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May 17, 2010
Nowhere Boy Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
None27/4/2010Icon FilmsSam Taylor-Wood
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MA15+Aaron Johnson

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Aaron Johnson as Lennon in Nowhere Boy.

There have been lots of films chronicling the life of Beatles Superstar John Lennon and we're sure there will be plenty more to come. One of the downfalls of just about all of these films is it is very difficult to chronicle the life of such a superstar in a 120 minute featurette. Well, Nowhere Boy instead focuses on John Lennon's teenage angst years from 1955-1958. This should mean that the script for Nowhere Boy was tightened and perfected. Instead, however, Nowhere Boy just ends up feeling like a very average film that has no real dedication to honouring the storyline of John Lennon.

We'll start with the script, which really needed a little more honing. It's fascinating learning about exactly what shaped John Lennon (played by Aaron Johnson) and some parts of the film are genuinely interesting. It is clear that Lennon's teenage years had a huge influence on him and at times the film does show a glimpse into Lennon that is surprising.

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Nowhere Boy focuses on John Lennon in 1955-58.
The film really focuses on the relationships that Lennon has with the two females in his life, his aunt Mimi and his mother Julia (played by Kirstin Scott Thomas). The film also covers the meeting of Lennon and Paul McCartney, it also shows how they developed a friendship. Lennon's relationship with his aunt Mimi (who is his legal guardian) is simply brilliant watching, though the relationship he has with his mother Julia is quite simply, disturbing.

The relationship is disturbing for many reasons. Firstly, Aaron Johnson and Anne-Marie Duff hardly seem like they are in a mother and son relationship. Aside from the fact they aren't 20 years apart (or even fifteen years apart) the whole film is filled with incestuous overtones. This makes the film quite uncomfortable to watch and we really cannot imagine going back and watching the movie again, specifically because it's not a comfortable film to watch.

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Practicing on the guitar.
We'll finish the review with this, a classic example of just how horrid the script can be at times. Towards the end of the movie Lennon is asked by his aunt to remind her of the name of his ‘new band'....... Now, if this just isn't the worst, most unnecessary line to include in the film, then no line is.

The video quality of Nowhere Boy on Blu-Ray isn't too bad, however the lighting is a little off at times. My PlayStation 3 sat above 30Mbps at all times in the AVC MPEG-4 encoded film. There is a little bit of grain, but this is only occasional. Overall, the transfer is solid, if not spectacular.

The disc includes a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track, as well as a Dolby Digital 2.0 track and a commentary from the director. The music in the film is very good too, the director has resisted the temptation to go overboard on Beatles songs, which means the music doesn't seem overdone.

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Singing in the studio.
Nowhere Boy is presented on Blu-Ray with a few extras so here we go...

Making of Nowhere Boy Feature (8:34): This is a making of featurette, which is quite interesting, but rather short. It's also presented in standard definition, which is disappointing.

Lennon's Liverpool (4:04): This featurette contains an interview with the screenwriter, who talks about the difficulty of making sure Lennon milestones get representation in the film.

Anatomy of a Scene "That's When I Stole Him" (12:29): This featurette takes a look at a specific scene in the film and contains interviews with the cast and production team on the creation of the scene.

Extended Interview with Sam Taylor-Woods (10:17): This is pretty self explanatory and is a bit of a self promotion video.

The Recreation of Lennon and the Quarrymen (8:10): This special feature also looks at creating a famous scene and how it was done.

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Lennon gets up close and personal.
As well as all these features there is also an audio commentary from the director, a photo gallery, a Theatrical Trailer available for viewing, as well as a nine minutes of Deleted Scenes which are introduced by the director. Despite the fact that there are a few extras we have trouble awarding the extras too many marks, simply because all the videos are presented in standard definition and none of them are lengthy at all.

Nowhere Boy is a film that's really only worth watching if you're a big John Lennon film and even then we'd recommend just watching the film once, as that will certainly be enough.

Review By: Luke Van Leuveren


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Icon Films. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.