|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating - Movie:|
|Original title:||Good Joe Bell|
|Direction:||Reinaldo Marcus Green|
|Production country:||USA 2020|
|Running time:||Approx. 90 min.|
|Number of discs:||1|
|Languages:||German, English (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
|Subtitles:||Deutsch für Hörgeschädigte|
|Picture format:||16:9 (2.55:1)|
Movie: I want to start with a warning right away: Please do not watch the trailer for "Joe Bell". The film is deliberately structured so that an emotional element of the story is not revealed right at the beginning, but only after about 30 minutes. In the trailer, on the other hand, it is revealed to you right away, which clearly weakens the emotional power of the film. Completely spoiler-free, however, it can be said that the film tells the story of Joe Bell (Mark Wahlberg), a somewhat rough-around-the-edges and sometimes quick-tempered small-town working-class father. When his son Jadin (Reid Miller) opens up to him about being gay, Joe can't handle it very well at first. But when he witnesses how cruelly his boy is bullied at school, he decides to trek across the U.S. and raise awareness of the dire effects of bullying on his long journey to New York....
With the drama "Joe Bell", Reinaldo Marcus Green ("King Richard") tells a true story adapted for the screen by the writing duo Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry, who died in 2021. Ossana and McMurtry had won Oscars in 2006 for their screenplay for the film "Brokeback Mountain", in which they had already explored the theme of homosexuality in rural America. In their hands, the story about a boy who is bullied at school because of his homosexuality is quite apt.
As mentioned at the outset, the structure of the story is emotionally very well done. This is due both to the narrative structure, but also to the good acting of the actors. Reid Miller embodies the bullied Jadin with an engaging blend of fragility and strength. Mark Wahlberg is also convincing, but can't spark the same emotional strength that comes from Miller. Also worth mentioning is Gary Sinise in a small but very important supporting role, which makes for a very poignant moment, especially towards the end.
There is a great deal to praise about the production and the performance of the ensemble. However, there are also points of criticism. For example, the action remains rather superficial in many scenes, which may be due to the fact that the rather short running time of 90 minutes does not allow to really go into depth in all moments. For example, it takes a very long time to understand Joe's intention, which leads him to embark on a foot march through the USA. Here Green rushes too much through the story, which he tells at other moments again with extreme slowness. Here, a little more balance would have done the film good.
But the very great strength of "Joe Bell" is its poignant story, the end of which is very unexpected for anyone unfamiliar with the true background and will certainly provide a tear or two. It is a sad film, but somehow it also gives hope. Even if the staging does not quite do justice to the true story, the film as a whole is definitely: absolutely worth seeing!
Image + Sound: The moments in which the vastness of the landscape through which Joe wanders is shown, impress not only with a high sharpness, but also with powerful colors, harmonious contrasts and a pleasant image depth. In darker interior shots, such as in bars or in the Bells' house, minor weaknesses in the detail representation are sometimes noticeable. The sound is a relatively unspectacular Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The fact that the tonal events take place more in the center and have little surround moments to offer besides the music and dialogue is due less to the quality of the DVD than to the genre. Therefore, there are also no point deductions and overall for the technical implementation a more than satisfied: good!
Extras: Except for the trailer for the film and other program tips, there is unfortunately no bonus material.
Conclusion: "Joe Bell" is a moving drama based on true events. Acting especially Reid Miller can leave a lasting impression. But Mark Wahlberg also delivers a more than convincing performance. A quiet, sad and yet somehow hopeful film, which has to do without bonus material on DVD, but can convince in technical terms. All in all, a clear case of: Recommendable!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp