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Afonso Poyart
Anthony Hopkins, Colin Farrell, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Abbie Cornish
Writing Credits:
Sean Bailey and Ted Griffin

A psychic works with the FBI in order to hunt down a serial killer.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 3/14/2017

• Audio Commentary with Director Afonso Poyart
• “Visions and Voices” Featurette
• Trailer
• Previews


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.


Solace [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 12, 2017)

25 years after Silence of the Lambs defined his career, Anthony Hopkins returns to the serial killer genre with 2016’s Solace. FBI Agent Joe Merriweather (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) finds himself confronted with a mystery when three separate murders occur, and all the victims sport identical wounds.

Suspicious that a serial killer lurks, Merriweather recruits an unusual party: John Clancy (Hopkins), a reclusive doctor who appears to have psychic powers. Clancy reluctantly agrees to work with Merriweather on the case, a task complicated by the fact the murderer executes his tasks with flawless precision.

In the category of “tangled webs”, we view the path Solace took to the screen. Written by Ted Griffin way back in 2002, it nearly became a sequel to 1995’s Se7en but director David Fincher apparently put the kibosh on that idea.

So why did it take Solace so long to find its way to fruition? I don’t know, but given its mediocrity, I can’t regard it as a shame that viewers needed to wait so long to see it.

That ignores how inappropriate Solace would’ve been as an extension of Se7en. Apparently the sequel would’ve turned Morgan Freeman’s Detective Somerset psychic, which would’ve made my eyes roll so far that I’d never be able to unroll them.

The choice to feature psychic abilities so strongly in Solace becomes one of its many problems. This always feels like a gimmick, and not an effective one. The movie allows Clancy to be virtually omniscient – except for odd lapses that seem to exist solely to create a mystery.

Which I guess it does, but Solace fails to create a thriller that I could call particularly compelling. Solace enjoys the basics of a workable crime story, but it becomes so bogged down with its supernatural elements and its flimsy plot that it spins its wheels.

Really, Solace feels less like a “whodunnit” than a “who cares”. The serial killer lacks the insidious cleverness of Se7en’s John Doe, and the investigation sputters and meanders.

Again, a lot of that relates to Clancy’s abilities. Solace allows him to prosper when it suits the story but it throws him off the trail when it desires, even if these choices don’t make much sense. The psychic elements exist as a convenience and a gimmick.

Director Afonso Poyart brings a lot of style to Solace - or at least he attempts to do so. He indulges in overstylized “visions” and way too much camera movement. Even basic dialogue scenes either spin like a dreidel or bob up and down like crazy. These choices feel like cheap distractions and attempts to hide the movie’s basic lack of substance.

Unlike the taut and impactful Se7en, Solace can’t resist its melodramatic side. The movie makes eye-rolling stabs at pathos that seem to pursue real emotion but instead feel cheap and phony.

The basic serial killer mystery offers enough to make Solace interesting for maybe 20 minutes, but the film soon starts to collapse under the weight of its own pretensions and idiocy. The question isn’t why it took so long for the 2002 script to go in front of the cameras – the question is why anyone ever bothered with this muddled mess.

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

Solace appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a positive presentation.

Sharpness was solid. Virtually no softness marred the proceedings, so the flick offered strong delineation. No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and the presentation lacked edge haloes. In terms of source defects, I witnessed no specks, marks or other issues; the Blu-ray gave us a clean transfer.

In terms of palette, Solace went with Hollywood Standard teal and orange, with an emphasis on the blue/green. That seemed like a lackluster choice, but I couldn’t complain about the execution of the tones, as they seemed fine. Blacks appeared dark and dense, while shadows showed decent clarity. Across the board, this became an impressive image.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, its supernatural elements added kick to the proceedings. These accentuated events in an active manner that used all five speakers in an involving way and provided oomph to the proceedings.

The movie also featured a good sense of ambience during its more atmospheric scenes. Music showed nice use of the channels and contributed to the film’s tone.

Audio quality seemed solid. Speech appeared natural and concise, as the lines always remained intelligible.

Music seemed full and rich, while effects showed good accuracy, with impressive low-end at times. The soundtrack added to the story.

In terms of extras, we get an audio commentary from director Afonso Poyart. He provides a running, screen-specific look at story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects, music and related topics.

While not devoid of useful content, Poyart’s commentary lacks much meat. He covers basics in a reasonable manner but also tends to simply narrate the film too often. Throw in spots of dead air and this becomes a lackluster chat.

Visions and Voices runs eight minutes, 40 seconds. It features comments from Poyart, producer Beau Flynn, and actors Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Colin Farrell, and Abbie Cornish. “Voices” discusses the script and its path to the screen, story/characters, cast and performances. The featurette offers a basic look at the production with a promotional bent, so don’t expect much depth.

The disc opens with ads for Misconduct, Life On the Line, Imperium, Manhatten Night and Broken Vows. We also get the trailer for Solace.

Serial killer films can create taut, involving journeys, but Solace fails to make a positive impact. The movie seems contrived and phony, as it lacks the forward momentum and drama it needs. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals as well as good audio and mediocre supplements. Though I consider myself a fan of the genre, Solace fails to connect.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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