has an average rating of 6.5 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
sadly only include one featurette
– 102 minutes
This uses 26.9GB for the movie out of 29.8GB total.
Overall Verdict – Great Film & Quality but Lacks Bonus
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself is based on a true story. A true story that was turned into a memoir (book) titled “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City” written by Nick Flynn back in 2004. It’s definitely worth noting that author Nick Flynn served as an executive producer here on the film. The screenplay was adapted by Paul Weitz who also directed the film. Weitz is best known for directing films such as “American Pie” (1999), “About a Boy” (2002), “In Good Company” (2004), “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” (2009) and “Little Fockers” (2010).
The film takes place in New York City and tells the story of both a son and his father who abandoned him at an early age, only to be reunited with him when he’s in his twenties and both are going through very rough stages of their lives. As the film starts out we’re a bit confused who the main character is exactly as the son and father both go back and forth with narration claiming the story to be about them. This part proves to be very humorous. Eventually it’s made clear that the main character here is the son, Nick Flynn (portrayed here by Paul Dano) who’s an aspiring writer that when we’re first introduced to him has been dumped by his flight attendant girlfriend when she catches him cheating on her. She kicks him out and he’s forced to find a place to stay. He manages to find an apartment where he has two male roommates, a white homosexual and a black drug dealer. This is important to know as Nick’s father Jonathan Flynn (portrayed by Robert De Niro) has a distinct hatred for both gays and blacks which he expresses early on in the film. This has a bit to do with the fact that he did time in prison for forging checks. As a result of his father being in prison most of his childhood Nick was raised by his mother, portrayed by Julianne Moore in flashbacks. We see a woman who was working two jobs as a bank teller and a waitress while she managed to take care of her son. Nick’s father wrote him many letters from prison and claimed to be writing a novel that would someday make him proud of his old man. His mother made sure to remind Nick that his father was not a writer and instead was serving time in prison for being nothing more than an average con man. Still, this inspired Nick as a child to want to become a writer himself.
After Nick has moved into his new apartment his roommates introduce him to an attractive young lady by the name of “Denise” (played by Olivia Thirlby). She tells Nick that she works at a homeless shelter and that he should consider it as a job to give him a new perspective on life; as she claims it did for her. The two hit it off romantically at first, or should I say sexually, but she starts out by telling him she doesn’t want a relationship. As this is going on in his life one day Nick gets a phone call from his father who he hasn’t heard from in almost two decades. Jonathan (his father) has managed to get evicted from his apartment and asks Nick for help moving his stuff into storage while he finds a new place to stay. The son is very reluctant to want to help his father but he decides to anyway. Once Nick arrives at his father’s apartment the two talk for a short bit about how his mother who committed suicide. Jonathan isn’t very understanding about this and doesn’t seem too sympathetic to his son about the situation. Eventually Nick and his two roommates help Jonathan move his stuff into storage, to which he offers not even a simple thank you. The father and son talk for a short while and then Jonathan goes off to his job, driving a taxi cab. Nick isn’t sure when he’ll see his father again, if ever.
Meanwhile Nick is still trying to get involved with Denise and she’s still reminding him she isn’t interested in a relationship. Nick decides to take her advice she had originally gave him and gets a job at the homeless shelter called “Harbor Street” where she works. It’s unclear if he does this in an attempt to get closer to her in attempt to have a relationship and/or if he was just looking for a means of income to pay his share of rent at his new apartment. Regardless he starts the job there and he’s amazed and also disturbed to see the type of people that come in and what he has to do to take care of them. Quite a bit of time goes by, years in fact, until one day Nick is reunited with his father yet again in the place he works none-the-less. His father comes in as a guest at the homeless shelter after he loses his taxi license and can no longer sleep in his cab and is tired of sleeping on the streets. This is very embarrassing to Nick when his co-workers find out that Jonathan is his father. His father on the other hand words it as a “pleasant surprise” when they meet again at the shelter. Nick is highly upset by this. It’s obvious from the very start that Jonathan is proud of Nick for working at a place like this, yet he manages to think he’s doing it for research in regard to his writing. In fact, Jonathan describes the reason he’s choosing to stay in the shelter is in research for a book he’s claimed to be writing for the past two decades. He says he wants to see how the other half live. This sets up the main story here. It’s worth mentioning and no way intended as a “spoiler” but shortly after this Nick develops a hard drug addiction as a means to cope with what he’s going through having to see his father in the state of being homeless. His father is also an alcoholic and drinking constantly yet manages to see no problem with this. As I’d said before the two of them are both going through very rough stages of their lives.
