The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: DreamWorks - 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 118 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro, David Duchovny, Alison Lohman, Omar Benson Miller, John Carroll Lynch
Directed by: Susanne Bier
Music by: Johan Soderqvist
Written by: Allan Loeb
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 24, 2009
"Accept the good"
Academy Award winners Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro give two of the years most brilliant performances in the critically acclaimed drama Things We Lost In The Fire. Audrey (Berry) is reeling after a terrible loss, and impulsively invites a troubled life long friend Jerry (Del Toro) to stay with her and her two children. With each other's help, Audrey and Jerry discover hope and happiness in their new lives.
I reviewed this film when it originally released on DVD. Here are my comments from that review:
Brian (Duchovny) is happily married to Audrey (Berry) and they have two beautiful children. On a regular basis Brian makes visits to his friend Jerry (Del Toro) who he has been best friends with since childhood. The problem is that Jerry is a methadone addict who has gone from being a person with a future to one whose future is out of focus. Brian is loyal and looks past Jerry's issues and supports him. Audrey has a problem with this which leads to some tension in their relationship. After a tragic incident both Audrey and Jerry are left to try and pick up the pieces of their lives. After seeing the trailer for Things we lost in the fire I was looking forward to seeing it. I am a fan of all three of the lead characters and saw good potential in the story. After watching it I felt that it was good but not as good as I had hoped. Del Toro is such a fine actor and his portrayal of the fallible Jerry is superb. I think that Halle Berry is a good actress however her role here at times felt forced to me. Her onscreen chemistry with both Duchovny and Del Toro didn't always feel genuine. I like David Duchovny and have yet to see him in a cinematic role that I have not liked. He always seems to create charismatic and believable characters. He gelled quite well with both of the young actors who portrayed his children in the film, as did Del Toro. The establishment of these relationships is where the film excelled. There came a point in the second act where I found myself checking to see how much time was left in the film. To me that is a clear indication that it is dragging a bit. Things did pick up and the ending, while not what some would hope for, was solid and fulfilling.
After this revisit my overall perspective basically remained the same. I would say that my minor of criticism of Berry may have been misplaced as I better appreciated her performance this time around. This is an emotionally charged film that depicts people going through life altering events that can bring about an evolution that comes from within. A character driven film like this relies heavily on the cast and in this case the performances were strong. I still feel that the pacing was a little slow during the second act but it recovers nicely in the third. All in all Things we lost in the fire is a rewarding viewing experience that is worth seeing.
The rating is for language and drug content.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Things we lost in the fire comes to Blu-ray Disc from DreamWorks featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 2.7 mbps.
In looking at my comments from when I reviewed the DVD I found that they were pretty brief but to the point. Here is a recap of my comments:
This was solid presentation on both the audio and video fronts. I suspect everyone will find it looks quite good regardless of their display size. As a dialogue based drama it didn't offer consistent use of the entire system however it delivered crystal clear audio with fine detail and articulation throughout.
This high definition video presentation looks terrific. Colors are lively with deep primaries and vibrant hues that pop quite nicely. Fleshtones are a little washed out but offer appreciable tonal separation that keeps them looking lifelike. Images onscreen were exquisitely detailed, with resolute sharpness, and superb depth and dimension. Bold use of contrast invigorates colors while white washing some of the brighter segments. Blacks had excellent dynamic range with strong shadow delineation that provided excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. Close ups had a translucent quality that revealed the most intricate minutia in the physical features of the cast. The video was rendered cleanly, with a pristine quality that enhanced dimensionality and provided the looking through a window effect. Grain is visible throughout with a heavier emphasis during the flashback sequences which gave them a noticeably textured appearance. I noticed a little digital noise in the background during a few dark scenes but it was minimal.
This is a dialogue driven film but it benefited from the higher resolution of this lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding. The front heavy presentation delivers transparent detail, lucid dialogue, and excellent channel separation across the front soundstage. The surrounds are used sparingly and consists primarily of musical ambience that supports the front channels to create a deeper sense of envelopment. The mix mated well with the source material and sounded fine.
- A discussion about Things we lost in the fire - 20 minute featurette
- 7 deleted scenes
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
Things we lost in the fire is a moving, well acted, drama that depicts the human condition and how resilient we as people can be even in the face of stern adversity. Paramount brings this catalog release title to Blu-ray disc in a technically strong package that, like the DVD release, offers little in the way of bonus supplements. This makes it tough to recommend as an upgrade if you already own the DVD. However the difference in its video presentation isn't subtle so if you're inclined knock yourself out. Otherwise give it a rent.
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