The Last Word (Blu-ray)

Evan Merck (We Bentley) is one weird dude who makes a living writing suicide notes for people planning their own demise. His world turns topsy-turvy when he meets Charlotte (Winona Ryder), the sister of a former client, and he's forced to lie about his relationship with her now-departed brother in order to pursue a relationship.

Evan has to be one of the most unlikeable characters I've ever seen in a movie. He's not a bad guy per se, but he has zero personality, and it was hard to buy into Charlotte's attraction for him. Also, Ray Romano co-stars as one of Evan's clients, a failed musician who's reduced to composing telephone-hold music and wants to end it all—and given his gloomy personality, I'd be willing to pull the trigger.

Image Entertainment seems to be the only studio that doesn't encode Blu-rays at 1080p, but there's nothing abhorrent with this 1080i encode. Colors are somewhat muted, reflecting the morose tone to the film, and the black levels are slightly elevated. Detail in close-ups is very impressive while the longer shots are a bit softer.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack surprised me with its rich use of the surround speakers, creating a very immersive atmosphere. Evan meets his clients in a local diner, and the clamor of clinking dishes and conversations create a realistic ambience. Dialog is intelligible and firmly rooted in the center speaker, and the music by Gary Calamar opens up the dynamics on occasion.

The sparse supplements include some deleted scenes, a still gallery, and the theatrical trailer.

This quirky comedy didn't resonate with me, and the ending isn't that inspiring. It tries a little too hard to be different from the run-of-the-mill romantic comedy and misses the mark. Its presentation is respectable enough, but the movie's only redeeming quality is its thankfully short 94-minute runtime. If it was any longer, the temptation to become one of Evan's clients would have been too powerful.

Release Date: April 21, 2009
Studio: Image Entertainment

Movie: 4/10
Picture: 8/10
Sound: 8/10

Review System

Source
Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player

Display
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Electronics
Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 power amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner

Speakers
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Cables
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics

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