# A B




Things We Lost In The Fire

review by Zach B.



MPAA Rating: R (For Drug Content and Language)

Running Time: 118 Minutes

Starring: Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro, David Duchovny, Alison Lohman, Omar Benson Miller, John Carroll Lynch

Written by: Allan Loeb

Directed by: Susanne Bier


Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: A Discussion About Things We Lost In The Fire, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (17 Scenes)

Released: March 4th, 2008



"Things We Lost In The Fire" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is an arresting transfer that highlights director Susanne Bier's penchant for filters and close-ups, but unfortunately, isn't without its flaws. Edge halos run wild throughout, plus there's edge enhancement, some shimmering at times, and a lot of noise - contrast is really turned up too high for parts of this movie. The film looks a grainy at times as well.

But despite those instances, as distracting as they are, this transfer certainly has a pull. The filtering brings strong visual presence, especially with the greens and blues throughout the movie. There are moments on this transfer that are perfect, and are just so sharp. Detail is very fine, and the vivid color saturation certainly stands out. Fleshtones and black levels are a knock-out, too. While it's a shame the imperfections pop up a bit too much, the strengths to this transfer often outweigh those annoyances.


The film features an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track, one that is good, considering the material. This movie is more or less ripe with conversations, and on that end, all the dialogue is clear and easy to listen to. There are a few jolts that make up the surround effects that pack a little bit of a punch, plus a few subtle ones (such as some echoes, and characters swimming in a pool). On that end, subwoofer use is minimal, but works well when used. And last but not last - and standing out the most - is the haunting, wrought score by Johan Soderqvist, with themes by Gustavo Santaolalla. The music is exceptionally mixed throughout the channels, as there is a real sense of power brought - one that really helps ramp up the mix.

Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are also included in French and Spanish. Subtitles in English, French and Spanish are on the disc too, and English closed captions can be accessed through your television.  


The main supplement is A Discussion About Things We Lost In The Fire. This is a fine piece that delves into the film's heavy themes as well as the film's production history. Illustrated with clips from the film, the main cast and crew are interviewed here: director Susanne Bier, producer Sam Mendes, producer Sam Mercer, screenwriter Alan Loeb, Halle Berry, Omar Benson, Benecio Del Toro and David Duchovny. The producers and Loeb mainly focus on how the script made it to the screen, while the actors talk about how they approached their characters, praise the script and praise their co-stars. But the standout here really is Bier, and it makes me wish she recorded a full-length commentary for the film. Bier's vision for the film is clear here, and she gives a lot of insight into her prep in making the film, her thoughts on its themes and characters, and how she works as a filmmaker (everything from working with the actors to how she composed some shots). Bier is articulate and artful. While some of her collaborators here give the usual fluff sound bite, the exciting filmmaker really stands out in this piece. She's the reason to give this a view.

There are seven Deleted Scenes, in non-anamorphic widescreen with time codes. There are no reasons given why the scenes were cut - most last a minute or two - but it's clear the film doesn't need them, as it makes its point concerning the characters and drug abuse elsewhere. Still, some of what's here is a little disturbing.

Also on board is the Theatrical Trailer, in anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1.


"Things We Lost In The Fire" died a painfully quick death at the box office, but hopefully this tale of addiction and redemption will find a more prosperous life on home video. The DVD has a fine (if flawed) transfer, a decent Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and a solid featurette that really shows off director Susanne Bier's passion for filmmaking. Maybe not an outright purchase, but for those who like a heavy drama, a rental should do just fine.