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André Øvredal
Nat Wolff, Priyanka Bose, Iben Akerlie
Writing Credits:
André Øvredal, Norman Lesperance, Geoff Bussetil

An American backpacker claims to possess supernatural powers.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 105 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 11/10/2020

• “Dark Hero” Featurette
• Previews


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Mortal [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 16, 2020)

A thriller with a supernatural twist, 2020’s Mortal takes us to Norway. There we meet Eric Bergland (Nat Wolff), a 20-something American who backpacks his way through this territory.

Matters complicate when Eric gets to a small Norwegian town. According to witnesses, some bizarre events connect to Eric, such as the death of a teen (Arthur Hakalahti) who simply touches him.

These matters lead authorities to arrest Eric, and in that situation, he meets with a psychologist named Christine Aas (Iben Akerlie). Eric claims he possesses bizarre powers, so Christine needs to separate truth from fiction.

All of that seems like a good premise for a comic book-style tale, and Mortal starts off in a reasonably promising matter. During its first act, the movie interests us with Eric’s abilities and concerns, elements that manage to draw us into the narrative in a moderate manner.

However, this opening proves to deliver nothing more than a tease, as Mortal quickly loses steam. Once Eric gets in police custody and meets Christine, the story goes off the rails and becomes an illogical mess.

Much of Mortal winds up as a “road movie” in which Christine tries to spirit Eric away from the authorities and help him cope with his abilities. This makes much of the tale a cat and mouse as they attempt to evade capture from a team led by Agent Hathaway (Priyanka Bose).

In a good film, this pursuit would create tension and drama. Here, however, the whole thing feels half-hearted and dull.

Much of Mortal revolves around the Eric/Christine relationship, one that inevitably turns romantic in a hurry. Why? Because the screenwriters can’t come up with anything more creative, I guess, so they fall back on cheap tropes.

That goes for the rest of the movie as well. Mortal often feels like an X-Men character origin story, and it finds little new or fresh to do with this material.

Eric just becomes a ball of angst without any other character traits, and Christine feels like a sap because she actively puts herself in harm’s way to be with Eric. As noted earlier, this plot trend exists simply due to screenwriter laziness, as I guess they couldn’t think of a way to develop the characters without a tacky, unmotivated romance.

As Mortal progresses, one might hope that it develops the roles or themes, but one will hope in vain, as it remains resolutely flat. The movie mixes ominous foreboding with spurts of action, none of which pack a punch.

I like that Mortal aspires to deliver more of a character-based tale of superpowers than the usual extravaganza. Unfortunately, the thin characters and dull “action” makes the end result a slow clunker.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

Mortal appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a solid presentation here.

For the most part, definition seemed strong. Although the occasional wide shot appeared a bit soft, most of the movie looked accurate and concise.

Jagged edges and moiré effects didn’t mar the presentation, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to appear.

In terms of palette, Mortal went with a standard amber and teal orientation, mainly oriented toward the latter. Within stylistic choices, the hues seemed well-depicted.

Blacks were dark and dense, and shadows gave us good clarity. I felt pleased with this transfer.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio, it offered a broad action movie soundscape when appropriate. This meant a mix of atmospheric elements along with some “big” moments at times.

Along with good stereo music, the soundfield was able to open things up in a satisfying manner that embellished the story. We got a good sense of rain and other natural elements along with a useful sense of the action elements, with some that worked really well.

Audio quality was always good. Music appeared full and rich, while effects demonstrated nice clarity and accuracy. Low-end appeared deep and rich.

Speech was natural and distinctive throughout the film. The mix used the speakers well and created a fine sense of the material.

Called Dark Hero, a featurette runs 23 minutes, 35 seconds and brings comments from writer/director André Øvredal and actors Nat Wolff, Iben Akerlie, Per Frisch, and Priyanka Bose.

“Hero” looks at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, photography and visual design, and various effects. Though not the deepest featurette, “Hero” manages enough useful info to make it worth a look.

The disc opens with ads for The Silencing, Vivarium and Guns Akimbo. No trailer for Mortal appears here.

A new take on superpowered characters, Mortal finds nothing creative to do with the material. Instead, the film becomes a slow, thin affair that feels like a collection of clichés. The Blu-ray brings strong picture and audio along with minor bonus materials. Mortal lacks much to make it succeed.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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