Mildred Pierce - The Collector’s Edition
Queer cinema pioneer Todd Haynes continues to break barriers with his utterly daring adaptation of "Mildred Pierce", using faded photography and a 330+ minute runtime to evoke the turmoil of this Great Depression drama with a clarity that is rarely seen on the big or small screen. Starring Kate Winslet in perhaps the finest acting performance of 2011 (she appears in literally every single scene), he adapts James Cain’s melodrama, about a woman who aims to improve her social standing while also winning over the love of her spiteful daughter, with a fidelity to the text that is unheard of (often filming scenes word-for-word as they appear in the novel.) The result is a cumulative effect that hypnotizes the viewer, bringing them slowly into Mildred’s world: the first few parts (lasting a little over an hour each) are focused on character, with the central conflicts few and far between; but by the last two hours Haynes achieves truly operatic levels of emotion within his narrative.
HBO’s Blu-ray of the miniseries is the best possible way to experience "Mildred Pierce," perfectly replicating the grainy and faded look of Haynes’ 16mm photography. Haynes also provides commentary on two of the episodes (totally about 2 hours and 15 minutes) that is revelatory in revealing what he sees the contemporary relevance of the story; as well as to understanding his challenging visual style (he almost always photographs Mildred through other objects - windows, houses, nature, anything that blurs her appearance.) Rounding out the package are 5-minute recaps with Haynes for every episode, as well as a 30-minute behind the scenes featurette. The slow pace and obsession with period details may be a turn off for many, but "Mildred Pierce" is one of the finest cinematic accomplishments of 2011, even if it never played in a movie theater.
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack