In The Measure of a Man Vincent Lindon (Mademoiselle Chambon) gives his finest performance to date as unemployed everyman Thierry, who must submit to a series of quietly humiliating ordeals in his search for work. Futile retraining courses that lead to dead ends, interviews via Skype, a workshop critique of his self-presentation by fellow jobseekers; all are mechanisms that seek to break him down and strip him of identity and self-respect. In his award-winning performance, Vincent Lindon is quietly heartbreaking, revealing the soul of the unemployed.
French Filmmaker Stephane Brize hit gold at the film festival circuit with 'The Measure of a Man', as the film went on to many nominations for multiple categories at numerous film festivals and won the Best Actor award for Vincent Lindon at Cannes. It's easy to see why this film has conjured up so much buzz, because in this current climate, no matter where you live, this story seems to hit close to home for a lot of people. Not only that, but the realism in this film is bumped up a notch by casting "non-actors" in many of the roles with the amazing Vincent Lindon being the only real actor here, which makes 'The Measure of a Man' play out more like an unfortunate documentary.
Brize wants to show everyone what it's like for a good working class family, or in this case, a hardworking man who is recently unemployed, looking for an honest day's work in this modern era. This is where we meet Thierry, who is in his mid-50s and has recently lost his job at the factory. He loves his wife and mentally disabled son and does everything he can do to provide. We see Thierry go through some pretty horrific and soul crushing job interviews, where he is told some brutal things about himself in regards to his age and not having any modern day skills to perform a job. He does eventually take a job as a security guard at a market, but he yearns for something more.
That being said, he still takes his job seriously, but also has to come down on people who are trying to survive out there too. There are some difficult moments to take in here, as Brize highlights some of the rougher moments in looking for a job and having to cut back and swallow your pride in doing something that someone thirty years younger than you is doing, but that's what makes this film feel so real, as this type of thing is happening every day. Brize also doesn't hit you over the head with really any political or social message here, but rather takes an observing from other side of the glass look here as Thierry continues his day to day routines. Another highlight that is showcased here is the overall joy and goodness of Thierry's home life, which is his saving grace on a daily basis. This aspect keeps the film from being the heavy and depressing movie that it could have been.
In addition to that, we have this amazing character trait in Thierry where he wants to succeed and redeem his former status by taking the hard steps to learning new and modern trades and skills. It's a fairly uplifting film in that regard. Vincent Lindon is phenomenal in this role too. With one glance and stare, he could tell you his whole life story and what his character has been through. You immediately latch on to him and want him to succeed, and all of this is done by just his facial expressions. He's that good. 'The Measure of a Man' is one of those excellent films that most people seem to have missed, but don't let this one pass you by. It's worth it on all levels.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
‘The Measure of a Man’ comes with a 25GB Blu-ray Disc from Kino Lorber that is Region A Locked. There is no insert or digital download code here. The disc is housed in a hard, blue plastic case with no cardboard sleeve.
'The Measure of a Man' comes with a great 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The film has a cold and bleak look to it, much like the story, so there aren't a lot of primary colors that pop of screen here. There is the occasion of a red jacket or other bright color of wardrobe that stands out, but it doesn't really pop off screen. The colors seem a little muted, but this is a style choice and not something from the transfer. The blues, grays, and browns look great here and keep the tone of the film in that dreary look and feel.
Detail is rather sharp and vivid, particularly in well lit closeups of the actor's faces, which shows off individual hairs of Thierry's mustache and wrinkles as his expressions move them in all directions. Black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones look natural if not a little paler than normal. There were no major issues with video noise, banding, or aliasing, leaving this video presentation with solid marks.
This release comes with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix and does its job well. I wouldn't say this is a fully immersive sound experience, nor are there any loud gun fights or explosions here. Still, for being a dialogue driven film that is situated on the front speakers, the sound is crisp and clear.
Sound effects and ambient noises of people in the market are full and sound layered. The acoustics of the dialogue through the computer also sounds excellent and realistic. Dialogue is always clear easy to follow along with the English subtitles. For a dialogue driven stereo sound mix, this does the job well.
Interview (HD, 16 Mins.) - Filmmaker Stephane Brize discusses making the film, the stylistic choices, the characters, and story arc.
Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2 Mins.) - Trailer for the film.
'The Measure of a Man' is a deeply insightful film without being preachy or trying to push a specific message. This is glimpse at one man's attempt to survive a chaotic and depressing job market over the age of fifty years old, while trying to support his loving family and being a good person while life constantly tries to throw your curve balls. Vincent Lindon is fantastic in the film and deserves all the awards he receives. This film won't leave your thoughts anytime soon. The video and audio presentations are both great and the one extra is worth checking out. I just wish there were more bonus features to choose from. Recommended!