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Angels Crest (2011) Print E-mail
Saturday, 31 March 2012
Image“Angels Crest” is another independent feature that longs to be something more than what comes across in the end.  The film has some merits, but most of it is “been there, done that.”

The film is based on a novel, not exactly best-selling from what I’ve found.  Nevertheless, the adaptation to film is one of the big concerns for those that have read the book.  Not having read the book I cannot comment on this notion, but be forewarned.

“Angels Crest” is a simple story.  A 3 year-old boy disappears in the middle of a blizzard after being left in the truck alone for 15 to 20 minutes by his father who goes in search of a deer.  A massive hunt for the boy ensues, only to find him the next morning frozen to death.  This is tough to pull off because one, it has been done before (“Snow Angels” comes to mind), and two there are a number of pitfalls.  First, who leaves their child “asleep” in a car seat locked in a truck with the heater on and widows shut during a snowstorm to follow a deer?  Ummm, no one I know of.  Second, the boy is found less than a quarter mile from the truck.  The search party searched all day and into the night.  What search starts miles out and works backward toward the truck?  The boy should have been found fairly easily.

The other pitfall here is that the film tries to keep you guessing as to whether there was foul play involved or whether the toddler simply got up and walked away.  I’ll give you a clue, it is not as suspenseful as they want you to think and it is anti-climatic. As independent films go, there are some fairly slow-moving sequences, lots of fat that could have been trimmed.  In the end the film tells a tale but leaves it full of holes.  Development is its main problem.  Relationships, locations and rationales are not developed nor explained at any point.  You sit through the film trying to figure out who everyone is and why one or another is acting the way they do.  Was I at all interested in pursuing this, I would read the book and see if questions are answered.  My sneaky suspicion is that this book to film adaption was poorly done.

The Blu-ray comes with a sound video encode.  The locations are beautifully shot.  Details of the woodlands are crisp and clean.  Textures are a little flat at times.  Colors are muted and accurate to the landscape.  Fleshtones remain fairly accurate throughout.  There are no significant artifacting or noise issues of any kind.  Black levels remain decent throughout, providing details in the dark and good shadow delineation.  All is not perfect, but in terms of independent filmmaking this a fine presentation.  It doesn’t live up to the standards set by Magnolia’s recent release of “Melancholia,” but it is still pleasant.

The audio quality is far more conservative than the video.  The 5.1 lossless audio track doesn’t do much more than stereo throughout the film.  There is some bled ambience in the rear channels, but it seems as the film progresses the attention to detail in the rear speakers becomes weaker.  Almost as if the sound designers started to lose focus (or budget cuts).  The dialogue is crisp and clear.  The music is decent and nicely prioritized.  There is nothing way of LFE and dynamics are better than to be expected.  There isn’t much to say about this audio track.  Clean and clear but lacking detail.

The Blu-ray comes with deleted scenes with commentary by the director.  There are cast interviews, the film’s trailer and an HDNet featurette, which is essentially a making-of.

“Angels Crest” is not the best film in the world, and maybe it is just because the films of late have been sluggish, but the adaptation of this book-to-film seems to be lacking.  The audio and video qualities are accurate but ultimately forgettable.  Might be worth a rent if you find yourself drawn to the story or have an affinity for any of the actors.

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