Manchester by the Sea – the dramatic telling of a story of Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck – Triple 9, The Finest Hours), depressed uncle to Patrick (Lucas Hedges). When Lee’s brother Joe (Kyle Chandler), passes away suddenly from a heart attack, Lee is named Patrick’s guardian.
With all the buzz surrounding the films many wins, including Oscars for best actor for Casey Affleck and best screenplay, and with all the controversy that then surround Affleck’s win and accusations by females on set, it is debatable if the film is deserving of all the attention. It meanders along at a leisurely pace, instilling a feeling that is perhaps akin to the emotion experienced by Lee Chandler himself, brought on by his dreary life, death of his brother, estrangement from his family, and the sudden responsibility thrust upon him.
The plot is rather straight forward, and the story contained, taking us on a journey of the lead characters self-discovery, and the battle of emotions within him, and between the other characters. In so doing, it does lay down the gauntlet and invites the viewer to reflect on their own situation as Lee reaches points in the story where there is pause to decide on which is best for him and which is best for family, in several rather large decisions.
Manchester by the Seas does contain a rather talented cast, yet it is a slightly subjective topic as to whether this is really a must see film. It does fall on the side of art house, and in many instances was presented as such during its initial release. Looking for its own ground in which to plant roots, it flounders slightly in the no-man’s land of great artistic vision, and engrossing story line. Perhaps trying a little too hard to be a masterpiece, and loosing a little along the way.
An engrossing story, drawn out a little too much by artistic indulgence. Manchester by the Sea is one that is likely to find a certain audience that will enjoy it, but is in danger of missing the mainstream home entertainment audience.
Overall, the disc is of a decent technical quality, although lacking in access to some audio options. The main feature might be one of personal taste, but content-wise there is nothing other than the film on this disc.
Manchester by the Sea is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.
Video is encoded at a high average bitrate. There are no visible artefacts on screen. Colours are vibrant where relevant, with detail maintained in darker scenes. There is no perceivable colour bleed.
Viewers with the relevant hardware or software can scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.
Audio is encoded at a high average bitrate, and presented in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 options. Dialogue is clear via the centre channel, with most of the audio weight carried by the front channels. Given the nature of the film, and its genre, there is not a large amount of use for the surround channels.
Navigation is simple, on a static main menu, with background music. There are options to play the main feature, and select scenes.
There is no option to select subtitles or preferred audio soundtrack on the main menu, which is inconvenient, in the least.
The scenes sub-menu contains four small, colour, motion thumbnails. While these are numbered, they are not labelled, and so an amount of guesswork would be needed to navigate to a specific point in the film.
There are no bonus features on the disc, except for trailers for Collide, Gold, and the game Lego Worlds. These autoplay at the beginning of the disc, but can not be accessed again via the menu. They can be skipped individually, or fast-forwarded.