Seraphim Falls was a sparsely released film released early in 2007, recently finding its way to DVD. In addition to being the first film where two Irish stars – Pierce Brosnan & Liam Neeson – share screen time together, it also marks the directorial debut of David Von Ancken who also happened to be a co-writer. After watching this movie I can definitely tell you that I am looking forward to any future projects of Von Ancken’s. But that’s aside from the point, how was this film?
Before watching this m…vie I didn’t know anything about it, and it definitely makes it more interesting this way. The movie opens with Gideon (Pierce Brosnan) sitting next to a fire in the snowy woods, the tranquility of the forest is soon interrupted by gun shots aimed for Gideon, one hitting him. He begins running and pursuing him closely is Carver (Liam Neeson) with a posse. I was perplexed at the time trying to figure out what was going on, more specifically why Carver was trying to kill Gideon. I couldn’t figure out who to cheer for, and after Gideon cleverly kills a few posse members it becomes apparent that he’s not just your average Joe which made it all the more interesting to discover their back stories. As the film progresses you learn more about the connection between these two and their motives, but I won’t spoil that. But you can expect a very entertaining movie with an intense chase that leads from mountains to desert, although there isn’t much dialogue there is a lot of intensity and enjoyment, of course there is some action as well.
I have to say that this is one of the better movies I have seen this year. It’s a great chase/revenge film. In addition to being exceptionally well written and directed the acting was superb all around – most notably of course by the two stars Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan. The intensity the characters felt toward one and other felt very real, there was definitely good chemistry between the two Irish actors. Since the good old spaghetti westerns of a few decades ago there have hardly been any noteworthy westerns, but Seraphim Falls will definitely top the list as of late. In addition to having some brutal violence, firefights, and just all around cool outdoors stuff, Seraphim Falls has a very gripping story. I of course recommend this movie to fans of the genre, fans of the actors, or just anyone who wants to see a good movie.
Presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, Seraphim Falls looks pretty spiffy, with very minimal complaints. I’ll start off with what I would have improved which is limited to the soft close-ups (i.e. facial detail) and that the majority of the darker scenes were rather grainy. Aside from the grain the print itself holds up well, compression artifacts were not apparent once throughout the film. The transfer does shine best with the numerous wilderness shots spanning from heavy woods, mountains, prairies, and into the desert all looked phenomenal. They were captured beautifully and I was pleased to see that this impressive on location footage wasn’t thrown to the wolves with a butchered video transfer.
Sony has included the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track with Seraphim Falls, and all the audio comes through clear. Although your surround sound will not be fully utilized as there are often long stretches of no dialogue, the track still does however generate a great atmosphere by creating ambient noises through the rear channels (like wind through the trees, the clops of a horses hooves, and even traveling gunshots). As I mentioned this movie is a cat and mouse game so there is hardly any dialogue but when there is it is crystal clear and balances quite well with the rest of the track. This track is impressive but at the same time there isn’t a lot there to showcase.
The special features department is the only thing lacking on this disc, but even though there isn’t much what we are given is a nice treat.
- Audio Commentary Commentary with Pierce Brosnan, Writer/Director David Von Ancken and Production Designer Michael Hanan.
- Behind The Scenes of Seraphim Falls – A nice featurette nearly twenty minutes in length, provides a nice look into the making of the film.
Seraphim Falls is the best western movie released in quite some time, and is one of the best kept gems of 2007. I found this movie to be quite engaging, it was a great tale of revenge played out in a cat and mouse type of way. I was fully into this movie all the way to its exciting conclusion, and I recommend it for everyone to rent or even buy. The fact that it looks and sounds good adds to the value of purchasing, but be aware of the lack of special features.
Special Features List
- Commentary with Pierce Brosnan, Writer/Director David Von Ancken and Production Designer Michael Hanan
- Behind The Scenes of Seraphim Falls