Enduring Love Studio: Paramount Year: 2004 Rated: R Length: 100 Minutes Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1, Anamorphically enhanced Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1: English, English 2.0 English Subtitles Closed Captioned Special Features: None Estimated Street Price, $20 or less USD Release Date: May 3, 2005 Mere seconds into the film, we see one life ended and others turned on end. The rest of the film sorts out the carnage from the opening moments. There is no plot. Joe (Daniel Craig) and Claire (Samantha Morton) are enjoying a picnic. A runaway hot air balloon silently and ominously drops out of nowhere, a man and boy the occupants. The man panics, and jumps out of the balloon. With less ballast, the out-of-control balloon begins to ascend, child still inside. Joe joins the man from the balloon and a few other unknown bystanders in a foot pursuit, chasing after the balloon and grasping at dangling anchor lines. They all find purchase, wrestle the balloon to the ground, and sigh in relief. As the boy prepares to climb out of the basket, a gust of wind picks the balloon up propelling it forward and upward. The weight of all the men combined on the anchor lines is not enough to ground the craft. All but one, they let go. The balloon gains altitude, one child in the basket and a man dangling underneath. The balloon continues to rise. The man loses his grip and plunges hundreds of feet to his death. The child floats away in the balloon, out of sight. Joe and one of the other men, Jed (Rhys Ifans), break off from the rest of the men and rush to the body of the man who fell - in case there was anything they could do. Jed asks Joe to kneel and pray with him, but Joe isn’t one for prayer. Jed insists. There’s something about Jed that you can’t quite put your finger on. His isn’t right. But Joe, and the viewer, chalk it up to shock. But it is more than that. At home, Joe struggles with guilt over the balloon incident - thinking if he had held on longer, his weight may have been enough to bring the balloon down and save a life. Still in shock, Joe attempts to resume his life and his job as a lecturer at a university. Jed shows up and wants to talk. He persistent, and persistently unclear about his intentions. Again and again, Joe sees Jed at nearly every turn. He is being stalked. Meanwhile, Joe’s relationship with Claire is failing - due in large part to his overriding guilt. He can’t let it go. Even if he could, Jed wouldn’t let him. The film begins as tragedy, deals with ethical dilemma, then moves on to psychological thriller material. The camera reflects Joe’s moods... usually handheld and a bit off-kilter. This adds to the tenseness of the film. This is an engrossing film, pulling you in psychologically and twisting you, not letting you go and not letting you see where you’re headed. It’s a very well-crafted psychological drama. There’s not a lot of action, but it engages the gray matter. The Transfer The video is anamorphically enhanced and presented in a 2.35:1 format. While the picture seems, at times, a touch soft, it does offer adequate detail. Contrast is usually good, though some of the brighter outdoor scenes seem a bit overexposed. Black levels are strong while maintaining acceptable detail. Colors are well rendered, especially in the beautifully shot and edited opening sequence with the out of control balloon against the beautiful, open landscape. The sound, in Dolby Digital 5.1, is subtle and nuanced, providing a nice sense of space. The sounds of the wind in the trees, the birds in the sky, the rustling of the balloon’s skin - they are all beautifully rendered. Though the bulk of the film is dialog driven, this soundtrack delivers when the scenes call for it. Nicely and subtly mixed. Special Features The only special features are the trailers... Trailers Anti-piracy trailer The Machinist The United States of Leland Love Me if You Dare I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead Intimate Strangers Mean Creek So, who’s happy to spend good money on a DVD to have an anti-piracy trailer and six... count ‘em... SIX other forced trailers greet them upon insertion of the DVD into the player? While I’m happy to see trailers, I want to see them on my own terms. Final Thoughts A compelling psychological drama backed by a good transfer make this a good option for those interested in the genre.