This was an excellent movie, and it really made you feel something. There are so many movies out there that just fly by and don’t even touch you or merely brush your emotions as they fly by your eyes and ears, but this one really did get hold of them and drag them along through the movie. What was even better was that this dragging of your emotions wasn’t something that followed the action on screen, and let me explain that.
When Ray Elwood (Joaquin Phoenix) is going out with Robyn Lee (Anna Paquin) and you clearly see them beginning to fall for each other what you don’t feel is excitement, joy or happiness. What you feel is impending dread and fear as in the sidelines you know that her father will not be happy.
It’s that feeling that continues throughout the movie, building slowly from when you see Elwood and Sergeant Lee (Scott Glenn) first meet, you know something is building up and things are going to go dreadfully wrong. This is something that you are taught in the movie early on, and it builds up to the incredible crescendo.
The characters are wonderfully rich and varied. The bored and disillusioned Elwood through to the naive and hapless Colonel Berman played wonderfully by Ed Harris. The performances are excellent from all, and you can hardly single out any one member of the cast for better praise, especially since the characters are all so different.
On story, you just can’t fault it. There are so many “Oh my god” moments which are incredibly distressing or alarming and yet, so messed up you can’t help but think they might actually be reality. It’s a totally wild ride, and something I recommend everyone watches.
Now, the DVD. This is the moment that fails the movie. There’s nothing on it. Not a trailer, a documentary, nothing. You get a static menu, subtitles for hard of hearing, although the audio is in Dolby Digital at least. Very, very poor. However since the movie is so good, I find it hard to penalise the movie. My IMDB rating is really high, but for the DVD review I have to mark it down.