|I'll Follow You Down (2014)|
Reviewed by Dustin Putman
(Release Date: August 5, 2014) It's worth a little side-eye that a movie called "I'll Follow You Down" doesn't feature even a hint of Gin Blossoms on the soundtrack, but there are unfortunately more pressing issues at foot with this earnest but undercooked mystery/sci-fi/drama hybrid. Written and directed by Richie Mehta, the film stars Haley Joel Osment (2003's "Secondhand Lions") as 21-year-old Erol Whyte, an MIT hopeful whose father, Gabe (Rufus Sewell), vanished without a trace during a business trip twelve years earlier. Erol has tried to move on, but mom Marika (Gillian Anderson) has never been able to shake the haunting question of what happened to her beloved husband. When tragedy strikes again, Erol begins to reconsider his grandfather/physics professor Sal's (Victor Garber) theory that Gabe's disappearance is connected to a wormhole he managed to travel through.
With the exception of Gillian Anderson's (2012's "Sister") affectingly somber turn as a woman who can never quite overcome the grief of not knowing what happened to her soul mate, "I'll Follow You Down" is in short supply of the gravitas the story requires. Characters do not react convincingly to losing loved ones, tonal shifts from the forlorn to the inspirational-cum-frothy are whiplash-inducing, and the third act (not to be revealed here) is ruinously lacking the existential weight one expects. The entire film has led to their centerpiece moment, yet there is no crucial connectivity between the two actors on the screen for it to seem like anything more than a reunion between distant sort-of acquaintances. If Mehta's treatment of time-travel and science feels like a rudimentary beginner's guide to these subjects (versus, for example, 2004's tastier mind-bender "Primer"), an all-grown Haley Joel Osment is a welcome sympathetic lead, proving he still has a career ahead of him beyond his status as an Oscar-nominated former child star. Ambitious but clunky, "I'll Follow You Down" is not quite the picture to be Osment's post-adolescent breakthrough, but it is a step in the right direction.
From the very first shot where every line and crease can be deciphered on a young boy's eyelids, the visual articulateness is what particularly stands out with the 1080p transfer of "I'll Follow You Down." For a film with a revolving door of looks and stylessome scenes take place in a moody bluish, almost frosty, tint, others emanate with oaky golden hues, and others still revel in the fresh, renewing greenery of springeach one resonates with its natural conceptual purpose. There are softer shots throughout, particularly whenever windows can be seen in the background blown out by sunlight, but for the most part this is a satisfyingly detailed high-definition presentation. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is really subdued, less due to any fault of the track and more symptomatic of a movie that is naturally quiet and dialogue-centric. Still, aside from the occasional music cue and ambient noise, the audio predominately sticks to the front channels. A 2.0 Stereo track is also included.
- The Music of I'll Follow You Down (12:47, HD)
- Deleted Scenes (4:11, HD)
- Theatrical Trailer (2:07, HD)
"I'll Follow You Down" isn't as successful as it is ambitious, but that is a preferable place to be over strict, lazy mediocrity. While a director's commentary track could have only helped to inform of Richie Mehta's filmmaking intentions, there is a pretty cool featurette involving the recording sessions of composer Andrew Lockington's music score. The film is most notable, perhaps, for casting Haley Joel Osment in one of his first adult roles, and he equips himself impressively in the part. Well Go USA's Blu-ray release of "I'll Follow You Down" is worth at least a rental for anyone who likes unique time-travel stories or is a fan of Osment.