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Touched with Fire (Blu-ray Review)

TWF_BD_3DSkew (615x717)I’m not really big on movies that focus on mental illness.  Most of them usually end up being cripplingly sad or fraught with turmoil throughout the entire film.  When I go to a movie I like to be lifted up in some way.  Another thing is that this film focuses on the lives of two poets. Which in my experience usually means you’re in for a lot of pretentious ramblings that make me want to pull my eyes out from boredom.  But I’m very happy to report that Touched with Fire is a powerful, moving, and sometimes funny exception to that rule.

Touched with Fire (Blu-ray Review)

Film
Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby have the kind of chemistry that you read about.  Their love scene has to be one of the most passionate things I’ve ever seen on screen.  Just honest, genuine and even though there’s hardly any nudity, it’s still crazily sexy!  But sex aside, the filmmakers do a great job of gradually presenting their discovery of each other.  It’s completely organic and natural without some cliched meet-cute.  Instead they show you how these people have two immensely powerful parts of their lives that inevitably slam them together in an explosion of joy and insanity.
*

I use the word “insanity” as a means to describe how powerful their connection is.  To simply describe their illness as insane would be to cast a very general net on a rather complex topic.  And this is something that they touch on in the film as well.  This movie gives the audience the opportunity to decide for themselves how they feel about bipolar disorders.  Most movies of this type will usually present the viewer with a pretty one sided opinion of how a particular malady should be viewed and approached.  There was a moment midway through this film where it actually made me stop and think about what it might be like to live with a brain that doesn’t always have your best interests in mind.

They bring up the fact that many of the brilliant creative minds throughout history have struggled with this illness, and that it also ENHANCED their creativity. Marco (Luke Kirby) describes being “manic” as experiencing feelings and sensations at what seems like a super-human level.  But if they were to take medication it would reduce both him and Carla (Katie Holmes) to lifeless shells of who they really are.  The film also goes on to address the other side of this argument through the perspectives of their parents, but I won’t go into detail so that you can experience it for yourself and form your own opinion.  Suffice it to say, they present both sides of the conversation in a very balanced way.

I really feel like Katie Holmes has reached a new level with this film.  I’ve never seen her portray a character with such commitment and honesty.  When I think about her past roles, and maybe it’s just she hasn’t been given the opportunity, but for the most part her characters never really forced her to show herself in such a vulnerable and transparent way. This is my first time witnessing Mr. Kirby (Marco) in action, but I can say without hesitation that this gentlemen deserves to be WAY more famous than he is!  If there is ever an Oscar for “Best Performance by a Couple”, these guys should DEFINITELY be the first recipients.

Touched with Fire (Blu-ray Review)

Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity and Detail: Crisp and very clear.  They mess around with some unconventional camera angles for this type of movie but you never miss a detail.

Depth: Most of this film is shot fairly closely.  But there are a few scenes outdoors and in the woods that showcase some pretty decent scope and perspective.
Black Levels: Most of this film takes place at night while they splash in bits of vibrant coloring that is defined and accurate.
Color Reproduction:  The colors are probably one of my favorite aspects of this film.  Everything is just so vibrant and rich with passion and that is also reflected in the color pallets.
Flesh Tones: Clear, accurate and defined.
Noise/Artifacts: Clean.
Touched with Fire (Blu-ray Review)
Audio:
Audio Formats: AC-3, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Dynamics: They dynamics are primarily showcased during scenes of poetry or rapping and they take great care to balance out the intensity of each characters words.
Low Frequency Extension: Not much opportunity for this as film consists primarily of dialogue and music.  The music itself, though it suits everything perfectly, never reaches any explosive moments.  And nor should it.
Surround Sound Presentation: N/A
Dialogue Reproduction:  Excellent!  Marco in particular tends to speak at a rapid fire pace and you never miss a single word.
Touched with Fire (Blu-ray Review)
Extras:
  • Audio Commentary with Paul Dalio (Writer/Director) and Kristina Nikolova (Producer/Director of Photography)
  • Making of Touched with FireThis featurette includes interview with both the filmmakers and the crew as they talk about the intricacies of making such an emotionally driven film.  They also discuss Director Paul Dalio’s creative process.
  • A Conversation with Pal Dalio and Dr. Kay Jamison – Dalio explains what inspired him to make this film.  One of the main motivators being that he himself has bipolar disorder.  Dr. Jamison, not only being an expert in the disorder but also someone who suffers from it, talk about her opinions and perspective on the film and how it elegantly represents those who struggle with this illness.
  • Deleted Scene
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

Touched with Fire (Blu-ray Review)

Summary
I enjoyed this movie WAY more than I thought I would.  Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t really dig these kinds of films.  But this is the kind of movie that can appeal to ANYONE who has ever felt that creative spark that drove them to pursue that which most people would look at as futile or a waste of time.  This is where this movie really grabbed onto me.  There are scenes where they are frantically scrambling to find a pen and paper, as if their minds are about to explode with words and rhymes.  Being an artist and having a mental disorder are both beautifully mirrored in a way that I’ve never seen done until this film.  Now that I think about it, I think even non-creative people will be able to get into this movie as well.  There’s just no way that you can experience the passionate intensity that these two characters share without feeling compelled to find even just a PIECE of that for yourself.
 *

Touched with Fire Arrives on Blu-ray June 7th!

Touched with Fire (Blu-ray Review)
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Writer, Musician, Composer, Singer and Dancer. To sum up: I like to get jiggy with it!

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