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Good Neighbors - Blu-ray Review

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Good Neighbors - Blu-ray Review

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5 Stars

As it deals with constant and continued isolation in Québec circa 1995, one shouldn’t be surprised that Good Neighbors never saw the light of the day here in the United States.  Ah, let me count the strikes against thee!  The city primarily speaks French, our three leads speak English, and, with a serial killer on the loose, there’s more fear than freedom kicking about in one claustrophobic apartment building (which is the prime location of the movie).  Its sluggish name - not as predictable as one might think for those of you leaning on the psycho neighbor fence - doesn’t help either in securing an audience.  Yet, for the curious, this darkly demented gem of a flick is a potboiler without identifiable form and a curiously seedy taste for film noir styling.

A killer is loose in the Montréal neighborhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.  Recently bonded Louise (Emily Hampshire) and wheelchair-bound Spencer (Scott Speedman), are focused on the news pouring out from Québec: one about the rapes and murders around them and the other about the somewhat tension-causing referendum for Québec to separate from the rest of Canada.  Spencer sees potential in his friendship with cat-loving Louise, yet she’s always on the go.  He can wait, that is until a new arrival to their apartment complex, Victor (Jay Baruchel), moves in and includes himself in their perfect circle.

Things are strained between the three at best.  Yet, Victor becomes the lifeline to Louise when a restaurant co-worker is murdered by the serial killer.  He sees her home safely and is invited to dinner as a reward.  Spencer, while less thrilled about Victor’s presence in their lives, finds himself relying more and more on him when the news gets more and more bleak about the killing and about these three English-speaking outsiders who find Québec cooling to their presence.  Yes, the pressure is getting to all of them.

From here on in, you are on your own.  The movie is special in that it doesn’t make itself known with a loud voice; it doesn’t claim to be like anything.  There aren’t any scenes of cat-and-mouse between the killer and countless females.  Writer/Director Jacob Tierney keeps things surprisingly tense and full of suspense.  His suave confidence behind the camera and with the script is a breath of fresh air for this particular genre.

There is a twist revealed early on and, if you have seen the lame American commercials for the Blu-ray release, they give it away, but I won’t.  Not here.  That’s for the movie to reveal and develop and it does; as if nothing is up.  It’s just another piece of the puzzle for this thriller.  Just know this, everything you think you know about what this film is about is entirely wrong.  Even the marketing campaign is clueless as to what this little film noirish chiller is.  It’s that intelligent and avoids the expected with moments of breathtaking beauty and unease.

And slowly the metaphorical knife of this thriller is twisted.  The characters become darker and richer and more unusual.  There’s no needless exposition to remind us of what went on before; everything is in the minute and still part of the design.  This is a brilliant tapestry of expression that does more for the genre than it will ever get credit for.  This it true film noir; even the city exudes character.

The confident swagger of Good Neighbors is ripe with paranoia, passion, and secures itself as being truer in construction to Hitch than to hack.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Good Neighbors - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for some strong violence, sexual content, graphic nudity and language.
Director
: Jacob Tierney
Writer: Jacob Tierney
Cast: Jay Baruchel; Scott Speedman; Emily Hampshire; Xavier Dolan; Pat Kiely
Genre: Drama | Thriller
Tagline:
You never know who's living right next door.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Should I be concerned for my safety?"
Official Site:
Distributor:
Magnolia Pictures
Release Date:
No U.S. theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 27, 2011

Synopsis: Victor is new to Montreal and attempts to make friends with the wheelchair-bound Spencer and the cat-loving Louise, but everybody is on edge with a serial killer terrorizing the neighborhood.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Details}

Good Neighbors - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

3 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 27, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

The 1080p transfer is ripe with clarity and strong details.  Most of the interiors are apartments with one source of lighting, so maintaining a healthy balance of black levels is key to quality. The image holds up nicely with a strong handling of shadows and light. Colors, when there is light flittering about, are strong and warm. Skin tones are better than most stylized thrillers and consistent throughout. The sound design is also an uncharacteristically lavish bit of heroics. The city sounds of Montréal are presented through a robust DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that keeps things clean and clear.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

As special as the movie is, there simply is nothing too brilliant about the disc’s supplemental material. One deleted scene that clearly has no business being in the movie (featuring Jessica Paré) is included to flesh out the skeleton of Speedman’s backstory is included. There is also a brief HDNet promo of the film full of interviews and recaps of the premise and the film’s theatrical trailer.  Nothing else.  Ho-hum.

  • One Deleted Scene (3 min)
  • HDNet: A Look at ‘Good Neighbors’ (5 min)
  • Trailer

{2jtab: Trailer}

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