Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
After losing his Kate, his high school sweetheart, in a horrific house fire Josh Higgins' life tumbles into a depressing mix of insomnia and poor choices. After taking seemingly harmless sleeping pill, Josh is thrusted from his current banal existence to one that he had lost years earlier. As the walls of his own psychosis slowly start to close in around him, Josh must race to save himself, Kate and the parallel life that he vows can never again become...lost.
Is it good movie?
This is a different sort of flick, one that will keep you guessing
throughout. Comes off sort of artsy-fartsy in a way and treads some
ground that may leave you scratching your head. It's a bit of a trip
and certainly something that screws with your mind, in a good way. This
is certainly an inventive film.Having said that, I will certainly give
props to this flick for pulling it off pretty well and wrapping things
up relatively nicely. You'll be asking yourself which world is real,
and which you'd like to see be the truthful one in the end.
As we know from great films like The Machinist, insomnia is not
something to mess with and when it strikes, you could end up with some
blurry reality. The whole thing reminded me of one of those "what if
you could live THIS way" movies, except the alternate universe in this
one isn't given by a fairy, isn't black and white in terms of what's
desirable and what's not. The lines between what's real and what's not
are undoubtedly blurred. Ryan Barrett plays Josh, our protagonist who
is frankly pretty broken as the film begins. He goes on a truly
emotional journey that is both heart wrenching and thought provoking.
His performance is quite good, and a lot of the film's success hinges
When he sees his lost love in the drug-induced world, he regains a
certain lost sense of feeling and conveys it well and conversely
hardens again when dealing with his current wife, Meg. And Neverlost
succeeds because it's a three dimensional story that gives shades of
gray. I felt for Josh's wife Meg, because she seemed like a replacement
who was essentially being held to impossible standards. Sure, she's not
exactly perfect, but how could she ever stand up to an infatuated
memory? Her character is played well by Jenn Polansky. Although she
turns in arguably the weakest performance of the main actors, Emily
Alatalo's Kate is a crucial character as well. I don't imagine it would
be an easy task to play the lost love of Ryan, but the girl just
doesn't pack any real 'oomph' in her performance and simply seems to
lack any real presence.
You see, poor Josh really hates his wife, Meg and has all but
completely withdrawn from her as he suffers from a serious case of
insomnia. The poor guy's in such a lousy place that he has strong
thoughts of killing his own wife. And although Meg's character
can come off pretty awfully sometimes (and by that I mean she doesn't
always seem super nice), it's hard not to identify with her at least a
little. I mean, how can the woman compete with the ghost of unrequited
love? She can't, simple as that. I didn't always dig the
villainous character of Mr. Mills, Kate's father who becomes an out and
out beast as the film switches between realities (see, he's linked to
the whole fire aspect of the film).
I felt that he was a little over the top and although I know that
things in the 'dream' state can be overblown, his enraged character
fell a little flat with me. I don't want to give away too much about
this story, because it's the key point of the film. I can say that on
the criticism side of things, there were times when the acting wasn't
up to the heavy load required, and felt a little stiff. Because this is
the director's first real film, you can't help but feel the whole
project seemed a bit ambitious for a sophomore effort.
I say this solely on the basis that sometimes the acting is spot on,
and at times its uneven. I know I mentioned the performances earlier,
but I can certainly add on the thought that they weren't always uniform
throughout the film. On top of that, some of the effects weren't so hot
(on the flip side, the movie had good blur effects). The film's ending
might turn some viewers off, but I understood where the filmmakers were
coming from. Neverlost is a sad story that demonstrates the bonds (and
resulting conflicts) of what we believe to be true love.
Video / Audio
Video comes in 2.35:1 widescreen and looks really
great, getting a sharp treatment from Anchor Bay.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds clear
and is well-balanced. Good stuff here.
First up is an Alternate Ending
that runs about 5 minutes long and is pretty depressing. Cool inclusion
though, and it's tough to say which would have worked better.
Behind the Fire is a brief 5
minute featurette about how a big scene involving, well, fire was used
in this flick. Interesting enough, but nothing really of substance here
unless you like watching things burn!
The Taipei Film festival featurette
details the crew's trip to the aforementioned festival to promote the
film. There's little to no dialogue here, but it does make for a cool
little travel video, even if there isn't much info to dig into.
There's also a commentary
track with Chad Archibald and Ryan Barrett, and this provides a good
amount of insight towards the film but tends to have a ton of dead air
as well as a lot of "here's this guy, he's great" sort of stuff.
Rounding things out you'll find a handful of deleted scenes, a few trailers, a photo gallery and even an option to
play a bit of music from the