Gus Entertainment presents
Everything Put Together (2000)
Coroner: His heart stopped.
Angie: I know that. What I want to know is why.
Coroner: Why? That's the question, that's always the question.- Unknown, Radha Mitchell
Stars: Radha Mitchell, Justin Louis, Megan Mullally, Catherine Lloyd Burns
Other Stars: Alan Ruck, Michele Hicks, Matt Malloy, Jacqueline Heinze, Courtney Watkins, Mark Boone Jr., Blake Rossi
Director: Marc Foster
MPAA Rating: R for some language
Run Time: 01h:29m:16s
Release Date: 2002-04-09
DVD Review"Stop scaring me Angie." - Judith
I'll admit up front that I am obviously not the target audience for this movie. You would think that after viewing a film three times in a short period of time that one would figure out what it was trying to say. Such is not the case with Everything Put Together. The fundamentals of the story are plain enough to get hold of, but why they are present in the first place still baffles me.
Angie and Russ are your archetypal yuppies, happily married, living in the suburbs surrounded by a group of similar and like-minded couples. For Angie and her two best friends, this is a time of expectant motherhood, and their worlds revolve around all things Baby, from names to planning the nuseries for their new arrivals. Angie is even designated godmother for her friend's newborn. There is a familiar comradery in these people, all well off, heading into the next phase of their lives as parents, and things couldn't be more perfect. Even her routine physical checkup indicates everything is just fine. But of course, it isn't. Hours after delivering a healthy, perky baby, it unexpectedly dies. There is no explanation, other than a textbook recitation from the obstetrician on SIDS. Life in the suburbs just turned upside down.
After her husband and friends vacate the furniture from the baby room, Angie returns home, but rather than the circle of sympathy she expects from her friends, they instead turn their backs on her. She is suddenly alone, with even her husband unable to deal with her emotionally. She begins a downward spiral of depression and hallucinatory visions. Is her baby really dead? Why won't her friends talk to her anymore? She is cast adrift in a sea of emotional uncertainty, and everything that served as an anchor in her life is slipping away before her.
Shot on DV in just fifteen days, the look of this independent production is fairly rough. There is some creative camera work, which adds to the atmosphere, while other parts look very home movie-ish, with washed out backgrounds, shaky framing, or elements sliding out of focus. Despite its short running time, I found this dragging from the get go. Scenes of domesticity ramble on. The acting is decent enough throughout, but I found the character motivations a tough sell. Angie obviously has issues in her life, especially regarding her relationship with her mother, who is unusually distant for a grandmother-to-be. The reaction of her friends to her misfortune, while well meaning, wasn't that surprising, especially once we witness Angie's obvious unhinging.
The first third of the movie sets up the environment of the families, and when we finally get to the turning point, the film veers wildly off course into a series of events that, while perhaps mirroring the state of mind of its principle, were disorienting and inexplicable. In the commentary, director Marc Forster notes the number of metaphoric images used, none of which translated to my experience. At times it seemed to be turning into a horror flick (using pretty cliché setups), at others a psychological thriller, but all the while these sideroads felt forced and unnatural, as though the viewer was expected to be complicit in the events somehow. While some may appreciate the style and direction this film takes, I don't know that the whole is better than the sum of its parts with Everything Put Together.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: I can only assume that the visual quality presented here is intended, as this is a director approved transfer. That said, there is a good deal of grain added (compared to the cut scenes in the supplements, which are given an anamorphic transfer, unlike the feature), density is variable and contrast and saturation levels fluctuate from shot to shot. Whites are often blown out, obscuring or eliminating highlights; in other scenes shadow detail is nonexistent. There is a lot of edge enhancement present, there is some aliasing and visible compression artifacts. While there may be stylistic reasoning behind the look, I found it distracting.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: Stereo audio is presented fairly well, given some limitations of the source audio. There are no real technical issues, however dialogue is sometimes hard to discern due to the location recording. The score is mixed effectively, broadening the soundfield.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Monster's Ball, Audition
4 Deleted Scenes
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by director Marc Forster on track 1, Radha Mitchell, Megan Mullally and Sean Furst on track 2
Extras Review: The first impression is of the stylish and subdued motion menus, which mirror the package design.
There are two audio commentary tracks: the first, from director Marc Forster, covers many of the technical, philosophical and stylistic elements of the film. The second track features stars Radha Mitchell and Megan Mullally, along with producer Sean Furst. Topics are varied covering aspects of the shoot, preparation, and the challenges of independent filmmaking.
There are four deleted scenes included, and all but the last—which is solely actress Megan Mullally, who does all four—have multiple commentary tracks. Three feature commentary by director Marc Forster, one with Sean Furst. Oddly, these are presented in anamorphic widescreen, and look considerably better than the feature, with less edge enhancement, richer colors, and more detail. Location sound is sometimes noisy.
Trailers for the feature, Monster's Ball, and Audition are present, as is an 8 minute featurette on the history of the Egyptian Theatre.
Extras Grade: B-
Final CommentsWhile I personally did not connect with this film, Gus Entertainment has done an admirable job for those who do, however I do question the anamorphic issue. Given a wealth of support material on this release, the package is thorough in its presentation, from stylish menus to well documented extras. Perhaps someday I'll understand what it's trying to say.
Jeff Ulmer 2002-08-02