The present-day conservative movement’s obsession with Ronald Reagan, in which any/all Republican candidates for national public office must heap misty-eyed praise on the former president, canonizing him as their own personal as well as political hero (commemorative tattoos are also accepted), is a bit out of step with at least some of the realities that Reagan’s political record reflects. (Yes, he actually… raised taxes. And even tried to dismantle our nuclear weapons — all of them — at the Reyjavik Summit in 1987.) Still, filmmaker Robert Kline’s laudatory documentary, coming during the centennial of the birth of the 40th President of the United States, isn’t a complete hagiography, just a fairly slobbering valentine.
During Reagan’s two terms in the White House the nation witnessed some exceedingly significant events of modern American and world history — the Cold War, the Solidarity Movement and the candle in the White House window, Pan Am 103, the Challenger disaster, and conflicts in Beirut and Libya, as well as the Iran-Contra affair. Regardless of what one thinks of his politics, Reagan’s speeches were inspired, well-crafted lectures that informed the nation of the next steps their government would take, in these situations and countless others. Ronald Reagan: An American Journey is a collection of these dialogues, creating a portrait of the man Time magazine named as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th century. With the additional use of narrative and archival footage, Kline crafts a relatable if not always psychologically depth-plumbing portrait of one of our most influential modern-day presidents.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case in turn stored in a cardboard slipcover (not enabled for pop-up worship, alas), Ronald Reagan: An American Journey comes to DVD presented in 1.33:1 full frame, with a Dolby digital 2.0 stereo audio track. There are no discernible bonus features… unless perhaps there has to be some sort of special incantation to unlock them. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. The title is also available via digital download. C+ (Movie) C- (Disc)