Archive for the ‘Heal the Living (2016)’ Category

 

Blu-ray Cover

Distributor: Cohen Media Group

Release Date: August 29, 2017

Region: Region A

Length: 01:43:16

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC)

Main Audio: 5.1 French DTS-HD Master Audio

Alternate Audio: 5.1 French Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English

Ratio: 2.39:1

Title

“I discovered Maylis de Kerangal’s novel when it came out in January, 2014. The book immediately captivated me. I couldn’t put it down and was totally shaken by the story it tells. The migration of one heart towards another, beyond the sheer dramatic power inherent in such a circumstance, opens up scientific, poetic and metaphysical perspectives.” -Katell Quillévéré (Press Book)

According the official synopsis, Heal the Living follows three seemingly unrelated stories that carefully weave together.” However, this isn’t a particularly accurate description. This really isn’t that kind of film, because at no point does the viewer wonder how these various characters are connected. Their connection is immediately obvious, and the plot is actually astonishingly simple.

Following a morning of surfing the swelling waves off the port city of Le Havre, France, 17 year-old Simon (Gabin Verdet) and his friends get into a severe car crash, sending Simon into a coma. His estranged parents, Marianne (Emmanuelle Seigner) and Vincent (Kool Shen), are alerted and make their way to the hospital only to learn from the senior surgeon Pierre Révol (Bouli Lanners) that their son, who is entirely hooked up to a life-support system, is brain-dead and has no hope of recovery.

A sensitive medical specialist, Thomas Rémige (Tahar Rahim), approaches Simon’s parents and broaches the delicate subject of donating Simon’s organs to the hospital. At first shocked by the enormity of the request, Marianne and Vincent decide that their son would have wanted to proceed with a life-embracing gesture of this sort and they give their consent.

At the same time in Paris, Claire (Anne Dorval), a fragile former musician and the mother of two loving college-age sons, learns that her disabling heart condition is worsening. Claire has been waiting for an organ transplant that will give her a new lease on life, and via the work of Thomas, her medical needs are matched up with Simon in Le Havre. Following the delicate transportation of the healthy organ by both plane and motorcycle, a dedicated and talented team of medical experts and surgeons conduct an operation to place Simon’s heart in Claire’s body.

The finished product has a lot going for it. There are a number of great performances, a beautiful score by Alexandre Desplat, and incredible cinematography by Tom Harari. The beginning of the film is absolutely breathtaking and is rendered with a kind of restrained poetic grace, but this isn’t maintained throughout the entire length of the film. When all is said and done, the experience doesn’t quite live up to the promise made during those opening moments. It’s a very good film and well worth seeing, but it might have been so much more.

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The Presentation:

3.5 of 5 Stars

The Blu-ray and DVD discs are protected by the standard Blu-ray case with the film’s American one sheet artwork framed by the Cohen Media Group’s “C” logo. Inside the case is a small booklet that features a few photographs, chapters, and cast credits.

The animated menus utilize footage from the film with music from the film’s score.

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Picture Quality:

5 of 5 Stars

Cohen Media Group’s transfer of the film is simply gorgeous. The film was shot digitally on a Red Epic camera and has an extremely crisp image that showcases an extraordinary amount of fine detail. Depth and clarity are also amazing, and the footage looks wonderful in motion. Color are incredibly vibrant while remaining natural. This is an incredible representation of the film’s original elements.

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Sound Quality:

5 of 5 Stars

The .1 DTS-HD Master Audio transfer is also excellent—one might even say that it seems to be a perfectly rendered representation of the source audio. The various elements are well mixed and subtly dynamic (although it isn’t likely to give speaker systems much of a workout). Alexandre Desplat’s music is the star of this track, but effects and dialogue are clear and nicely prioritized.

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Special Features:

1.5 of 5 Stars

Interview with Katell Quillevere – (14:53)

Katell Quillevere discusses the origins of Heal the Living (it was adapted from a novel by Maylis De Kerangal) and some of the central themes. It is interesting to hear her discuss the reasoning behind some of her decisions, but it isn’t quite long enough to be the comprehensive examination of the film that many fans will be hoping for.

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Final Words:

These themes have been handled better elsewhere, but Heal the Living is certainly worth watching and this Blu-ray transfer is incredible.

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