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Touched With Fire
BLU-RAY disk
07.26.2016 By: Lauren Bradshaw
Touched With Fire order download
Director:
Paul Dalio

Actors:
Katie Holmes
Luke Kirby
Christine Lahti

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two artists suffering with bipolar disorder fall in love during their time in a psychiatric hospital. However, after they are released, shared struggles with mental illness may compromise their relationship.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
TOUCHED WITH FIRE, written and directed by newcomer Paul Dalio, is at its heart a passion project. A semi-autobiographical tale, Dalio mines the often under-reported issue of artists' struggles with bipolar disorder, and the perception that medication will stifle their creative abilities. Pointing to many of history's greatest achievements, Dalio highlights the relationship between intellectual breakthroughs and the fringes of instability. But even if they're not painting "The Starry Night" or composing a famous concerto, artists are still faced with the life-threatening implications of choosing their artistry over their health. It is this conflict that Dalio does not shy away from and is what elevates TOUCHED WITH FIRE beyond a predictable Hollywood film into one with a message.

The entire film is dependent on strong performances to carry the story. Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby are certainly up for the task, showcasing their acting range and bringing the film to the next level. And as the movie was shot in 2013, I'm glad their performances finally made it to our screens. Along with these performances, Dalio's sweeping camera movements and attention to ambient sounds in the characters' environment ensure the audience is as unrestricted as the actors. I felt like I was always in the room with them. As this is only Dalio's first feature, I expect he has a lot more in his back pocket, and I can't wait to see what he is cooking up next.

Based on the film's difficult subject matter, it falls into the category of movies you need to be in the mood to watch. While interesting and important, it probably will require some time to decompress (and may be good paired with an uplifting comedy). A great debut film for an up-and-coming writer/director, TOUCHED WITH FIRE is a thoughtful, personal peek into a largely hidden world.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary Track with Paul Dalio (Writer/Director) and Kristina Nikolova (Producer/Director of Photography)- Much like the "making of" featurette, this audio track gives even greater insight into the ideas behind the film. Because Kristina and Paul are married in real life, the track is even more interesting thanks to the filmmakers' chemistry.

The Making Of TOUCHED WITH FIRE- An almost 10 minute behind-the-scenes look at the film, including some interesting interviews with the people that helped bring it all together. I especially loved the bits about the color palette and imagery Dalio chose.

A Conversation with Paul Dalio and Dr. Kay Jamison- Dr. Jamison appears in a cameo in the film, and in this brief featurette the two speak about the representation of bipolar disorder in the film, her book, and its effect on Dalio's life and work.

Deleted Scene- A 90 second scene called "Plans for the Apocalypse", where Holmes and Kirby explain their ideas about how to survive the end of the world, which sounds a lot like Noah's Arc.

Photo Gallery

Trailer
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
TOUCHED WITH FIRE gets an impressive Blu-Ray release for such a small film. There are some great special features to check out after you finish watching, including a commentary track that will be interesting to anyone interested in film. While this isn't the most memorable movie, it is a fascinating reflection on the writer/director's experience with mental illness.
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