Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on August 12th, 2005
This is one of those films that is depressing solely for the sake of being depressing. There was a string of these kinds of films in the 90’s, but they have gone out of style as of the past seven years or so. This particular film tells the story of what happens to a dysfunctional family when one of the members commits suicide. Apparently, each member of the family grieves in his or her own way, all of which are wildly dangerous. Sexual promiscuity, substance abuse, lawlessness and despair abound in this tale of miser… and woe. In fact, just when you don’t think this film can get any more screwed up, it goes one step further.
The acting is top-notch, but the script is painfully sub-par. Plot twists are easily perceived way in advance, and the inevitable questions that arise after a suicide are addressed in a way that, quite frankly, seems to make the answers a bit to easy. Let’s face it, suicide is an extremely heavy subject, and one that is very hard to discuss. This film attempts a monumental task, and gives it an admirable try, but just doesn’t quite live up to the goals it sets for itself.
This is not a film that is made for dynamic audio. Still, the results are positive. Surrounds are used sparingly, but are effective when warranted. Dialog is always clear, and musical tones are full, especially during party sequences. This is an admirable audio track for a disc that will probably be seen by a pretty limited audience.
I really wanted to find some problems with this transfer, but they just aren’t here. The images are clean and clear, with no blemishes or problems with grain. Black levels are deep, and colors are consistent and realistic. There is a slight touch of grain present, but it just adds to the cinematic look of the film. This is a really fine transfer, as is the audio.
This disc has not one, but two commentary tracks; one by Sigourney Weaver, and one by director Dan Harris and actor Emile Hirsch. Personally, I found this to be a bit of overkill, as the film is pretty long-winded on its own. This disc also contains a collection of eight deleted scenes, which were all obviously deleted for a very good reason. A token photo gallery is included, along with a short and pointless instrumental soundtrack spot. Rounding out the extras is a brief six-minute behind the scenes featurette, which is really just an electronic press kit. While thee is nothing particularly fantastic here, this is still a respectable set of extras for an unknown little film.
Despite the fact that this was not a film that was intended to be a big earner at the box office, the production value on this disc is first-rate. Excellent picture and above-average audio makes this disc a pleasure to watch, no matter what you opinions are of the film itself. If you are a fan of this film, you can purchase this disc with high expectations. If you have never seen it, however, you may want to rent first. This is a very heavy piece of storytelling, and it is probably a bit more ambitious than a two-hour film can handle.
Special Features List
- Commentary with Sigourney Weaver
- Commentary with Director Dan Harris and actor Emile Hirsch
- Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
- Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
- Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery
- Trailers for Layer Cake, In My Country, William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Kung Fu Hustle, Look At Me, A Love Song for Bobby Long, Rescue Me, Creature Comforts, Up and Down