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Radio was inspired by true events but does that make it more believable and more forthcoming? Or does it simply take the liberty of becoming too false and overbearing? Read on to find out.

Football coach Harold Jones (Ed Harris) befriends Radio (Cuba Gooding Jr.), an unusual, mentally disturbed man who touches the life of his community. In a town that places football over politics, Jones slowly develops a bonding friendship with Radio that will likely last a lifetime. Even to this day (in reality) the pair remain best of friends. Ultimately, Radio is a story of unlikely friendship and the natural flourishes and spark of life that come with it. Jones may be a man of pride and dignity but Radio brings with him a loyalty and strengths that not even the whole football team could wield. This is the story adaptation of the truly amazing thing that happened in that small Southern Carolina town.

Put Forest Gump, a sports video and Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ed Harris into a blender and Radio is the end result. It’s a product assortment of sappy emotion and over-the-top sentiment that comes off more like a dish of oversweet desert than a genuine product from the heart. While certain moments do admittedly tug at the heartstrings, it often takes its premise all too far, occasionally straying into the land of depressive belligerence. The performances were naturally good from the two lead actors, and even the supporting cast did fairly good jobs, but the unfortunate problem with this movie is that you won’t really care much for anyone. There is a point where everything seems to be going well, but when the filmmakers start to heap on as much exploitive crap as they can, it really gets boring and repetitive. I found it to even get sickening at times, as the sugar intake reached critical point!

Radio is one for the emotionless bunch of people out there who can (hopefully) withstand its gloomier moments and knuckle through until its end. As for me, and the group of people I watched it with, I found it too sallow, too oppressing to bear. This is a great shame, and what was a beautiful story at its core seems too out of tune for its own good.  

Presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer Radio looks as good as it will ever look. It isn’t flawless, but the black levels, colour definition and practically everything else were mostly great. The print is also free of any annoying artefacts or blunders. With a great deal of greenery in Radio, intermixed with blue skies and such, the image is very often gorgeous to look upon. I didn’t notice much grain, perhaps the odd scatter every now and then, but certainly nothing of any major significance. In all, I enjoyed the imagery aspects of this disc immensely.

The Dolby’s 5.1 track that is on offer here offloads some of great traits the company has become renowned for. Bass is surprisingly strong and taut, surround channels are not neglected and front and centre speakers are constantly pumping out quality sound.

The heavy thudding of the football matches in particular give your sub a really good run. Crank up the levels enough and you might have your next door neighbour thinking there is actually a match being played in your living room! Indeed, this is quite a deep soundtrack when it wants to be.—subtle most of the time, but heavy when called for.

Radio comes packaged with very little in the way of special features. The only really decent feature naturally belongs to the feature length commentary with the director, Michael Tollin. Even so, the commentary does lack any real integrity and really fails to live up to the majority of standard-setters out there.

‘Tuning in on Radio’ is a healthy twenty minute feature, however it’s content isn’t all that radiant. It only every really touches on the obvious facts and knowledge, never really unearthing anything deeper. It is still an enjoyable twenty minute window however.

‘Writing Radio’ is a twelve minute feature that interviews the writers/directors and actors about the whole aspect of bringing this inspired story to the big screen. You may also begin to notice a recurring them with this feature, in that the real-live versions of these characters (Radio and Harold Jones) loan their expertise on the various aspects of production. It may be unusual to see this kind of involvement, but it does make a welcome addition.

‘The 12 hour football games of Radio’ covers mainly training aspects of the film, and also has many of the same interviewees throughout its runtime as in previous features.

There are six deleted scenes included on the disc, personally I found none of them enlightening or interesting. As with most DVD’s these days, the optional director’s commentary feature is available.  

‘Filmographies’ just so happens to be the most pointless waste of space on any DVD that supports it, and Radio comes complete with one. Joy…

Lastly, you get the trailer for the film which is quickly becoming another slightly pointless feature, but sometimes (as we know only too well) they can be better than the movie’s they actually market.

Recommending Radio seems a hard thing for me to do. Some will undoubtedly latch onto it very strongly; others will disagree with my review saying the film is of exemplary high quality, and some will think along my lines. However it is my opinion that it is, at first glance, both a good and bad film rolled into one. My movie rating below shouldn’t be confused for the usual ‘average’ but rather to exemplify that it is a mix of good and not so good. On one hand the film shines, on the other it goes too far in its portrayal and ultimately comes off too sodden in sugary glutinousness for my likings. Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with all the warmth, but it just doesn’t seem to work here and spoils a good thing.

Radio has a noteworthy DVD transfer; in particular the image and audio aspects are great. The extra features may be fairly run-of-the-mill material, but they would appear to be adequate for a film of this variety.