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Derek Cianfrance
Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz
Writing Credits:
Derek Cianfrance

A lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from a drifting rowing boat.

Box Office:
$20 million.
Opening Weekend
$4,765,838 on 1500 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio 2.0
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 133 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 1/24/2017

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Derek Cianfrance and Film Studies Professor Phil Solomon
• “Bringing The Light to Life” Featurette
• “Lighthouse Keeper” Featurette


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Light Between Oceans [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 26, 2017)

Based on a novel by ML Stedman, 2016’s The Light Between Oceans takes us to a small island off the coast of Australia. Set not long after the conclusion of World War I, military veteran Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) becomes a lighthouse keeper, and he eventually marries Isabel Graysmark (Alicia Vikander).

They live together in the remote location and seem very happy but one problem interferes with their joy: Isabel’s inability to bear a child. Fate seems to intervene, though, as they discover an infant girl who drifts past their abode.

Tom and Isabel decide to adopt the apparently abandoned child. The film follows this course as well as complications that arise when they learn of the girl’s actual parents.

I think that plot synopsis makes Light sound awfully weepy and goopy, and I must admit I entered the film with some apprehension. This kind of probable tear-jearker doesn’t fit my normal cinematic preferences, so I found myself skeptical about how much I might enjoy it.

Why did I bother at all? I watched Light due to the film’s stars. Fassbender and Vikander are two of the most compelling actors in movies today, so I figured a movie that starred the pair – along with Rachel Weisz – would deserve a look.

Alas, the end result fails to go much of anywhere. While the story comes with dramatic potential, Light simply drags and meanders too much of the time.

This goes for most aspects of the tale. It takes a long time for Light to motivate events, as we go through a lot of the film before the main plot event – the discovery of the baby – occurs.

If Light used that cinematic real estate well, this wouldn’t become a problem, but instead, the narrative tends to drag. Despite the expository time spent with Tom and Isabel, we never feel like we know them especially well, and nothing particularly interesting occurs until they find the child.

After that occurs, matters develop a bit more intrigue when the issue of real parentage arises – but just a smidgen. Though this side of things boasts the clearest potential for drama, the movie does little to present depth. It depicts events and emotions in a bland manner that keeps the viewer fairly disinterested in the results.

I do think the actors do fine in their underdeveloped roles. With the Fassbender/Vikander/Weisz trio, we find two Oscar winners, and Fassbender has been nominated twice. No one disputes their talents, and they give their parts more power than might otherwise occur.

Unfortunately, the lackluster script leaves them high and dry. Light struggles to fill its 133 minutes with interesting content and largely stumbles as it heads toward its dramatic resolution.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

The Light Between Oceans appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a strong image.

Sharpness was good, as the movie appeared well-defined and concise. Any softness escaped me, as this delivered a precise, tight impression. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. In terms of print issues, no concerns materialized.

Much of the flick stayed with a pretty desaturated set of tones that focused on an amber or gray tone. Within those constraints, the hues were appropriate and well-rendered. Blacks seemed dark and tight, while shadows showed good clarity. This became a solid “A-” presentation.

I also felt pleased with the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Light - surprisingly so, given it character orientation. I didn’t expect much from the soundfield, but the seaside setting allowed for a lot of vivid material.

Really, all the sonic power came from the waves and related elements. Those filled the speakers with a lot of information, and the soundscape came together to create a compelling and involving experience.

Non-seaside scenes seemed more limited, but they still conveyed a reasonable sense of setting. Add to that good stereo music and occasional directional dialogue and we get a soundfield with a lot more breadth than I anticipated.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and music appeared robust and full. Effects were accurate and dynamic. Low-end response showed good thump and richness. Stronger than I anticipated, the audio merited a “B+”.

As we move to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Derek Cianfrance and film studies Professor Phil Solomon. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at cinematography and visual design, story/character areas, sets and locations, cast and performances, sound design, editing, music and connected domains.

Through this chat, we get a reasonable amount of information about the film, but I think the track never goes as deep as it should. Solomon was Cianfrance’s teacher, and the professor often acts as little more than a cheering section for the filmmaker. While we still find a decent look at the movie, the discussion lacks a lot of substance.

Two featurettes follow. Bringing The Light to Life runs 16 minutes, 47 seconds and includes comments from Cianfrance, producers Jeffrey Clifford and David Heyman, executive producer Rosie Alison, and actors Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz. “Life” examines sets and locations, cast and performances, Cianfrance’s directorial approach, and story and characters. “Life” manages to become a reasonably good look at its topics.

Lighthouse Keeper goes for five minutes, 40 seconds and features Cianfrance, Clifford, Vikander, Heyman, Fassbender, lighthouse keeper Ron Sword, and supervising location manager Jared Connon. The piece tells us a little more about the movie’s main location along with facts about lighthouse keeping. It’s a short but efficient show.

As a family drama, The Light Between Oceans fails to develop much intensity or intrigue. The film tends to plod as it lacks the character or narrative development it needs. The Blu-ray offers excellent picture and surprisingly active audio along with decent supplements. Despite the efforts of a good cast, Light becomes a snoozer.

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