Syrup might be the surprise film of 2013 in year filled with good movies, but nothing exceptional (thus far). The satire is done to near perfection, however the highlight once again is Amber Heard who continues to impress with a wonderful performance worthy of a Golden Globe nomination. The Blu-ray released by Magnolia Home Entertainment doesn’t offer many bonus features but the audio/video transfers are good.
Genre(s): Drama, Comedy, Romance
Magnolia | R – 90 min. – $29.98 | November 5, 2013
Directed by: Aram Rappaport
Writer(s): Max Barry (novel); Aram Rappaport and Max Barry (screenplay)
Cast: Amber Heard, Shiloh Fernandez, Kellan Lutz, Brittany Snow
Theatrical Release Date: June 7, 2013 (limited release)
Features: Featurettes, Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 19.7 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
“Men categorize women in one of four ways: mothers, virgins, sluts and bitches.” – Six
It’s all about image. That’s the message of the drama-comedy Syrup, a message which drums the audience over the head like a mallet, but so help me I enjoyed the hell out of it especially for yet another incredible performance by Amber Heard.
Recently graduated from college, Scat (SHILOH FERNANDEZ) can only pay the rent selling his sperm and even then for a mere $54 while his silent roommate, Sneaky Pete (KELLAN LUTZ), utilizes his persona, and fibbing on his application, to get far more money. One night, Scat gets a grand idea for a new energy drink and takes the idea to a top marketing agency and, because he couldn’t get in for a meeting, pulls the fire alarm and eventually meets a woman named Six (AMBER HEARD) and impresses her enough to get a lunch meeting. There he briefly pitches the drink known as “FUKK”.
After a few days, it dawns on him that she’ll take credit when presenting to the board but also discovers that he didn’t have the trademark and is horrified to find that Six already placed one alongside… Sneaky Pete! Whoops. And the idea of his was worth a cool $2 million.
Time goes on and while Pete rises in the ranks of the firm, Scat takes dead end jobs to pay the rent when he and Six reconnect when she suddenly is getting shutout as Pete garners celebrity status within the company. In order to keep her job, she enlists the help of Scat to come up with a marketing campaign for “FUKK” and in return, he gets in the door for financial success and a place to crash-her apartment; the only problem is, they have only 5 days to do so.
Literally at the last moment Scat comes up with a genius idea and it’s at this point, if this were a Hollywood romantic comedy, Scat and Six would acknowledge their attraction to one another and, perhaps after a fight, would wind up together and live happily ever after. But thankfully this is not a typical rom-com and instead Scat infatuation with Six grows but she’s not entirely an open book and he becomes frustrated with trying to find out who she really is.
As I said earlier, Syrup doesn’t exactly disguise its message, one critically of consumerism and, more pointedly, the marketing going into products to push on the public, driving a craze for said product. It’s actually a clever film with sharp dialogue and a main character who personifies the desire and lust of branding. And that line in the opening? She certainly embodies each aspect throughout the film. Keep an eye out, it’s rather interesting…
On the performance front, the star of the show is of course Amber Heard. She outshines everyone else including Shiloh Fernandez (Evil Dead remake) who does a nice job carrying the bulk of the time and is the central character. But Heard steals each scene as she has done in many previous films which weren’t the greatest, yet she was hardly the problem (see: Drive Angry and The Rum Diaries).
For Fernandez’s part, he tries to keep up and does a well enough job as we get to see his character transform from a dope at the beginning to somebody with success toward the end before seeking reality for himself. It’s not an incredible performance but an above average one. The supporting cast is fine but not entirely memorable. Kellan Lutz (Twilight Saga, Hercules: The Legend Begins), with only a couple of lines, is cool as Scat’s nemesis while Brittany Snow, who shares a prime spot on the cover, is more or less a cameo receiving a few minutes of screen time, albeit one scene is quite good.
Directed by Aram Rappaport in his sophomore effort following the crime-drama Innocent and based on the popular novel of the same name by Max Barry (who co-adapted with Rappaort), Syrup wasn’t well received by fans but speaking as someone who has not read the novel, nor knows the changes, I found the feature film to be surprisingly well done satire and not entirely predictable. Amber Heard is a delight once again and really propels the film from being an average drama-comedy affair.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.25/5
Interview with Executive Producer/Costume Designer Sophia Banks-Coloma (7:27; HD) is her explaining her role in designing the wardrobes to match the characters.
AXS TV: A Look at Syrup (2:55; HD) is an EPK featurette that provides little, if any, substantive information and only serves to advertise the movie.
Theatrical Trailer (1:47; HD)
Previews – To the Wonder, Kiss of the Damned, Hammer of the Gods, Shadow Dancer
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Syrup arrives on Blu-ray by Magnolia Home Entertainment presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The detail levels are good but not perfect looking a bit too clean, the blacks are stark showing no signs of artifacting and the colors seem well balanced going toward the brighter elements during the daylight scenes especially when it comes to Amber Heard when she’s dolled up, accentuating her sexuality (i.e. brand) I suppose.
AUDIO – 4.25/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track isn’t anything amazing but satisfactory where dialogue levels were clear and the ambient noises make the most of the rear channels. The most depth this track showed is with the score and catchy pop music, namely the song “Blackout” by Kymberley Kennedy.
OVERALL – 3.25/5
Overall, Syrup might be the surprise film of 2013 in year filled with good movies, but nothing exceptional (thus far). The satire is done to near perfection, however the highlight once again is Amber Heard who continues to impress with a wonderful performance worthy of a Golden Globe nomination. The Blu-ray released by Magnolia Home Entertainment doesn’t offer many bonus features but the audio/video transfers are good.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.