long Beach, California public school, circa 1994. Working within the similar subject matter as many other films, most of them awful(DANGEROUS MINDS), "FREEDOM WRITERS," (for the most part) feels honest and original. Sure writer/director LaGravenese, dips into the cliche' well a few times, but there's much more honesty than patronizing, and the film works against many inherent obstacles. It's a refreshing experience!
PARAMOUNT has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement. Colors are rich and vibrant. There are a few scenes that appear soft, but these are infrequent. Detail is generally impressive. Darker scenes offer generally deep blacks, but the detail is hindered in comparison to the more typically bright moments. Hopefully, the upcoming Blu-Ray release will better this inconsistency.
PARAMOUNT has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. It's surprisingly aggressive! While dialogue is important here, writer/director LaGravenese uses some creative effects, that compliment, without overpowering dialogue. The hip-hop score kicks into high gear during appropriate moments. There are ample surround and panning effects.
PARAMOUNT has provided a commentary with the director and Swank.(not as compelling as the director's earlier one for "LIVING OUT LOUD"). Deleted scenes, featurettes and more are also included.