Director: Craig Gillespie
Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney
Release Date: March 13, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Based on the unbelievable but true events, I, Tonya is a dark comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Though Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her legacy was forever defined by her association with an infamous and poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan. Featuring an iconic turn by Margot Robbie as the fiery Harding, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, and an original screenplay by Steven Rogers, Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya is an absurd, irreverent, and piercing portrayal of Harding’s life and career in all of its unchecked—and checkered—glory.
Inspired by the true events and individual, ‘I, Tonya’ follows the life of infamous figure skater Tanya Harding (Robbie) chronicling the key events in her life and career from early childhood to her skating glory, marriage to Jeff (Stan) and through the “incident” that will forever be synonymous with her name. Brimming with true talent and constantly pushed beyond plausible limits by her insistent and often cruel mother LaVona (Janney), one thing is always clear, Tanya is definitely in a breed of her own and drastically unlike your average Olympic figure skaters to say the least; not to mention a lot more colorful in her attitude and approach. Get ready for plenty of over the top fun and hilarity in this ridiculous and clever take on Tanya Harding’s life.
Directed by Craig Gillespie (The Finest Hours, Lars and the Real Girl) from a screenplay written by Steven Rogers (Hope Floats), Gillespie does a magnificent job at the helm of ‘I, Tonya’ guiding this hilariously fun ride along with ease. The film also owes a sizeable share of credit to the overall impressive cast that really makes the movie work so well including Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad), Sebastian Stan (Captain America: Civil War), Allison Janney (TV’s Mom), Julianne Nicholson (Black Mass), Paul Walter Hauser (TV’s Kingdom), Bobby Cannavale (TV’s Mr. Robot) and more, nearly all delivering noteworthy performances in each of their respective roles, particularly Robbie and Janney who are both at their absolute finest here, with Janney even taking home a much deserved academy award for her role.
‘I, Tonya’ is a wildly over the top, constantly hilarious and ridiculously entertaining portrayal of the life and career of infamous figure skater Tanya Harding that never hesitates to have a great deal of fun with the content as it weaves a semi-biography that almost feels on-par with such brilliant mockumentaries as The Lonely Island’s recent ‘Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping’. Perhaps the most impressive aspect altogether is just how magnificently ‘I, Tonya’ makes this work while still managing to tackle even the darker and more unsettling aspects of Tanya’s past, lightening the overall mood even with such simple antidotes as a brutal event being timely followed by another interviewee calmly retorting “that never happened”. It’s a truly spectacular film that just might not be at all what you expect; a cleverly constructed exploration of the true life of Tanya Harding that doesn’t miss a beat and never fails to deliver constant fun and laughs along the way. It’s perfectly guided along its absurd course by director Craig Gillespie whose more than capable guidance is only tremendously complimented by a top notch cast that features phenomenal performances by Margot Robbie and Allison Janney who are both a constant pleasure to behold, Janney even nabbing a much deserved Oscar for her role. I would strongly urge anyone already even the slightest bit intrigued by the film to make a point of checking out ‘I, Tonya’ when you have the chance. Fans of director Craig Gillespie and/or of stars Margot Robbie and Allison Janney will also want to be sure to give this one a whirl sooner than later.
Overall, ‘I, Tonya’ is a magnificent and splendidly ridiculous look at the life and career of Tanya Harding that cleverly manages to craft the events into a witty and nearly absurd little mockumentary style film that delivers a hilarious and insanely fun ride from start to finish. Swiftly guided along by director Craig Gillespie and featuring a powerhouse cast led by Margot Robbie that never falters, this is one enjoyable and fantastic comedic gem that shouldn’t be missed. ‘I, Tonya’ is definitely highly recommended and should have no trouble whatsoever proving itself worthy of both your time and the cost of a rental at the very least for anyone even mildly interested to begin with. Odds are that you won’t be the slightest bit disappointed with this surprisingly amusing and marvelous little film.
The Blu-ray release of ‘I, Tonya’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty fantastic as a whole and delivers a clean and detailed presentation from start to finish with no notable faults to be found along the way. It holds up more than adequately even during the fast moving, darkly lit or heavily populated sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation that consistently holds up throughout and should have little trouble pleasing fans of the film and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack provides a crisp, clean and often quite immersive audio presentation throughout. It frequently takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send music, crowd chatter and more throughout the various speakers when fitting, with some notable activity such as the announcer’s voice booming throughout every channel during events, and always making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously along the way remain clear and fully audible. Overall, this is a wonderful 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it and compliments the film nicely throughout.
The Blu-ray release of ‘I, Tonya’ includes a few notable extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Craig Gillespie’, in addition to a few ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 17 minutes altogether) and a collection of short Behind the Scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘All Sixes: The Perfect Performances of I, Tonya’ (running approximately 4 minutes), ‘Irony Free, Totally True: The Story Behind I, Tonya’ (approximately 4 minutes), ‘Working with Director Craig Gillespie’ (2 minutes), ‘The Visual Effects of I, Tonya’ (4 minutes) and ‘VFX: Anatomy of the Triple Axel’ (2 minutes). 3 ‘Trailers’ for the film are also included; the ‘Teaser Trailer’ (1 minute), ‘Theatrical Green-Band Trailer’ (2 minutes) and ‘Theatrical Red-Band Trailer’ (2 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
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