Theater Thoughts

DVD Thoughts: Felt

September 8, 2015

felt email

Reviewer: John Carpenter

Released by: Anchor Bay
Blu-Ray Release date: 9/1/2015
Region 1
80 Mins/Not Rated
Widescreen 1.78:1| 16×9: Yes

One of the main goals of a movie is to drop the viewer into a different world. It doesn’t matter if that person’s ass is in a rocking chair or drive-in theater, the only world a viewer should know is on the screen that flickers in front of their eyes. Plenty of movies accomplish this feat.  They typically come with some gloss or just enough of a wink to remind the viewer a story is being told.  With “Felt,” that immersive feeling is infinitely deeper. From the candid sounding conversations about torturing before killing to the dreary, hauntingly true to life tone, there are plenty of elements at play in director Jason Banker’s (“Toad Road”) latest movie.  Amy (Amy Everson) is a fascinating ‘character’ to see through the lens of a camera. It’s easy to see why her friends and acquaintances get irritated, but equally as easy to see why so many people are drawn to her.  Amy lives life by her rules now. We don’t know exactly who she was before experiencing the sexual trauma that shifted her life, “Felt” shows us the aftermath.  The painful struggles of a woman who tries to express her pain through a series of graphic artistic expressions.  She sports different prosthetic penises and an uncomfortably swollen fake vagina along with a variety of creepy masks in an effort to find her way on the path she now walks.  With traditional pressures from friends, Amy finds herself being more and more alienated. Her friends, who seem to really want to support her, are questioning her actions and words. Friends of friends are far less forgiving. Tony (Tony Ruiz) doesn’t feel the need to entertain or put on a nice face. He is an engineer – one who consistently contributes to society, so the thought of a free-spirited artist like Amy, gives him the perception that she is a slacker or burnout. These ideologies and perceptions all leads to conflict, which multiplies Amy’s problems. She is drifting through life, trying to find answers, but keeps finding the wrong conclusions on her journey.  

As mentioned, Amy doesn’t simply push people away with her seemingly odd antics.  When Kenny (Kentucker Audley) rolls on the scene as a potential suitor, Amy can’t seem to push him back. Kenny is fascinated by Amy and can’t seem to get enough of her. He keeps getting closer. This sets up not only a sweet turn of events for our troubled lead, but also begins a downward spiral that few will see coming. Amy’s pain is real. Despite Kenny’s good intentions and attempts to experience life in Amy’s world, he can’t see that he slips further away with each attempt. This is where the true meat of Banker’s movie dwells. Does opening yourself up to others help or hurt a relationship?  Is it possible to uncover even the most deep seeded emotions and trauma while trying to develop love and trust?  “Felt” seems to think so, and with good reason. Sometimes what people decide to share can be enough. Digging into the deeper emotions, while it may have strengthening effects on a relationship, could unearth feelings that need to be addressed. This could destroy what may otherwise be a healthy relationship.  Amy’s path is her own to discover. With “Felt” Jason Banker gives viewers an interesting take on the pitfalls in life and what one can experience while exploring these internal feelings.

Anchor Bay has released “Felt” in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Having seen this theatrically, only the resolution seems to suffer on the transition to DVD.  With a maximum resolution of 720p, Anchor Bay’s disc never had a chance at replicating a digital, theatrical experience.  Even with this  handcuff, the DVD still soars. Perhaps it is the upconverting nature of my player, but the colors and details in “Felt” were top notch. There is a clear artistic vision in “Felt,” so good video quality is key. While lingering on different pieces of art, the opening credits let viewers know that picture quality is important. Even this little indie flick has the crisp look one would expect from a modern movie. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track that accompanies the movie is strong.  Most of the sound stay in the front field, but rear channels get an opportunity to breathe when music plays and during some intense scenes. Dialogue levels are adequate and sound is balanced well.  This is another strong effort from Anchor Bay.

There are no extra features on this disc.

“Felt” is pitched as a rape-revenge movie. While I can see the parallels to a movie like “I Spit on Your Grave,” “Felt” is much more than a horror or exploitation movie. There are real feelings on display in what could easily be defined as a gritty drama. Jason Banker and Amy Everson are obviously close to the subject matter and this comes across as the movie plays. “Felt” is intense and will likely divide viewers. Some may want more closure on a character who deals with trauma and stress. I found the ‘slice of life’ to be refreshing. Life isn’t about neat corners and tidy topics. Life can be cruel.  “Felt” shows us how one person tries to deal with the cards that have been dealt. Having seen the movie more than once, I find it easy to recommend. Amy’s story captured me more than once and the movie makes up for a relatively short runtime by packing a lot of drama and feeling into the final product. If you are looking for a different type of horror movie, give “Felt” a spin. The masked maniacs that typically fill up the genre will seem like Disney characters after climbing out of Jason Bunker’s latest world.

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