Things We Lost in the Fire (2007) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama
Paramount || R - 118 minutes - $29.99 || March 24, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-03-11


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Susanne Bier
Writer(s): Allan Loeb (written by)
Cast: Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro, David Duchovny


Theatrical Release Date: October 19, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Audrey (Berry) is the mother of two and recent widow after her husband, Brian (Duchovny) is killed. Jerry (Del Toro) is a troubled man with a history of drug abuse but Brian was his only true best friend dating back 25+ years. Having difficulty raising two kids alone and just having a tough time with Brianís passing, Audrey invites Jerry to live in the garage which, after a fire, was converted into a studio-like apartment. Together, they each find solace with their loss and help deal with their current problems.

Things We Lost in the Fire is a moving and surprising movie. Itís not because of the acting as both Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro have demonstrated in the past that they are fantastic actors (in Berryís case, sheís just chosen the wrong projects). No, itís how honest the film is. It is void of contrivances that many tragic dramas contain. There isnít an ounce of artificial heart-tugging moments and in fact, I think director Susanne Bier and writer Allan Loeb mightíve underplayed it.

The first half, Bier unravels the story in a fractured way showing Brian alive and the strong relationship between him, Audrey and his kids. Intertwined is the funeral and wake where Audrey and Jerry meet followed by more on Brian and the family. Itís sort of the style Christopher Nolan used for Batman Begins. This method is effective as we get to see and fall in love with Brian and thus plant the seeds of sorrow for the rest of the film, but without bringing the entire film down either. While not quite a masterpiece of directing, it is something to behold and allows the two main characters to evolve.

With the Oscar hype movies like No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood have received in 2007, itís a shame Things We Lost in the Fire was left by the wayside. Is it a Best Picture worthy? No. But I think it deserved some recognition especially in the acting categories by Del Toro and Berry, both whom turn in somewhat low key, yet effective, performances.

Allan Loebís screenplay translates onto the screen more like a novel but maybe even better as without the source material, he is able to give each character their due without the audience feel they have been short changed. This is Loebís first screenplay but has many other projects on the horizon including the Fox series ďNew AmsterdamĒ and 21 starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth.

And I guess thatís how I would describe this film: effective. It doesnít beat you over the head with symbolism or even overly dramatic/tragic scenes made to make you cry and/or tug at the heartstrings. There is little about Things We Lost that isnít honest. If I had one criticism, it would be the forced link with the title that seemed a bit too tacked on and on the nose. Other than that, though, this is a fine movie worth watching for two excellent performances and a solid story.

The movie co-stars Alison Lohman (Beowulf), Omar Benson Miller (Shall We Dance), John Carroll Lynch (Zodiac) plus Alexis Llewellyn and Micah Berry as the two kids. It was also produced by Sam Mendes, director of 1999ís American Beauty.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Thereís slim pickings here but since the movie didnít make a splash both at the box office (grossing only $6.85m worldwide) and critically, but the disc does include seven deleted scenes (9:24) as well as a behind-the-scene featurette called A Discussion About Things We Lost in the Fire (19:52).

First, the deleted scenes werenít all that impressive. You have more interactions between Jerry and the kids (and cousin Neil and the kids) plus Jerryís reaction to a friend dying from an overdose. The featurette has the cast and, primarily, director Bier talking about the film and each of the roles. While a movie like this might warrant it, but I think a roundtable and actual discussion wouldíve been cool.

Finally, the theatrical trailer has also been included.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Things We Lost in the Fire is presented in 2.35:1 (AVC) on a 50GB Disc. With a really gritty feel to the film I think Paramount has done a fine job on the encoding. Blacks come across looking great and while colors appear to be a bit dim (intentional) this is still a fine transfer.

Paramount has included an English 5.1 TrueHD track (previously DD5.1+ on HD DVD). Unlike the Picture quality, the Audio is below-average. Dialog sounds a bit too low and rears are hardly ever used. There is just nothing spectacular here and if you already have the previous HD DVD there is no reason to upgrade.



.::OVERALL::.

Although the disc couldíve had more in terms of features, the movie itself is quite good and at least worth rental. Both Benicio Del Toro and Halle Berry turn in fine performances that, unfortunately, were overshadowed by more prominent (i.e. critically acclaimed) films. Things We Lost in the Fire strikes a fine balance between heavy handed drama and good storytelling and character development.