“Being Flynn” proves to definitely start out having its humorous moments, much thanks to Jonathan Flynn’s perspective on life and his delusion that he’s actually a writer. However, the movie eventually moves toward having a more depressing side at times and most importantly a very emotional dramatic side. There’s obviously love here between the son and father yet there’s a huge conflict and reason they can’t reconnect. The main thing is that Nick’s father abandoned him at a young age and left his mother there to take care of him. This was something that his mother could not handle and eventually drove her to suicide. It’s painful to watch scenes like the flashbacks of that as well as to watch Nick develop the hard drug habit but this film is one that reminds us that life isn’t always perfect. It’s also very painful, we the audience imagine, for Nick to see his father homeless. No one would ever want to witness that, let alone have to be working in the homeless shelter where their father is staying. This film proves to definitely have a lot of heart to it and yes can be a bit depressing at times as I mentioned but it is a film I think most everyone over the age of 18 should see. Both Paul Dano and Robert De Niro deliver unforgettable performances. There’s also some great performances here by actresses Julianne Moore and Olivia Thirlby as part of the supporting cast.
During its limited theatrical run the film only managed to get shown on 88 screens and make a total of $540,152 in box office ticket sales — according to Box Office Mojo. Now that it’s available on home video hopefully it’ll find both its target audience and make some of its budget back. The critics mostly gave this a decent reaction but because of its limited theatrical run I believe it didn’t quite get the right audience or a large enough one for that matter. It holds a decent 54% (out of 100%) rating on the “tomatometer” over at Rotten Tomatoes and 6.5 (out of 10) rating on IMDb.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. According to the technical specifications on IMDb this was shot on Super 35MM film using the Arricam LT and Arricam ST cameras. There’s lots of detail here, especially in close-ups. The black level is perfectly solid, the color palette is a bit subdued to fit the visual style and mood of the film but does somewhat have its share of vibrance at times and fleshtones for the most part are accurate. There’s a pretty good amount of film grain present here throughout which is very reassuring that DNR (digital noise reduction) has not been used. This holds a great presentation as the Super 35MM film source translates very well in the digital transfer to Hi-Def. It may not be something that strikes most of you as extremely amazing in terms of visuals and “pop off the screen” at you. However, as I said you need to keep in mind that the DP (director of photography) Declan Quinn was going for something in terms of a visual style (cinematography) that would correctly fit the film’s mood and story. It wouldn’t have made sense for this to have been overly bright and flashy. Being subdued and a tad bit dark at times made much more sense for a dramatic film such as this. Having said all that, this earns itself an impressive “4.5 Star Rating” for overall video quality. It visually does the film justice.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. As the film starts out you’ll be dealt two battling narrations between father and son. This, as well as the eventual dialogue, is delivered distinctly through the center channel speaker. Dialogue is never once drowned out by anything, in fact the film for the most part doesn’t have a whole lot of intense sequences in the mix. The original music here done by Badly Drawn Boy (Damon Gough) is mellow and fits the mood of the film perfectly. That original music gets delivered primarily through the front left and right channel speakers but does have a bit of rear channel and LFE (bass) presence. Around 59 minutes in there is one audio sequence that I found to be a real highlight in the lossless 5.1 mix. It involves the song “Pepper” by Butthole Surfers being played at a club (or perhaps bar). This has a great amount of rear channel and LFE presence to it and gives you flashbacks to the late nineties. It sounds great. As I said, this isn’t an intense mix by any means yet it does manage to set the mood of the film perfectly and has an instance where it does make some impressive use of the 5.1 lossless mix — even if it is just for a song. This does the film justice in terms of sound and earns itself a solid “4 Star Rating” for overall audio quality.
Bonus Materials on this release are presented in full 1080p Hi-Def (HD) video with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo @640kbps sound.
- BD-Live is included on this release which allows users on a “Profile 2.0” capable Blu-ray Disc player with Internet connectivity to access online content from the studio as well as make use of features such as pocketBLU which allows you to use your portable media device such as smartphone or tablet as a remote control.
- “The Heart of Being Flynn” (6:04 – HD) serves up a short bit of a behind-the-scenes look on set at the making of the film as well as includes interviews with director/screenwriter Paul Weitz, author Nick Flynn, actor Robert De Niro, producer Andrew Miano, actor Paul Dano, actresses Olivia Thirlby, Lili Taylor and Julianne Moore. It’s mentioned here that Paul Weitz had actually been working on the script adaptation of this for 7 years. This proves to be both an entertaining and informative featurette.
Overall the bonus material here is nothing more than a 6 minute featurette on the making of the film that dishes up interviews with the cast, filmmakers and the real-life Nick Flynn. As I said, it does prove to be both entertaining and informative but you’ll be wishing there was more included like an audio commentary or some physical and digital bonus content. Still, if you enjoyed the film you’ll at least be happy something was included in terms of supplemental material. It sure beats nothing.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Please be patient with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.