Dr. Wren Petersen, director of an international relief organization, and Dr. Miguel Leon, a doctor in the field, meet and fall in love while providing care to refugees in war-torn Africa. Against impossible odds and in brutal conditions, they administer aid to whomever they can while constantly facing the danger of raiding parties and militants intent on recruiting young children into their ranks. Despite becoming separated when Wren accepts an office post, they reconnect 10 years later to find their feelings are as strong as ever.
2016, Color, Rated R, 2 Hrs 10 mins
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem
Directed by Sean Penn
Movies are made for many reasons. Entertainment is the primary inspiration but sometimes, film-makers are more concerned with sending a message and evoking an emotional response. The Last Face is clearly the latter. The depiction of human suffering is far beyond anything one would see in most violent movies. Wren and Miguel work tirelessly to help as many people as their limited resources will allow. In the midst of these brutal conditions, they still manage to find time for a soap-opera-style relationship. While the message here is loud and clear, the love story doesn’t really add much to the equation.
The film gets off to a confusing start with a series of flashbacks. Once the viewer pieces things together, the story remains in the present with romance moving to the background. Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem deliver stellar performances, clearly inspired by the horrible reality of the subject material. At times, they are a little too subtle with dialog that is extremely hard to hear and understand. But for the most part, they carry the movie brilliantly as it makes its way to a satisfying conclusion. If you want to remind yourself how good you have it, watch this Blu-ray. It truly is an eye-opener.
The image is beyond reference-quality, which is even more impressive considering that it doesn’t rely on computer-generated effects. Color is richly saturated with stunningly warm tones that never stray from their natural state. Lighting is done to perfection which affords tremendous contrast and crisp detail.
Audio is superb in every aspect but dialog. Many scenes are mixed at a very low level which makes the actors difficult to understand. Most material is dynamic with a few instances of bombastic explosions and gunfire during intense battles. Music strikes a good balance between lush orchestral interludes and simple melodies played on a solo guitar.
Only a single making-of featurette is included, called Picturing The Last Face.