follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Paramount Studios presents
Permanent Record (1988)

"Chris, I wanted everything to be perfect. It wasn't."
- David Sinclair (Alan Boyce)

Review By: Robert Edwards   
Published: February 16, 2004

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alan Boyce, Michelle Meyrink
Other Stars: Jennifer Rubin, Barry Corbin, Lou Reed
Director: Marisa Silver

MPAA Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 01h:31m:36s
Release Date: February 17, 2004
UPC: 097363203940
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- C+CB- D-

DVD Review

Dramatizations of unexplained suicides are always tricky to do. There's a certain temptation to rely on scenes of hand-wringing and regret, as those left behind desperately try to put together the pieces and determine the cause of their loved one's departure. In Permanent Record, screenwriters Jarre Fees, Larry Ketron, and Alice Liddle, and director Marisa Silver, mostly avoid melodrama, and create a reasonably affecting film that has a certain ring of truth.

David Sinclair (Alan Boyce) has everything going for him. He's handsome and talented, has a no-strings-attached relationship with the attractive Kim (Pamela Gidley), and has just been accepted into the prestigious Atkinson Academy School of Music. Sure, he's under a little pressure, but what high school teen isn't? So it's a complete surprise to his best friend Chris (Keanu Reeves) when David leaves a party to take a walk, stands pensively looking out from some ocean-side cliffs, then disappears without a sound. As Chris gradually realizes what has happened, he goes from agitated to crazed, shouting out into the darkness.

Everyone assumes that David's death was an accident, but as the truth is gradually revealed, we watch their reactions and attempts to come to terms with the tragedy. Chris, and most of his fellow schoolmates, realize that the reasons behind David's suicide can never be determined, and that it's self-defeating to even attempt to do so. There's a moderate, balanced tone throughout most of the film, as Silver avoids scenes of emotional excess. The kids' lives go on—they worry about grades, Chris' band has to find a new practice space, and rehearsals for a performance of H.M.S. Pinafore occupy much of their time. Certainly, there are emotional outbursts, especially by Chris, but "big moments" are mostly avoided (except for an embarrassingly hackneyed finale), and the film as a whole seems to be more a slice of life rather than a dramatization of a life-changing event.

Silver, best known for 1991's He Said, She Said, and daughter of the better-known Joan Micklin Silver, directs with a steady hand, avoiding unnecessary flash and letting the characters speak for themselves. Apart from a few camera movements that encircle their characters, giving them a sense of isolation, she's mostly content to concentrate on functional framing and movement. Frederick Elmes' cinematography captures the mostly naturally-lit scenes in a realistic style, and the resultant image is dark and gloomy, reflecting the theme of the film. Performances range from merely okay (Jennifer Rubin as Lauren) to excellent (Barry Corbin in a small role as David's father). Surprisingly, Keanu Reeves is quite effective as Chris, his brooding punctuated by occasional anger. It's a fairly nuanced performance, which puts paid to the lie that Reeves is nothing more than a pretty face.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The unattractive transfer is excessively and distractingly grainy throughout. Black levels are good, but there are no gradations in the darker portions of the image. Colors never look natural, and there's some annoying edge enhancement present.

Image Transfer Grade: C


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The "Ultra-Stereo" sound is fairly good, with reasonable separation and surround activity. But it's limited in fidelity, and occasionally sounds harsh. The dialogue is sometimes difficult to decipher.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: English subtitles and a scene selection menu are included. Oh, and let's not forget the keepcase.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Marisa Silver's Permanent Record examines the aftermath of an unexplained teen suicide in a film that mostly avoids excessive melodrama. The transfer is grainy, and there are no extras.


Back to top

Microsoft Store

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store