Neverwas DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

A story for the family.
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
A story for the family.
Too much of the time a lot of the actors seem like they are acting. No features.
Neverwas is an interesting tale about coming to terms with your family. Zach Riley (Aaron Eckhart) leaves his post at a large institution so that he can practice psychiatry at Millwood Clinic. We come to find out that Riley's father, T.L. Pierson (Nick Nolte), used to be a patient there and this reclusive man had also written a popular book called Neverwas. However, T.L. had some secrets and as a result of this he killed himself. Obviously this had a very sad effect on Zach and his mother (Jessica Lange), and it comes to explain why Zach has come to Millwood in the first place. While working there he forms a relationship with Gabriel (Ian McKellen) and Zach comes to find out that he was friends with his late father. Zach also meets up with his old friend Maggie (Brittany Murphy) and it soon becomes clear that she also has part to play in this story.

All in all, Neverwas is a tale that we have seen before. In many ways it seems to me to be an amalgam of a bunch of different movies. However, it has its heart in the right place and it's the kind of story that seems like it should have gotten a bit more notice.
No Extras came with this release.
Widescreen - 2.35:1. Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions. This movie looks really sharp. Miramax Films all seem to have a certain slickness about them. I don't know what it is exactly but at times this movies almost seems too slick. For example, a lot of moments with Sir Ian McKellen felt like typical movie moments. How he would deliver a line, or glance at a character, it all seemed calculated to evoke as much as it could evoke based on our perception of how we already know this actor. The colors on this DVD were rich, the journey rewarding, it just isn't anything viewers haven't already seen.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. French and Spanish subtitles. The audio on this movie was solid. Nothing really leaped out of the speakers and grabbed me, but I did think that things sounded alright. This movie is almost dyspeptic in how clean it us. The soundtrack seems put together to evoke a certain feeling and mood. I wouldn't have a problem with this if it didn't seem so premeditated. It isn't that this movie or its message is bad, I just never felt that anything about it stood out in a way that made it unique.
Every picture of Aaron Eckhart on this front cover has him open mouthed and wide eyed in amazement. That right there sums up this movie. Brittany Murphy and Sir Ian McKellen are also on this front cover, which actually seems to recall Finding Neverland with its title. The back cover has some shots from the film, a simply written description of what this movie is about, Technical Information and a cast list.
This was a different role for Aaron Eckhart. I have always thought that he plays a jerky, middle management type quite well. As Zach in Neverwas, we get to see a more vulnerable side of this actor. We are shown someone who doesn't seem like he has all the answers. He is searching for something and throughout this search, does everything he can to find what he is looking for. There is also an open-mindedness to this character that I haven't seen Eckhart put on screen before.

Also, this is supposedly the first film from writer director Joshua Michael Stern. With the look of this film, the strength of the cast, I find it hard to believe that this is the first feature length movie that this director has done. He seems to have a solid handle on how to get interesting performances out of already interesting actors (i.e. Ian McKellen). One can only wonder where an actor like this goes from here, but something tells me that Neverwas has been a jumping off point for a craftsman that we will most likely be hearing a lot from.

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