‘Bottle Shock’ works hard at creating a story | SummitDaily.com
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‘Bottle Shock’ works hard at creating a story

LESLIE BREFELD
Summit Daily News
Summit County, CO

‘Bottle Shock’ has a great tidbit of Americana history going for it, and that’s about it. As can sometimes be the case with movies that start, “based on a true story,” the film’s telling can’t seamlessly mesh the story it has made up for the characters, and the facts it needs to portray; therefore creating something too long and a little convoluted.

The film shows the time in 1976 when a Napa Valley wine from California beat out the premiere in French wines in a an American-French competition.

While the film takes a too shallow look at hippies and love, there are other stories woven into the blend that do tempt the palette.

The complex relationship between father and son, Jim and Bo Barrett, played by Bill Pullman and Chris Pine, is intriguing. The two winemakers at the Chateau Montelena in California take any argument out to the boxing match, near the vineyard.

Bo himself is who the story follows, as he, not really figures out, but at least shows us the entanglement of his life.

Those who can appreciate wine at an advanced level will be able to celebrate this movie which early on professes that “great wine is great art.”

It is the British winemaker living in France, Steven Spurrier who mutters these words, correlating with an unabashed snobbery. He’s also the one who puts on the contest, which is by design, meant to prove the legitimacy of France’s elite position in wine.

Although in the beginning the pretentious act seems cliche, Alan Rickman’s character takes on more substance while traveling through California tasting wines. His actions mellow in a realistic way when he meets the people, and more importantly, tastes their wine.

What results is a sweet connectedness between two men who worship wine. Spurrier and Jim Barrett are both idealistic men, who, perhaps unbeknownst to each other, share a similar suffering in trying to keep their small businesses alive.

3 stars out of five


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