The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Magnolia - 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 98 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring: Clovis Cornillac, Vamilla Pons
Directed by: Franck Vestiel
Music by: Seppuku Paradigm
Written by: Franck Vestiel & Pierre Bordage
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 19, 2009
"Escape from darkness"
A man wakes up deep inside a cave. Suffering amnesia, he has no recollection of how he came to be there, or of what happened to the man whose body he finds besides him. Tailed by a mysterious creature, this forgotten man embarks upon a journey through this strange and fantastic world to find his way to the surface.
The film opens in the dark (literally) with only flashes of light. A lone figure, later identified as Tolbiac, awakens in the dark and begins to try to find his way around in the limited light. He is in a large, wet, cold, cave, has practically no clothes on and appears to be covered in a mud like substance. Once he collects himself and moves toward the light it becomes apparent that he has no idea where he is or how he got there. He comes across a partially decomposed body which is the source of the blinking beacon and obtains it (the light) along with some clothing. He is in a large labyrinth that appears to have once been a thriving multi-level complex but is now barren except for the noises he hears off in the distance which don't sound human. As he makes his way through this deep, dark maze he encounters several groups of heavily armed guards that are searching for someone. While avoiding them he accesses an abandoned lab where he is able to find a damaged recording that captures the last moments of the technician who now lies dead on the floor. The complex is called Eden log and its purpose had something to do with the cultivation of plant source. Something went terribly wrong and things spiraled out of control. Tobiac has no recollection of what has happened or how he fits into this mystery. His main concern is for survival which instinct tells can be found outside of Eden log. The problem is that he is deep within its confines and with both the strange humanoid creatures and armed guards lurking around every corner he may not survive. The answers become a little clearer when he is captured by the only surviving lab technician who is apparently the one being pursued by the armed personnel. The problem is that those answers when revealed may not be what Tobiac expects or enough to save him from what he is becoming.
I am a fan of sci-fi based films. When Magnolia sent me the press release for Eden log I had never heard of it but it looked intriguing. This is a French film that is part of Magnolia's Six Shooter film series and marks the directorial debut of Franck Vestiel. The story is cryptically told and uses laborious pacing which frustrated me. As it slowly peels back its layers the answers in my opinion aren't defined well enough to be satisfying. The ending felt very much the same. Little is revealed about Tobiac or the lab technician (who never had a name). Who Tobiac is, and why he was in the bowels of Eden log made sense but left me wanting. The background on Eden log, the creatures, and what was eventually to follow was foggy at best. I will say that its ultimate message was simple, it's not nice to fool with Mother Nature. I thought that Clovis Cornillac did a decent job as he had to carry off the majority of the film by himself. The cinematography and visual style was different which I found interesting. When it was over I just felt like I must have missed something but everyone's take on this film might be a little different.
The rating is for violent content, frightening images and sexual 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:
Eden log, comes to Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.4 mbps.
Eden log's visual style has a monochromatic look that basks it in a bluish gray hue that permeates the presentation. The lighting used keeps blacks from maintaining stability and shadow detail in the largely dark environs is above average at best. Images are firmly resolved but resolution is far from exhibiting the high level clarity that Blu-ray disc is capable of. Close ups fare better and offer respectable detail and delineation. The video has a notably grainy aesthetic that tends to interfere with depth. The film was shot using handheld cameras which I found to be distracting at times. I appreciated the unique visual style of Eden log but its elements aren't the type that shines in high definition. The DTS-HD soundtrack is another matter entirety. This is a very involving surround mix that delivers an invigorating and aurally stimulating home theater experience. The atmospheric effects that simulate the cold, deep expanse of the cavernous depths of Eden log are excellent. Integration of the front and rear soundstages is seamless as discrete sounds follow a deliberate and realistic path as dictated by the events onscreen. Directional effects and nearfield pans that run along the side walls, and around rear of the room, help to elevate suspense as off camera cues replicate impending danger. Bass response is variable in depth with rich palpable extension and pulsating energy that energizes the room. Dialogue is full bodied with deep room penetration and high level articulation through the center channel. This is a great sounding audio mix that is clearly the highlight of this Blu-ray Disc presentation.
- The French version of the film which is presented in standard definition with Dolby Digital sound
Eden log is a unique entry in the sci-fi horror genre. I appreciated its futuristic aspects but ultimately its uneven/slow pacing, fuzzy storyline and unfulfilling ending left me disenchanted. The film's visual style doesn't lend itself to imagery that benefits from high definition's higher resolution. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is another matter and sounds superb. The bonus content is a disappointment. I would like to have seen an audio commentary or supplemental info that provided some insights/background into the film. I think that Eden log does have merit and while I didn't find it satisfying that doesn't mean it may not appeal to others. If this type of movie peaks your curiosity give it a rent and see what your take is.
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