MILK (Alliance, 2008) D: Gus Van Sant,.

MILK (Alliance, 2008) D: Gus Van Sant, w/ Sean Penn, Josh Brolin. Rating: NNNNN DVD package: NNN Rating: NNNNN

Harvey Milk left a closeted life in New York to become San Francisco’s first openly gay city supervisor before being murdered by a disgruntled co-worker.



According to the friends whose reminiscences make up the best of the extras, Harvey was an exuberant guy living in lively times.

Director Gus Van Sant catches that tone exactly with crisp pacing and an intimate mood that keeps the story clear and effective in Milk’s political and personal lives, while bubbly crowd scenes provide energy and social context.

Sean Penn gives Milk a broad emotional range, but I’m guessing that it’s his way of revealing Milk’s hidden thoughts that won him the Oscar. The supporting cast likewise shines, notably James Franco as Milk’s lover Scott Smith, Josh Brolin as uptight supervisor Dan White and Denis O’Hare as homophobe state senator John Briggs.

Always curious about the interplay of history and fiction, I would have welcomed a commentary. If you’re curious, too, the extras mention a doc: The Times Of Harvey Milk.

EXTRAS Reminisces of Milk, two making-of docs. Widescreen. English, French audio. English, French, Spanish subtitles.

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