Kinky Boots (2006)

by | Sep 6, 2006 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Kinky Boots (2006)

Studio: Buena Vista/Miramax 41223
Video: 2.40:1 enhanced for 16:9 widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, English or French
Subtitles: Spanish
Extras: Deleted scenes with option commentary by director, The Real Kinky Boots Factory, Journey of a Brogue Featurette, Audio commentary by Director Julian Jarrold and stars Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sarah-Jane Potts
Length: 107 minutes
Rating: ****

Based on a true story, this twisted comedy relies on a similar contrast of the supposedly shocking vs. the reticent easily-shocked nature of the typical English as seen in the Full Monty.  This time around the big challenge to the status quo is a rather beefy drag queen named Lola who keeps destroying the heels of the kinky boots she wears in the show she leads at her own club of female impersonators. Young Charlie has recently taken over the longtime shoe factory business from his father who passed away, but the business is failing due to cheap shoes from Eastern Europe cutting into sales of the carefully-made conservative shoes from the Price factory. Charlie has had to let go one worker after another.

Then he he has an encounter with the drag queen Lola. His hesitant scene when he asks her if she and her sort would appreciate a woman’s boot designed specifically to support the weight of a man is a highlight of the film. The over-the-top queen’s sassy presence shakes up the staid factory big time. So with fits and starts they go headlong into making kinky boots, the climax of which is a successful showing at a spiffy Milan shoe convention.  Along the way Charlie realizes that his financee isn’t the woman for him but one of his devoted female workers is.

Ejiofor is superb in his/her role. He also describes in the extras the long process of makeup required for his role, and how he absorbed feminine ways of looking and behaving. The bonus features are great fun, especially the tour of the real kinky boots factory with some of the principals. The real factory owner talks about getting a phone call request for the latest women’s styles but in men’s sizes; that’s how the real story began.  Authenticity was stressed at every turn: The scenes in Lola’s club used a real drag queen club and half of the workers in the film’s shoe factory were actual shoemakers in the real shoe factory (named Tricker’s) so that they appeared believable doing their work. Some taught the actors aspects of their shoemaking to make their onscreen work seem more authentic.
 
The video transfer is excellent, with a wider widescreen than we normally see – works great for the show runway shots. There is some creative use of the surrounds for ambient effects.

 – John Sunier

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