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Tara Miele
Sienna Miller, Diego Luna, Beth Grant
Writing Credits:
Tara Miele

New parents Adrienne and Matteo are forced to reckon with trauma amidst their troubled relationship.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 2/9/2021

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Tara Miele
• “Narrative Therapy” Featurette


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Wander Darkly [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 18, 2021)

Director Tara Miele’s most prominent work to date came on DC TV series Batwoman and Arrow. With 2020’s Wander Darkly, she takes on a feature, one that comes from her own screenplay.

Unmarried couple Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna) are new parents. However, this doesn’t unify them, as instead they find themselves on the verge of a breakup.

Along the way, they suffer from a traumatic car accident. This event causes major upheaval.

We call that a vague plot synopsis, partly because more information might risk spoiler territory. Some of the film’s story branches into areas that could force me to divulge information that should remain secret.

In addition, Darkly doesn’t come with the world’s most easily synopsized story. More experiential than plot-focused, the movie doesn’t always lend itself toward a tidy summary.

At its heart, Darkly provides a relationship story, one that concentrates largely on flashbacks. A lot of this falls into “he said, she said” territory, albeit with that twist I feel reluctant to mention.

The narrative curveball gives Darkly an unusual spin, but I don’t think it really works. The plot device often feels more like a distraction than a necessary component, as it creates questions in the viewer’s mind that don’t particularly help with the overall story.

If we ignore those elements, Darkly becomes a fairly solid relationship examination. We’ve seen plenty of tales of this sort over the years, as disgruntled partners work their way through issues, so it becomes difficult to do anything fresh.

I guess the aforementioned twist acts as an attempt to differentiate Darkly from the rest of the pack. As I noted, I don’t think it helps, but the core narrative seems reasonably involving, if not revelatory.

It helps that our leads do well. Miller and Luna create a natural couple and they bring a good sense of realism to their relationship.

All this would still work better without the M. Night Shyamalan vibe the movie pursues. Darkly becomes a sporadically engaging drama that loses some points due to its self-conscious stabs at cleverness.

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

Wander Darkly appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a very good image.

Sharpness was fine. A few shots could be a little soft, but the majority of the flick came across as accurate and concise.

I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes were absent. No source flaws materialized either.

Colors were positive, as the movie opted for a subdued palette much of the time that favored amber and teal. A few shots went with warmer hues but this was the dominant impression. Within those stylistic choices, the tones appeared good.

Blacks were dark and deep, and low-light shots exhibited nice clarity. Across the board, this became a positive transfer.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Darkly, it offered an experience typical of dramas, as the soundfield displayed an emphasis on the forward channels. Music showed nice stereo imaging and moved the songs and score to the back speakers.

Most of the effects tended toward environmental material, though a few sequences added some involvement, such as those in traffic or a scene on the water. Nonetheless, the majority of the mix stayed dialogue-intensive and without real theatrics.

Audio quality came across as good. Speech seemed natural and distinct, and I noticed no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Music was reasonably full, with clear tones overall.

Effects were accurate and concise, without distortion or other concerns. Nothing here excelled, but the audio was fine for a drama like this.

A few extras appear, and we get an audio commentary from writer/director Tara Miele. She provides a running, screen-specific look at the project’s inspirations, story and characters, sets and locations, music, cast and performances, production design, cinematography and related areas.

Miele provides a solid commentary here. She gets into all the appropriate categories and moves the track along at a good pace, factors that turn this into a satisfying examination of the film.

Except she claims Billy Joel is better than Elton John. Wrong!

Narrative Therapy runs 15 minutes, 45 seconds and offers info from Miele, producers Lynette Howell Taylor, Samantha Housman, Monica Levinson and Shivani Rawat, and actors Sienna Miller and Diego Luna.

“Therapy” discusses the movie’s inspirations and story/characters, cast and performances, Miele’s work on the set, photography and production design and editing.

While “Therapy” goes over a lot of ground, it tends to feel superficial. Expect a lot of praise for the project and those involved and not a ton of concrete info.

As a basic relationship drama, Wander Darkly does well for itself. However, its attempts to go for something quirky hamper it. The Blu-ray comes with pretty good picture and audio as well as a small complement of bonus materials. I admire the film’s ambition but a more straightforward approach would work better.

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