On some level, even though I didn’t much expectations for Aloft going in, I was somewhat disappointed especially with Jennifer Connelly and Cillian Murphy starring and while both actors were perfectly fine in their respective roles, the screenplay falters and doesn’t quite deliver with an unfocused message, partially about faith I guess, culminating with what could’ve been a powerful climax.
Sony Pictures Classics | R – 97 min. – $34.99 | September 29, 2015
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
Note: This review contains plot spoilers.
Aloft, a dour drama written and directed by Claudia Llosa (The Milk of Sorrow), had plenty going for it but never quite reaches its potential thanks to a lackluster script that in spite of telling an interesting story doesn’t make much of an impact when it came to the anticipated ending.
The story takes place in the past and present, the former on a young boy named Ivan (ZEN MCGRATH), his ill younger brother Gully (WINTA MCGRATH) and their brash, hard-nosed mother Nana (JENNIFER CONNELLY) as she deals with Gully’s health issues as well as Ivan who at times is resentful of his brother and the attention he receives. Their lives are changed forever after the tragic and accidental death of Gully. The result finds the grief-stricken Nana abandoning Ivan to be raised by his grandfather.
In the present, 20 years later, a now grown up Ivan (CILLIAN MURPHY) has a family of his own with a wife and son. Ivan, as he did as a child, is a falconer, and is approached by young journalist Jannia (MÉLANIE LAURENT) who, at first, poses as a documentarian subject on falcons before revealing her true intent: finding Ivan’s mother who now serves as a healer, located in a vastly remote area. After much reluctance, and to get some kind of closure to his abandonment, Ivan agrees to accompany Jannia to find his mother trekking through rough terrain after their bus gets stop due to an accident. On this journey, we get more details on Ivan’s childhood.
On the surface, Aloft could’ve been a powerful drama but instead it left me as cold as the environment Ivan and Jannia were traveling in. It’s not an issue with the performances because both Jennifer Connelly and Cillian Murphy turned in fine performances but the plot itself is very slow and instead of building up any tension or drama, it was fairly dull in some spots.
It should be noted that this version is about 15-minutes shorter than the one shown at various festivals but from my reading, those extra minutes didn’t amount to very much and actually made for an even slower film. As it stands, though, as much as I wanted to like the movie, I had a hard time really delving into the dramatic aspects. Sure, the performances are good and technically speaking might be well made, but it seems Llosa’s screenplay could’ve used some work.
In the end, Aloft isn’t terrible but should’ve been so much better and perhaps had, pardon the pun, loftier goals. As a flyer rental it might be worth investing the time otherwise this is something one will catch on cable sometime in the future…
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0/5
No features were included.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases Aloft onto Blu-ray presented with a 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture isn’t incredible to look at yet does have decent, if not average, detail levels throughout while colors are intentionally muted at times.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is rather basic with nicely clear dialogue which makes up the bulk of this film with a variety of elements, such as ambient noises as well as the score, makes the most use, albeit limited, of the front and rear channels with the latter coming across a bit soft.
OVERALL – 2.25/5
Overall, on some level, even though I didn’t much expectations for Aloft going in, I was somewhat disappointed especially with Jennifer Connelly and Cillian Murphy starring and while both actors were perfectly fine in their respective roles, the screenplay falters and doesn’t quite deliver with an unfocused message, partially about faith I guess, culminating with what could’ve been a powerful climax.
The Blu-ray was distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and offers no bonus material though the video and audio transfers are more than adequate.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.