One of the most surprising films of the past year, "THE SQUID AND THE WHALE", has the opportunity to find the large audience it deserves thanks to the stellar dvd presentation it's now receiving from SONY.
Incredibly written and directed by Noah Baumbach, the semi-autobiographical tale of a marriage's demise and its effect on children, is told more honestly here than in almost any other film of the past 30 years, save for "SHOOT THE MOON". Baumbach moves the film along at a sturdy, pace, revealing the marriage's ending as the film begins. It's easy to see why. Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney attack one another with hard, biting, sarcastic comments that hit their targets dead-on. Unfortunately, neither recognize the collateral damage, their sons' feelings during their arguments and actions. By the end of the film, various important truths are revealed, culminating in the understanding that the father, Jeff Daniels, is too selfish to care about his impact on the kids, but the mother, Laura Linney, while selfish, truly doesn't recognize the pain she's helped create. Both have been selfish, but only Daniels refuses to change.
The 1.85:1 ratio is enhanced for 16:9 viewing. While it's grainy at times, the image is generally impressive. Colors are solid and blacks are deep throughout.
SONY has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. While effective in spots, it's intentionally, consistently, subdued, saving its biggest impact for a Pink Floyd song, key to the film's atmosphere in the film's ending scene.
Director Baumbach provides a commentary over various still images, rather than the actual film. Segmented around key themes, it's brilliant and more insightful than most commentaries in recent memory. An interview, behind-the-scenes featurette and two reviews are also included.