STAY Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Year: 2005 Film Length: 99 minutes Genre: Drama/Thriller Aspect Ratio: SIDE B: 2.35:1 enhanced widescreen SIDE A: 1.33:1 fullscreen Colour/B&W: Colour Audio:[*] English 5.1 Surround [*] Spanish 2.0 Surround [*] French 2.0 Surround Subtitles: English & Spanish Film Rating: Release Date: March 28, 2006. Film Rating: Ewan McGregor (Sam Foster), Ryan Gosling (Henry Lethem), Naomi Watts (Lila Culpepper) Written by: David Benioff Directed by: Marc Forster Between the worlds of the living and the dead there is a place you are not supposed to stay. Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, and Ryan Gosling star in this thriller that will leave you hanging in a place between life and death. Sam Foster (McGregor) is a psychologist who takes a patient of a co-worker on extended leave. While seemingly an average patient with problems, Sam soon finds out that his new patient Henry (Gosling) is going to commit suicide in a few days. Once this is know, Sam must take different steps to handle the case by advising other associates. Sam does not find satisfaction by taking this action so he decides to take some matters into his own hands. He has many run-ins with Henry, who is becoming very delusional by hearing disturbing voices and experiencing horrifying visions; in a sense he sees the future. But what is imagination? What is reality? The more Sam is involved, the more he can’t separate the two either and time is running out before Henry is to kill himself. Sam is determined to comprehend the terrifying secret of Henry’s nightmares that could lead to a horrific end. I was very engaged during this film; it kept me thinking and determined to figure out the mystery. It is well-paced throughout the film, with only a slight slow point a little more mid-way through the film. The ending, thankfully, is not predictable nor is it unrealistic. It’s a satisfying ending that put all of the pieces of the film in place. This is a must-own chilling thriller from the director of Monster’s Ball and Finding Neverland. VIDEO QUALITY Enhanced for widescreen televisions (it better be these days!), the 2.35:1 image looks great on both large and small screens. There is very little to fault this picture with. I actually spent more of my time watching the film rather than nitpicking the picture quality (something I should do more often). But – when I recognize this I know that the DVD transfer is excellent because there is little complain of. With the exception of a few soft shots in the film, the image is detailed and three dimensional and will please the pickiest of viewers. Contrast is excellent and the colours are, well, reflective of the stylistic approach to the filmmaking. They aren’t fully saturated and their hue has been altered for the mood of the film. Both pixelization and edge enhancement are absent. AUDIO QUALITY While not extremely aggressive, the 5.1 mix is consistently providing a 360 degree sound field around the listener. There are eerie voices all around the listener and it becomes difficult to locate where the voices are coming from. They are always there; subtly mixed in the background and never intruding on the main events in the film. It's effective and emotionally stirring. On their own, the left and right front speakers create an image that is deep into the front of the soundstage and well beyond the sides as well as behind the listener. For these moments, the surround channels are not active even though it seems like they are (you MUST be sitting properly between your left and right speakers to hear this effect). When the surrounds are active they widen and deepen the rear soundstage even more creating a far more engaging film experience. The “crash” moments in this film are a good example of all channels alive and active at once and suck you into the film. Bass is excellent in all five channels for those brief moments and treble is never aggressive enough to be fatiguing. There is little .1 LFE in the film. It is used subtly for a few moments in the film, but for the most part, the main left and right channels deliver bass that deliver the most impact. Dialogue is intelligible but I found it to be a little forward. TACTILE FUN!! TRANSDUCER ON/ OFF?: ON Hooked up to LFE only, the Clark Synthesis TST-429 tactile transducer provided an interesting effect for this film. I’m happy to see that the LFE channel is used sparingly because if using a tactile transducer it would be overwhelming if LFE was used all of the time. For those brief moments in the film, such as the “crash,” having your seat vibrate put you even more in the moment of the film! It makes it all the better! One moment in the film I did like a lot with this transducer is the moment when Sam visits Henry’s mother; when the dog lunges to bite Sam as he turns away, (you feel like you’ve turned away too) there is a thump of bass that vibrates the transducer and creates the effect of the dog biting you in the butt! I loved it because it made me jump! If you have a device that allows you to “feel” the sound, I’d leave it on. SPECIAL FEATURES There isn’t a lot in terms of special features, but that’s ok by me. There is scene-specific commentary from director Marc Forster as well as an interesting featurette titled Departing Visions. It’s about 5 minutes long and consists of discussions from people having near-death experiences, but specifically those who have seen things supernatural or a moment of life-after death. It’s interesting stuff and makes one wonder… The disc also has the Music of Stay and the film’s theatrical trailer. IN THE END... If you are a fan of strange and bizarre story telling that required you to guess, think, and predict what is happing in the film, and are looking for a film that isn’t predictable despite your efforts, Stay is a film you won’t want to leave behind. Michael Osadciw March 21, 2006.