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"You don't need practice for what you are looking for, Hunter. You need courage, and you have plenty of that."
DVD ReviewIn The Doe Boy, James Duval stars as Hunter, a half-Cherokee teenager whose life does not afford him the respect that others his age have. With a rare case of hemophilia as well as his half blooded nature, Hunter is all but an outcast to the elders in the town, even his own father (Anderson): when Hunter was a small child his father took him hunting, and Hunter shot a female deer, something that is taboo in the Cherokee community. With this tragedy saddled upon him Hunter becomes known as Doe Boy, a nickname that will haunt him through his teenage years and earn him the disappointment of his father. With his past haunting him, Hunter seeks out the advice of his Grandfather (Tootoosis) and learns the ways of the Cherokee life as well as the love of an attractive neighbor (Hererra).
It is often difficult to create a tender coming of age film for the simple reason that everyone grows up in a different way. One could say that Randy Redroad's The Doe Boy is that special type of coming of age drama, one that is not only wholly original and poignant, but one that benefits from the universal appeal in that everyone, at some point in their lives, feels as though they just don’t fit in.
The human quality of Redroad's script is the most stunning achievement here, as each character is so perfectly drawn and realized that even the smallest part feels true and inspired. Redroad, who based the film on a similar incident in his own life, also does an adept job behind the camera, infusing the film with a very simple yet elegant look. His pacing is also admirable in that even the most somber events have as great an importance to the story as one particular tragedy in the middle of the film. By refraining from falling into the traditional trappings that would cause an emotional breakdown of the characters involved, Redroad treats the matter with respect and warmth, rather than ratcheting up the drama.
In the lead role, James Duval offers an intricate and restrained performance as an individual whose emotions must grow as the character does. Duval plays the role to perfection; other noteworthy performances come from Kevin Anderson, and Jade Hererra as Hunter's girlfriend.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-
Image Transfer Review: Presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer The Doe Boy looks fine, though the image suffers from a soft filter that keeps the transfer from being as crisp as it should be. Colors are fine as cinematographer Laszlo Kadar's imagery is nicely rendered with striking earthtones throughout. Sharpness and detail are each fine, though the softness hampers these attributes quite often. I noticed no edge enhancement for the most part, while the print used was of high quality.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for The Doe Boy is largely rooted in the center channel, while the surround, left and right speakers add small, but nice, ambience. Dialogue is clean and clear with no distortion throughout. Simply an average mix.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Extras Review: The theatrical trailer for The Doe Boy is presented in full frame with Dolby Surround, while filmographies and weblinks round out the scant extra features.
Extras Grade: C-
Final CommentsIt is difficult to recommend The Doe Boy given the lack of extra features and the lesser quality of audio and video portions. For those who are looking for something of a break from the norm, however, give this film a chance. You may well be pleasantly surprised.
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