Home Video

Mass (2021) - Bluray Review

Mass

In today’s world of divisiveness and animosity fueled by the 24 hour news cycle that mines its content from our dissimilarities and opposing views, we could all be better served by appreciating and accepting the connections that allow us to understand one another. That’s the central message in Fran Kranz’s film called Mass, a tiny little, stripped down affair that packs one hell of an emotional wallop.

"some of the best performances of the year, with standouts from Plimpton and Dowd, as well as top-shelf writing that feels as if it comes from a veteran screenwriter"


 

The film is essentially a one-setting character piece that features two adult couples who agree to meet around a table in the back room of a small Episcopalian church. The delicate attention paid to setting up the room by a social worker (Michelle N. Carter) and a pair of church volunteers (Breeda Wool and Kagen Albright) hints at the gravity of the meeting’s purpose. The chairs, set up in pairs facing across the table, the Kleenex box, lighting, and even the artwork on the walls are attended to like chicks in a nest.

Husband and wife Gail (Martha Plimpton) and Jay (Jason Isaacs) are first to show up, clearly apprehensive and on edge but doing their best to be grateful to those who have arranged the meeting. Next to arrive are Linda (Ann Dowd) and Richard (Reed Birney), equally anxious but noticeably more defensive. The remainder of the film plays out in a real time discussion, with both couples running through their thoughts of the event, and telling one another about their child. In other words, having civil discussion to learn about one another.

In a master stroke of genius, Kranz keeps his cards close to the vest, not revealing what the meeting is about until we are well into the film. And in a film so sparse on setting and character, it’s a nice little technique that tees us up for the emotional maelstrom that is to come. The beauty of this slow burn revelation comes from how organically it all plays out in Kranz’s whip-smart and intricately detailed script that feels like the work a veteran screenwriter rather than a first timer.Mass

I won’t get into too many details of the meeting – the trailer actually reveals what it is about, but let’s just say that both families have experienced an extreme tragedy – one, the parents of the victim, the other, parents of the offender. They are both there to get answers, to heal, and to eventually forgive. Unfortunately, for that to happen, they’ll have to relive the pain of that fateful day.

Kranz smartly plays it neutral, presenting both sides of the tragedy with razor-sharp focus and whip-smart dialogue. It’s as if we are judge and jury, asked to parse through the delicate subject matter as the two families relive the horrific and heartbreaking details of the event. Kranz clearly did his homework as he touches on all the pertinent questions, and wades through the sticky answers on his way to presenting the blueprint of how we can all learn to listen to one another, rather than talking to be heard.

Don’t go in to Mass expecting a fun time at the movies. It’s not that kind of film. In fact, it’s quite the opposite with heartbreak, agony, and uneasiness as the prevailing emotions. What you’ll see instead are some of the best performances of the year, with standouts from Plimpton and Dowd, as well as top-shelf writing that feels as if it comes from a veteran screenwriter.

Mass is not only one of the year’s most important films, it is also one of the best as it takes on a disturbing reality that has, sadly, grown in relevance over recent years. It is one of the few big topic films that answers as many questions as it asks. And one of the biggest answers we get is that learning to understand and listen to one another might very well be a better way to live our lives.

5/5 stars

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Decal Releasing
Available on Blu-ray
- January 11, 2022
Screen Formats: 2.00:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Years after an unspeakable tragedy tore their lives apart, two sets of parents agree to talk privately in an attempt to move forward. In Fran Kranz’s writing and directing debut, he thoughtfully examines their journey of grief, anger, and acceptance by coming face-to-face with the ones who have been left behind. 

Video

In its 2:1 aspect ratio with a crisp 1080p high-definition transfer, you will be able to see all four of the fantastic performances in a nice, clear quality.

Audio

Perhaps this is a film that does not necessarily need its Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, but it is still a nice feature to be included. Every monologue and fought-back tear can be clearly heard throughout the picture.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is no commentary included on this release

Special Features:

  • Trailer

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 1/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars

 

Film Details

Mass

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic content and brief strong language.
Runtime:
111 mins
Director
: Fran Kranz
Writer:
Fran Kranz
Cast:
StarsJason IsaacsMartha PlimptonAnn Dowd
Genre
: Drama
Tagline:

Memorable Movie Quote: "I want to know about your son because he killed mine."
Theatrical Distributor:
Bleecker Street Media
Official Site: https://bleeckerstreetmedia.com/mass
Release Date:
October 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 11, 2022
Synopsis:Years after an unspeakable tragedy tore their lives apart, two sets of parents (Reed Birney & Ann Dowd, Jason Isaacs & Martha Plimpton) agree to talk privately in an attempt to move forward. In Fran Kranz's writing and directing debut, he thoughtfully examines their journey of grief, anger, and acceptance by coming face-to-face with the ones who have been left behind.

Art

Mass

 

Movie Reviews

Our Tweets

 

You are here: Home Home Video Mass (2021) - Bluray Review