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Syrup (Blu-ray Review)

Syrup - www.whysoblu.comFresh out of school with a degree in marketing, Scat will do anything to prove that he has what it takes. Armed with a brilliant product concept that gives new meaning to the old saying sex sells, he only has to convince his boss, the beautiful and mysterious 6, that it’s an idea worth millions. The road to success isn’t an easy one, even with a million dollar idea, and Scat soon discovers that image and deception just might be his undoing.  

Syrup - www.whysoblu.com

Film     

Max Barry’s iconic debut novel Syrup has finally been adapted to film co-written by Barry and director-writer Aram Rappaport. In this adaptation, Scat (Shiloh Fernandez), is an aspiring marketer aka a slacker, with a degree in marketing from business school. He knows that all it takes is one marketable idea for the multi-million dollar floodgates to open. Enter the very lovely and mysterious 6, played by Amber Heard. Scat comes up with a plan to market a designer drink to the masses where taste isn’t a factor. The image is. You drink this drink that tastes a wee-bit better than urine, but comes with a stellar marketing plan, and you’ll make millions. In theory.

They don’t say it’s a long hard road to top for nothing. Sneaky Pete (Kellan Lutz) is Scat’s rival and roommate and will do everything he can in order to get his piece of the multi-million dollar pie. Stealing and sabotaging Scat’s efforts come to mind. Scat must also deal with his own feelings that he’s getting towards 6. How will it affect his business dealings with her? What a problem to have, huh.

I discovered Max Barry and his novel Syrup more than ten years ago and it floored me. I thought his second novel Jennifer Government was one of the best novels of the new millennium and he’s only gotten better with every novel since. Since he only co-wrote the script there are many things that were kept in the book and many that were not, and some that were switched around. The initial satirical tone that starts the film is all Barry but as it gets deeper into the whole of the story the tone changes.Not necessarily in a bad way, though.

Scat is a spaz of a character and ‘gets’ the marketing system that’s been put into place by every major corporation on Earth to sell you something. He understand the marketing and the physiological impacts made by the different tools used by companies to get you to buy their crap. Coming up with ideas is what Scat does. 6, on the other hand, she knows how to package and sell ideas for lots of money. She’s a 21 year old successful and independent woman who has traits from all of the perceived stereotypes about successful women. 6 is the total package and that makes Scat feel insecure, because he’s definitely out of his league. Sneaky Pete is a snake in the grass who doesn’t say much and uses leverage and thievery to dupe Scat every chance he gets. The name ‘Sneakey Pete’ also makes me chuckle.

I had seen Syrup this past summer and liked a lot. It was one of those films that flew under my radar and I had to double check if it really was the Max Barry adaptation. The Blu-ray obviously brings it up a notch with the higher tech-specs. The film is a nice satirical piece on the world of marketing and how companies convince the general public to buy crap that they think they need and how celebrities are used as pawns (highly paid pawns) to subliminally convince the general population to buy whatever crap they’re selling. If anything, Syrup serves as a crash course in marketing, branding, and selling all in one. Oh, and Amber Heard alone is already worth the price of admission. Scat may be our man but 6 steals our hearts.

Syrup - www.whysoblu.com

Video     

Syrup is presented in 1080p, 2.35:1 (16X9), high definition. Going into Syrup I thought it’d be a no-brainer and was to give it a very high score until I noticed sporadic shots of extreme softness. I had to do several second takes before I realized that it wasn’t my eyes failing. There’s one scene about 2/3rd’s of the way through where 6 is in an elevator with another female who is trying to seduce scat. The image in that scene looks really bad and it also shows you how uneven Amber Heard’s make-up is. I reckon they shot in digital and if you shoot in high-def the camera will always pick up instances of bad make-up coverage. Other than those scenes everything else is stellar. Fleshtones and complexions are spot-on, black levels are deep and don’t crush, and sharpness levels are kept in check. It’s a very polished looking film without looking artificial – most cases.

Syrup - www.whysoblu.com

 Audio     

Syrup is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1. Syrup is a dialogue driven film – as our protagonist, Scat, talks to the audience in voiceover throughout the entire film. The center channel is his and it is relatively flawless. The rest of the sound field does a great job in handling ambience, additional dialogue, and music. Syrup was shot in New York and the ‘big city’ is a character unto itself. The lossless soundtrack is very good on this Blu-ray and I had no problems with it.

Syrup - www.whysoblu.com

Extras     

Syrup has one interview with executive producer/costume designer Sophia Banks-Coloma, a promotional featurette, and a trailer. Hardly anything to go wild for. It was fascinating, that for a low budget film, they had TWO MILLION DOLLARS worth of clothing to work with from all the major (expensive) labels. The featurette is less than 3-minutes long and works as a fluff piece. The trailer is cool, though.

  • Interview with Executive Producer/Costume Designer Sophia Banks-Coloma
  • AXS TV A Look at Syrup
  • Trailer

Syrup - www.whysoblu.com

Summary 

By no means does Syrup do justice to the classic novel but it’s also not a waste of time at all. Amber Heard as the very powerful alpha female of the film is captivating. Shilog Fernandez does alright as Scat but plays second fiddle to Heard and her prowess. I do think the first part of the film is more poignant than the second half – but it is entertaining all around. The video is a mixed bag and the audio is very impressive. The special features leave much to be desired – a director’s commentary or interview with Max Barry would have been awesome, but c’est la vie. Give Syrup a spin on Blu-ray and see for yourself whether it’s as sweet as it looks.

 

 

 

 

Order Syrup on Blu-ray!

Syrup - www.whysoblu.com

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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