The Life Before Her Eyes—Magnolia Pictures (Blu-ray)

Video: 5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3/5

"The Life Before Her Eyes" is an intense and visually evocative drama about the loss of youth, investigating how a single moment in time can define an entire life. Based on Laura Kasischke's visionary novel, the story hinges on a pivotal confrontation: two high school girls held captive by a gunman and forced to make the terrifying choice as to who will live and who will die. "The Life Before Her Eyes" explores the reverberations stemming from the collision of past and future, reality and dream. Life can end in an instant - yet the echoes of possible futures remain inescapable.

Character dramas are always so hit or miss but this one ended up being quite good. The film focuses on a mother who is dealing with the ghosts of her past. In high school a student decided to go on a killing spree similar to what we’ve seen with Columbine and after a horrifying encounter the character has never been the same. Now on the anniversary of the events she is coping with the decisions she made and being haunted by the terror she experienced. The ending left me a bit confused and was the only blip in what amounts to a solid drama.

The HD presentation is a gorgeous combination of contrast and fine detail. The look of the film is so sharp and detailed that I thought it may have been shot with HD cameras except for the accompanying amount of fine film grain. Colors are quite vivid and have a beautiful sense of pop and luster. Dimension is sensational and the depth of image is strong throughout. I was really impressed with the level of detail throughout regardless of the shot and this may be one of the best film presentations I’ve seen on Blu-ray to date. A spectacular HD presentation.

The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and excels and mood and atmosphere. The story is mainly dialogue driven but there are some pretty intense moments when the dynamics can catch you off guard and the soundstage opens up considerably. The score does a wonderful job of creating an atmosphere and filling the surround soundstage. Dialogue is always clean and has a very natural timbre.

Extras include a few production features that look into the making of the film and the casting. Some deleted scenes and an alternate ending also help make sense of some things for those left scratching their head at the end of the film. A feature commentary is also included.

This is a well acted human drama with a spectacular A/V presentation. Anyone moved by great character work and the human condition should definitely give this one a look.