While most friends drift apart over the years, some remain in contact even as life takes them in different directions. In the case of Richard (Thomas Jane), Ron (Jeremy Piven), Jonathan (Rob Lowe), and Tim (Christian McKay), friendship endures and the group even meets on an annual basis. The four meet up once a year for a wild weekend of drinking, drugs, and sex, even now as they’ve aged into middle aged men. The weekend kicks off as expected, with partying first and foremost, but as time passes, things switch to a different track. The men begin to open up and talk about the old days, sharing memories of where they’ve been and where they thought they might be at this point. As emotions run high and all four engage in serious soul searching, will the reunion prove to be a more powerful experience than any of them expected?
I wasn’t sure what to expect from I Melt with You, but it proved to be a tight, highly personal film that deals with some potent issues. I’ve seen countless films that handle the issues of getting older, coping with life’s unexpected twists, and similar themes, but few pack the emotional punch of this movie. The film pulls no punches when it comes to the characters, as we’re shown the impact their choices have had. This leads to some sobering moments that hold your thoughts well after the credits have faded. The writing has an intense, personal edge, but also has a universal impact, with issues most viewers will be able to relate to on some level. The dialogue is simply razor sharp and concise, with an authentic texture that really draws you in and makes the experience seem very real. You don’t find films with this kind of intelligent, believable dialogue often, so kudos to the writers here.
As the film is driven by dialogue, the atmosphere is a personal one and has a focused environment. With all the emphasis placed on the cast and their performances, the pressure had to be immense. But the cast rose to the occasion and then some, with perfectly tuned efforts that make the most of the writing. And talk about a stacked cast, this one has Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, Carla Gugino, Rob Lowe, Arielle Kebbel, and even Sasha Grey in on deck. The casting choices are spot on as well, especially in regard to the four male leads, who seem ideal for their roels. When you take skilled writing and give it to skilled performers, the result is simply magical at times. This is not a film about flash and has a minimalist approach, but it works to perfection and lets the focus remain where it should be. So if you enjoy well written, well performed films that aim for an authentic, personal experience, I Melt with You will not disappoint.
Video: How does it look?
I Melt with You is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen. The transfer is quite good, though limited somewhat by the digital sources used. This presents a minor downgrade in terms of overall depth and detail, but the movie still looks good. The image shows off natural colors and contrast, which suits the visual tone of the movie, while detail is well above what you’d find on a standard DVD. So some slight concerns, but they’re inherent to the source and as such, it is hard to complain.
Audio: How does it sound?
The film’s dialogue driven soundtrack is well handled by this DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 option. The track isn’t going to dazzle you, but it sounds good. The vocals come across in clear, clean fashion and rarely suffer any problems whatsoever. The few instances that do stand out are related to production limitations and even then, you’ll just need to adjust the volume a shade. In other words, this mix isn’t going to replace your current home theater demo disc, but it covers the needs of the material and ensures the movie sounds good. This disc also includes English and Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
A pair of audio commentaries start us off, each headed up by director Mark Pellington. The first features the director and two cast members, while the second is Pellington with the co-writer and cinematographer. So two sessions, each with a unique perspective on the production. This allows a wide range of topics to be discussed and a wealth of information to be shared. The extras also include deleted scenes, cast interviews, a couple of promotional featurettes, poster artwork and still galleries, and several of the film’s theatrical trailers.