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Anthony Jerjen
Josh Hartnett, Margarita Levieva, Bruce Dern
Writing Credits:
Andrew Crabtree

Three siblings in Appalachia try to get by as local opioid dealers, and they attempt to avoid the spiral of violence that comes with the territory.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 84 min.
Price: $22.99
Release Date: 3/10/2020

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Inherit the Viper [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 8, 2020)

A thriller that takes on a topical domain, 2020’s Inherit the Viper involves the opioid epidemic as it damages rural America. Set in Appalachia, we see the ways the drugs impact the community.

Siblings Kip (Josh Hartnett) and Josie Conley (Margarita Levieva) sell these narcotics as an attempt to eke out a living in their economically depressed environment. Their family used this method for years, so they carry on the “tradition”.

Matters take a turn when a deal goes fatally awry. As a result, Kip decides to escape the trade, but he finds that easier said than done.

Today’s Sign That I’m Old: I remember when Hartnett seemed primed to become a major “A-list” actor. Circa the early 2000s, he got major roles in big flicks like Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down, films that appeared likely to catapult him to stardom.

But this never occurred. Hartnett continued to work, but he appeared to veer away from the kind of blockbusters needed to elevate his status.

Whether this occurred due to Hartnett’s personal choices or Hollywood decided for him seems up for grabs. Whatever the case, he faded into semi-“where are they now?” territory.

If Hartnett indeed backed away from blockbusters because he preferred to go with movies that meant something to him, then I applaud him. It takes nerve to step away from the fame and fortune that could’ve accompanied those kinds of roles.

Don’t look to Viper as an indication that Hartnett selects quality projects, though – at least not circa 2020. A surprisingly thin and bland effort, Viper fails to do much with its subject matter.

Kip essentially takes on the Michael Corleone part as the character who wants to distance himself from his family’s illegal actions. Josie comes across more as Sonny, the one actively interested in the business.

Viper comes with plenty of room for introspection, as it could explore a mix of domains. It could look at the pressures of family choices and those repercussions, or it could view the damage – both physical and emotional – that comes with the drug trade.

However, Viper simply feels uncommitted to any of these topics in a dynamic manner. At 84 minutes, it lacks the space necessary to develop the characters and/or themes in a satisfying way, so it feels half-baked too much of the time.

This means we never get a sense of the roles and their motivations beyond the superficial. Viper treats all the participants as part of a bland package that never threatens to involve the viewer.

Hartnett seems decent, but of the cast, only Levieva manages to elevate her role. As the more hard-bitten sibling, she gives Josie the right patina of cold realism, but she also manages a tinge of humanity and regret as well.

With more development in that realm, Viper could’ve become an impactful drama. As it stands, the movie seems thin and superficial.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus D-

Inherit the Viper appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a generally appealing representation of the movie.

Sharpness looked mostly strong. Softness did occasionally materialize during low-light shots, and we got many of those. Still, the majority of the flick came across as well-defined.

No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws also failed to create any problems, as this was a clean presentation.

In terms of colors, Viper tended to go with a mix of teal and orange/amber. Within those choices, the colors appeared well-developed, so I encountered no problems with them.

Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows showed good delineation. Overall, this was a good transfer.

I felt the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Viper worked fine for a character drama. The film came with a few violent scenes, and those fleshed out the spectrum fairly well.

In addition, the mix boasted decent environmental material. Little of this added a particularly immersive sense of place, but the track seemed satisfactory.

Audio quality was always good. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and music followed suit.

The score was consistently lively and full. Effects also demonstrated nice vivacity and accuracy, with positive bass response along the way. This turned into a relatively satisfying sonic presentation.

The disc opens with ads for Hell On the Border and Trauma Center. No trailer for Viper - or any other extras – appear here.

A reflection of the opioid epidemic in the United States, Inherit the Viper comes with great potential to deliver a hard-hitting drama. Instead, it fails to explore its characters and subject matter in a compelling manner. The Blu-ray comes with reasonably good picture and audio, but the disc lacks bonus materials. While never a bad movie, Viper fails to dig into its topics well

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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