Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Third Person Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
From two-time Academy Award winner Paul Haggis (Best Picture & Best Writing, Original Screenplay,Crash, 2004) comes Third Person, a collection of multi-strand stories of love, relationships and betrayal. An intriguing and thought‐provoking film, Third Person intricately weaves together the stories of three couples, in three different cities, who appear to have nothing related -- but share deep commonalities. The three tales play out in three cities: in Paris, where a Pulitzer Prize-winning author (Liam Neeson) who recently left his wife (Kim Basinger) is having a tempestuous affair with an ambitious young journalist (Olivia Wilde); in Rome, where a shady American businessman (Adrien Brody) meets a mysterious woman (Moran Atias); and in New York, where a lawyer (Maria Bello) is helping a young mother (Mila Kunis) in a custody battle with her famous ex-husband (James Franco).
Film (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Michael (Liam Neeson) is an award winning writer, working on his latest novel.  He resides in a high end European hotel, and his mistress Anna (Olivia Wilde) has come to spend the week with him.  Her idea of spending the week with him includes having her own room on a different floor. An American named Scott (Adrien Brody) has acquired the latest suit designs he plans to copy and has just run into a beautiful woman named Monica in a bar.  Monica’s daughter is being held hostage and Scott gets intimately involved with the fight to get her back.  He tries to help, and makes things worse and more expensive as he travels with Monica, trying to do the right thing and help where he can.

We also meet Julia (Mila Kunis) a former actress who is down on her luck. She is in the middle of a custody battle with her husband Rick (James Franco) over their son, whom she is accused of endangering. Third Person follows the stories of the three main characters, Michael, Scott and Julia and jumps from location to location.  I will admit it wasn’t always easy to keep up with the plot shifts. The film spent so much time on these complicated storylines and twist reveals that I did get a little lost, and I found the ending disappointing.  The ending was anti-climactic and didn’t do the rest of the film justice.   

All of the actors’ performances are genuine and believable.  Kunis, in particular shows a range I didn’t know she had.  The supporting cast, which includes Maria Bello and Kim Basinger also, should be proud of the work they’ve done. Liam Neeson must not sleep because it seems that he is in a new movie every week! Third Person happens to be a film that completely missed my radar during its theatrical release. Unlike Taken and Taken 2 and all the other films with different titles that are all basically about Liam Neeson kicking ass and taking names, this film doesn’t appear to involve anyone kidnapping his daughter.

The film is worth watching if you like an intellectual drama, it will be disappointing if you are hoping to see Taken 3, and this isn’t it.  While it was well acted, I would have rather seen a simple story about any one set of characters. The films strength is definitely the cast; the weakness is the story but not the writing.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Third Person looks excellent on Blu-ray. The 1080p high definition presentation is clear and detailed.  You’ll notice every clothing texture, the grain of the paint canvas and many other small details without blurred backgrounds.  The black levels are appropriate and consistent and skin tones are accurate.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Third Person’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track handles the dialogue driven film with ease.  The music, whether subtle background music or thumping club bass, is true to life and adds to the film. Sony has consistently offered excellent audio and video quality and Third Person is no exception.
Extras (2 out of 5 stars)
The Blu-ray contains a simple set of supplemental features including the following:
  • Audio Commentary: Writer/Director Paul Haggis, Production Designer Laurence Bennett, Editor Jo Francis, Producer Michael Nozik, and Actor Moran Atias manage a crowded commentary which helps explain a lot for those that may have been confused during their initial viewing.
  • Q&A with Writer/Director Paul Haggis -The director discusses the film with Pete Hammond discuss the film for over half an hour.
  • The Making of Third Person - A ten minute featurette covering all the basics of the film and its characters.
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Previews for other Sony Films
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
Third Person wasn’t a bad film, it just wasn’t for me. I got lost in the multiple stories and although the extras explained a bit, I didn’t feel like re-watching. In the end, I don’t want to see Liam Neeson in a complicated romantic relationship; I want to see him growling that he will end someone’s life (usually for kidnapping his daughter). Sony again offers a beautiful Blu-ray with excellent audio. I was underwhelmed by the story and the extras but I wouldn’t go so far as to hold back a recommendation. With excellent acting and a great cast, this wasn’t my cup of tea but it might be for someone else.

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