DVD Review: THE CATCHER WAS A SPY

THE CATCHER WAS A SPY is based on a true story. The movie was directed by Ben Lewin from a screenplay by Robert Rodat and stars Paul Rudd, Mark Strong, Sienna Miller, Jeff Daniels, Guy Pearce and Paul Giamatti. Based upon upon the book “Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg” by Nicholas Dawidoff.

Paul Rudd stars as Moe Berg in the incredible true story of how a professional baseball player became a World War II spy.  A Jewish, Princeton-educated, multilingual catcher for the Boston Red Sox with a closely-guarded private life, the enigmatic Berg was already a man of mystery when, in 1944, the U.S. government’s wartime intelligence agency enlisted his services. His mission: go behind enemy lines in Europe to assassinate the Nazi’s chief nuclear scientist before the Germans develop an atomic bomb. Trading in his catcher’s mitt for a trench coat, Berg must rely on his formidable, steel-trap intellect in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse—with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Mark Strong, Sienna Miller, Jeff Daniels, Guy Pearce and Paul Giamatti costar in this remarkable slice of forgotten history.

This biopic spy thriller takes place in the 1930’s and follows Moe Berg who starts out as a catcher for the Boston Red Sox and ends up becoming a spy working for the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) during World War II. The movie only spends a little time with Berg as a baseball player but it does show his love for the game. There’s also a little time spent with Berg’s girlfriend Estella (Sienna Miller) and even though the two loved each other Berg had to keep her at a safe distance because of the spy game. The movie focuses more time on him becoming this spy that’s recruited by Donovan (Jeff Daniels), a higher-up in the United States military.  Donovan sees something special in the baseball player who also happens to be a brilliant man who can speak seven languages and knows many different cultures.

What happens is, there’s a serious threat that the Nazis could possibly be building an atomic bomb so a plan is put together to see if the intel is actually true and if it is to stop this bomb from being built at any cost. Berg teams up with Furman (Guy Pearce) and Goudsmit (Paul Giamatti) and they set out on this mission to see if German physicist Heisenberg (Mark Strong) is indeed building the bomb for the Nazis. Berg has taken a dangerous road to get to his target where he ultimately comes face-to-face with the scientist only to find a distant kinship to the mysterious scientist. In the end, Berg was tasked with killing Heisenberg if he thought he was actually a threat but he trusted his instincts and allowed the physicist to live and it was obviously the right choice.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The DVD disc is flat grey and features the movie logo. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this standard-definition release were really good. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, The Catcher was a Spy ended up being a well executed period piece that’s based on this baseball player who becomes a spy. As strange as it sounds this actually happened for this thrill-seeking mysterious man that nobody really never knew. The thing about Moe Berg is, he never let his emotions get in the way of his focus and it allowed him to live well beyond this dangerous mission. I liked the story and enjoyed the movie even though it was a slow burn at times but thankfully it clocks in at a modest run time so it wasn’t too long of a watch. There’s a lot to enjoy about the movie like the fantastic cast assembled for it and the names you see up top aren’t all the familiar faces that show up because there’s cameos throughout the watch. The setting, locations and wardrobes were spectacular and helped give the movie its 30’s look. Ben Lewin constructed an interesting movie about this modest patriot and his work is complimented nicely by some impressive cinematography. The Catcher was a Spy is an acquired taste but it’s a little movie that plays much bigger than it actually is and the proof is on the screen. This all-star espionage thriller will be available on DVD on October 2nd.

Distributor: Paramount Home Media Distribution

Run Time: 94 Minutes

Rated: R

DVD Video: 16×9 Widescreen Presentation

DVD Audio:English Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include seven deleted scenes.

  • Deleted Scenes (08:44)

 

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