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Love & Mercy Blu-ray Review

Love & Mercy Blu-ray

“Love & Mercy” is a disjointed biopic about Brian Wilson.

Considering the incredible and tragic stories we’ve all heard over the years about The Beach Boys singer Brian Wilson, it was only a matter of time before a biopic would be produced about the brilliant musician. Well, the time has come for that biopic in the form of “Love & Mercy.” Unfortunately, it’s not the biopic that Brian Wilson deserves.

In “Love & Mercy,” the story toggles between a younger version of Brian Wilson in the 1960’s to his older self in the 80’s (and even some of the 70’s). While the film touches on Wilson’s creative process and the band’s problems behind the scenes, Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner’s script primarily covers Wilson’s tragedies that include his mental illness, his abusive father, and the psycho Dr. Eugene who DEEPLY medicated  and essentially controlled Brian Wilson for years. Of course, the film isn’t all about Brian Wilson’s woes as there is a silver lining here in the form of his touching relationship with Melinda (who is caught in the middle of Dr. Eugene’s “treatment”).

From the opening minutes, it’s clear that director Bill Pohlad is trying to make an artsy biopic, but his style feels distracting more than anything else. The screenplay doesn’t fare much better as it comes across as a disjointed series of vignettes about a tortured artist trying to get his life together. It should be said that I’m all for seeing a different sort of biopic. After all, the genre has become rather stale and formulaic over the years. With that said though, the storytelling approach of “Love & Mercy” just feels off. The switch from past to present Brian Wilson is not exactly seamless as the younger Wilson stuff feels decidedly simplified and made for TVish. On top of that, the movie tends to show more than it tells. There are all kinds of references about events, successes, and moments of Wilson’s life, but very little is actually shown.

On the plus side, the performances are memorable across the board. Paul Dano and John Cusack both shine as Brian Wilson as does Elizabeth Banks as Melinda. The real star, however, is Paul Giamatti who once again steals the show. Between his role in this and “Straight Outta Compton,” he’s having yet another banner year.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? The stylistic differences between the past and present stand-out in hi-def.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A tad bit disappointing. The Beach Boys music is crisp, but some dialogue is hard to hear.

Extras:
* Digital copy.
* Lionsgate trailers.
* 4 deleted scenes.
* “A California Story: Creating The Look Of Love & Mercy”- An 11 minute featurette about the visual look of “Love & Mercy.”
* ‘A-Side/B-Side: Portraying The Life of Brian Wilson”- A 25 minute extra about Brian Wilson and “Love & Mercy.”
* An informative but dull commentary by Oren Moverman and Bill Pohlad.

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September 6, 2015 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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