The Light Between Oceans (Blu-ray)

January 20, 2017 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

I’m a huge fan of Director Derek Cianfrance’s The Place beyond the Pines. When I realized he was the director of The Light Between Oceans I did get a little more hopeful than I might’ve been with another director. Typically films of this sort aren’t my cup of tea, but I thought maybe he would bring something interesting to the table. I’m also a fan of Michael Fassbender and Rachel Weisz. What we end up with is an interesting film with a bit of a convoluted plot and some frustrating elements. The acting and cinematography are top notch, but some choices are questionable. Still, it’s certainly unique.

We meet Tom Sherbourne (Fassbender), a World War one vet who’s returning home to Australia. He hopes to find some sort of peace and quiet after seeing the horrors of the war. He secures a job as a lighthouse keeper and indeed that is well suited for him. It’s not long before he meets a local woman named Isabel (Alicia Vikander). She eventually becomes his wife. She even begins to stay with him at the lighthouse. They try to have children and start a family, but after two attempts, they lose the child. It’s shortly after that Tom sees a rowboat and finds there’s an infant inside and a dead man. He wants to report the incident, but Isabel convinces him to keep the baby and pretend it’s theirs. And so he does. Tom then learns that their new adoptive baby was presumed dead and finds the mourning mother (Rachel Weisz). He then makes a tough decision that puts a lot of things in jeopardy, including his marriage. I won’t reveal more as it’s best to see the film and watch how things events unfold. Matters do become a bit manipulative and melodramatic, but something about it kind of works here. The film is so well made and well-acted that I was able to forgive such flaws in the narrative. The cinematography is certainly a plus as well and the direction is strong. The pros were enough to outweigh some of the cons. How the film will work for certain viewers really depends on how much you’re willing to go with. It’s a flawed film to be sure, but something about it worked for me.

Video: How’s it look?

The image is solid throughout. Certainly this is a nice film to look at and the transfer only enhances that. Clothing, colors and details are all strong in nearly every scenes. Background shots remained strong without any obvious softness or other issues. The print showed no flaws either. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.40:1 ratio.

Audio: How’s it sound?

We get a strong DTS HD track as well. I wasn’t expecting this strong of a track, but it proved me wrong. It remains engaging throughout and really brings us into this world. There’s one sequence where a strong storm comes through that really puts this track to the test and indeed it delivers. All in all, fans will be pleased with the results here.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Bringing The Light to Life – It seems somewhat obligatory for novels that become film to examine every aspect of what made it the screen. We get a look at the story, some of the shooting locales, a chat with the cast and so forth.
  • Audio Commentary – Derek Cianfrance is joined with this real-life professor Phil Solomon, discuss some of the techincal details of the film as well as the casting, shooting and some other tidbits. I’ll give it an “A” for originality and fans of the film will no doubt get a kick out of this.
  • Lighthouse Keeper – When you need to find that perfect lighthouse…

The Bottom Line

I’ll admit that this film took me a bit by surprise. It’s far from perfect, but it works a lot better than films of this sort usually do. A large part of that thanks belongs to the strong direction and the acting. It’ll likely move certain people more than others, but I was willing to go with much of it. Regardless, it’s worthy of a rental.

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