Godforsaken (2010) (NTSC)
|Year Of Production||2010|
|Running Time||84:34 (Case: 81)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Jamil Dehlavi|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
†††† While her teenage daughter is attending a ballet audition in London, Lucille Matheson (Annabel Wright) seeks out a village priest (Dominic Mafham) to tell him an incredible story. Sixteen years previously the three year old daughter of her husband Paul Matheson (Trevor White) and his first wife Martine was abducted, killed and buried in a shallow grave when the ransom demanded for her return was not paid. This unhinged Martine; the Mathesonís divorced and Martine was placed in an asylum. Shortly afterwards Paul married Lucille and they had a daughter. However a man (Nick Ashdon), who may be a fallen angel with what appears to be the stumps of severed wings on his back, appeared. It seems that he had been responsible for protecting Martineís daughter, and his failure and her death had resulted in his expulsion from heaven. To achieve redemption, he was there to protect Lucilleís daughter. Or was he? For the angel frees Martine from the asylum and with the aid of a disgraced surgeon (Vernon Dobtcheff) he turns her into the identical image of Lucille. And where he and Martine walk, death follows.
†††† Godforsaken is the work of co-screenwriter / director / producer / editor Jamil Dehlavi, who has a resume of only 9 films spanning forty years. The screenplay of Godforsaken is based on the novel Jours de Souffrance by Yolaine Destremau and the film is a very strange piece of work indeed; I have not read the source novel, so it may be equally strange. Godforsaken has had some scathing reviews with one stating that the film made him feel dirty and uneasy while another said he needed a bath after watching it. But while the subject matter of Godforsaken is certainly distasteful in parts this is not a film that is overly confronting or gory in its approach. I feel that these negative reviews may be a result of some reviewers unable to accept the concept of an angel, even a fallen angel, doing some very reprehensible, unangelic, acts of violence and betrayal. For Godforsaken is about redemption, but in seeking that redemption is it justified to do bad things in order to atone for worse things you have done in the past? And is any of this possible without losing your very soul?
†††† Taken without religious sensibilities, Godforsaken is a well-made, well-acted, intriguing psychological thriller. Dehlavi uses intercut scenes and different time lines to reveal the story gradually, like a cake adding small layers of backstory and motivation, and when the answer to one mystery is revealed, it is replaced by another, adding to the complexity. Dehlavi is aided by good performances by Annabel Wright, in the dual roles of Lucille / Martine, Dominic Mafham as the priest whose beliefs are shaken and Nick Ashdon as the angel with so much guilt. Although a low budget, independent production, Godforsaken looks anything but cheap, with some fabulous London locations and sets shot by DP Godfrey Kirby.
†††† Godforsaken may not be for everyone but it packs a lot of intriguing ideas into the 84 minute running time, the acting and production values are good and the ending adds another twist. This twist is not altogether unexpected, but it does resolve most of the questions posed earlier in the film; whether you think the conclusion is satisfying or not may, however, be another issue entirely!
†††† Godforsaken is presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced, in NTSC.
†††† Detail is very good throughout which, together with the deep but natural colours, shows off the great looking London locations and sets. Blacks and shadow detail are fine, skin tones natural, brightness and contrast consistent except for some glare through windows behind the actors.
†††† There were no marks but there was some aliasing on vertical lines, bare branches (27:03) and a white shirt plus mottling on a tile roof (42:45).
†††† No subtitles are provided.
†††† Audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kbps, surround encoded.
†††† Dialogue is always clear and easy to understand. The effects, such as shots, are sharp enough. There was music and ambient effects in the rears and some sub-woofer activity supporting the drums or loud effects.
†††† The Dying Swan by Camille Saint Saens is used prominently which the original score by Deborah Mollison somewhat channels using cello, Chinese violin and oud (a short-necked lute type instrument) as well as piano to provide a classical feel that is very effective.
††††Lip synchronisation was fine. Pops and hisses were absent.
|Surround Channel Use|
†††† No extras of any kind.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
†††† The UK Region 2 DVD of Godforsaken looks to be the same as our release, except that it is listed as PAL. There does not seem to be a US DVD available at this time.
†††† I did not know what to expect from Godforsaken, especially after the negative reviews, but I was intrigued by the ideas and enjoyed the complexity of the plotting as the motivations and the events of the past were gradually revealed. The acting and locations were good, belying the filmís low budget. Jamil Dehlavi may not be very prolific, but on the evidence of Godforsaken he knows how to construct an interesting mystery thriller. Donít be put off; Godforsaken is well worth a look.
††††The video and audio are acceptable. No extras.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 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 Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|