Neverlost (Blu-ray) (2010)

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Released 19-Jul-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Fantasy None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 88:42 (Case: 92)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Chad Archibald
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Ryan Barrett
Emily Alatalo
Jennifer Polansky
Samuel Borstein
Gary Fischer
Patricia Ball
Peter Higginson
Paige Albrecht
Danny Bruzzi
Alison Campbell
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Brad Ferringo
Alison Rothwell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD High Resolution Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, after end credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Josh Higgins (Ryan Barrett) is in a nasty, loveless marriage to Meg (Jennifer Polansky) and is plagued by never ending insomnia. His sole happiness comes from pictures and memories of his college true love Kate (Emily Alatalo), who died some years before in a house fire set by her own father. Seeking relief from his insomnia, Josh is prescribed sleeping pills by a doctor; taking them he enters a dream world where he has married Kate but has been in a coma, and is now awakening into a world of light and happiness. He starts taking the tablets regularly and as he switches between the two worlds his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic. Indeed, in his world with Kate Josh starts to exhibit some of the aggressive, obsessive behaviour that dominates his relationship with Meg. The question is: which is the real world, and which the delusional? Or are in fact both worlds delusional?

     Written and directed by Chad Archibald Neverlost was made on a tiny budget in Ontario and had a limited theatrical release in Canada. Neverlost is clearly not mainstream cinema; the film does not really explain or resolve, which can be good or not so good depending on your mood; and you can read the endings (the “s” not a misprint) in a number of ways.

     Right from the start the film sets out to disorient; behind the opening titles there is an overbright scene of a happy laughing couple (we find out later they are Josh and Kate) and blue-grass music that abruptly changes to an atonal chord and a black screen with the film’s title card. Neverlost then quickly becomes a journey into the psyche of a disturbed man and as it is told entirely from Josh’s perspective, made clear from the opening direct to camera dialogue, we can never be too sure just which story, if any, is “real”. We know that Josh has a diploma in scriptwriting, so the entire film may well be his invention to cover up an act that his mind has blocked out entirely.

     The filmmaking lends an unreality to proceedings: some sequences have a sepia tone, others have an accentuated brightness, sometimes the camera is deliberately out of focus. Most scenes in the “real” world have a dull, muted colour scheme and indeed one of the few scenes that looks natural is Josh’s memory of proposing to Kate while fishing in a beautiful wooded stream. Is this perfect location, perfect day, just another dream? The dialogue and the acting is one-dimensional, but I could not decide if this was the acting or was supposed to reflect how Josh saw his world. Certainly Meg, Kate and Kate’s father (Sam Borstein) all fall under this category, the first sluttish, the second angelic, the third evil (and always smoking – and fire is a pivotal part of the story). I am also not convinced that Ryan Barrett shows enough range for the film to work fully. It is, after all, his story.

     Neverlost is certainly worth watching. The film sets up a number of intriguing themes and develops them in interesting and unsettling ways but in the end resolves too few of them to be totally satisfying. Worth a look if the premise interests.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Neverlost is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, which I imagine is the original ratio, in 1080i using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is low budget filmmaking but in addition the director and cinematographer use changes in colour, contrast and brightness, as well as out of focus camerawork, to show Josh’s delusional world. As such the film was never meant to be clear and sharp, but while there is some softness the print has good detail in close-ups. Colours are generally muted, skin tones affected by the brightness in the “dream” sequences. Blacks and shadow detail were fine.

     Marks were absent. However, there was some ghosting with movement and aliasing, such as on bricks at 6:27.

    There are no subtitles.

     The print is OK and is never distracting, except when it intends to be.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is an English DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1.

    Dialogue is sometimes unclear and I had some difficulty especially with Emily Alatalo in some scenes, when the absence of subtitles didn’t help. The surrounds were not used aggressively, but did come into play with the music, ambient sounds, weather effects such as rain, and the odd directional effect such as a train passing overhead. The sub-woofer was also not overused, but supported the fire effects and added bass to some of the scene changes into the dreams.

     The score by Brad Ferringo and Alison Rothwell was effective without being memorable.

     I did not notice any lip synchronisation issues.

     Except for some of the dialogue, the audio is perfectly adequate for the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     Nothing at all. The cover slick indicates “Trailer / Trailershow” as extras but I could not find them on this Blu-ray.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     While there are DVD releases of the film in other regions, our Australian Region A/B/C release seems to be the only Blu-ray available of Neverlost; Amazon.com and Amazon.com.uk only list our release. A win for Australia.

Summary

     Neverlost is about loss, delusion, reality and dreams. The film is certainly worth watching and it sets up a number of interesting questions but in the end resolves too few of them to be totally satisfying.

     The video is not one to show off the advantages of Blu-ray, the audio is fine. There are no extras, but there is no other version of the film currently available on Blu-ray.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, November 26, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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