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May 24, 2009
The Air I Breathe Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
None7/1/2009 (Rental)
27/5/2009 (Retail)
Eagle EntertainmentJieho Lee
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1DTS-HD MA 5.1MA15+Brendan Fraser

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Brendan Fraser, Emile Hirsch in The Air I Breathe.
How is it that you can release a movie with a cast including Brendan Fraser, Andy Garcia. Forrest Whitaker, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kevin Bacon and Emile Hirsch and only manage a total gross in America of $US25,000? It's quite incredible and while we'll certainly admit this movie isn't the best we've ever seen, it deserved to do much better.

Forever linked together by ruthless crime boss Fingers (Andy Garcia) and a series of unpredictable twists of fate, the characters of The Air I Breathe weave together in an existential study in luck, both good and bad. Director Jieho Lee divides this vast tale into four distinct threads: a timid businessman (Forest Whitaker) bets his life on a horse race after he discovers the fix is in; a fragile pop star (Sarah Michelle Gellar) finds her management contract unexpectedly in jeopardy; a gangster (Brendan Fraser) who sees the future must decide whether to follow his visions; and a doctor (Kevin Bacon) tries to save the love of his life from a deadly injury.

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Kevin Bacon in The Air I Breathe.
Credit must go to writer and first time director Jieho Lee who does an admirable job of threading the separate storylines between each other and then linking them all up towards the conclusion of the movie. Acting all round is pretty good with special mention to Sarah Michelle Gellar who certainly plays one of her better roles as the pop star Trista. Brendon Fraser is an actor we love for his entertaining roles in movies such as The Mummy trilogy, Encino Man (yes, we don't mind this movie!), and Blast from the Past. Playing a mobster who can see into the future in this movie is a bit of a change for him, and he seems a little more wooden then normal with little emotion, but that's his role and the other actors certainly liven up the picture.

I've watched The Air I Breathe three times now, twice on its own, and again with the commentary track and it is a movie that holds up fairly well, and indeed the second viewing seems to make more sense as you know the characters and the timeline. Much like The Usual Suspects or Pulp Fiction we would suggest this movie has some longevity with repeat viewings offering a chance to link up more of the events.

The Air I Breathe comes to Blu-Ray with the typical 1920x1080p resolution in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1 which will fill your widescreen TV, Unfortunately the video quality is a bit variable. First, the good... The bitrate usually hovers between 20 and 25Mbps which means that compression artifacting is kept to a minimum with good colours and shadow detail. The image is, at times, quite sharp as one would expect with the Blu-Ray format.

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Andy Garcia is brilliant as usual.
There were some issues with this transfer however. At 26:09 the picture seemed to skip about half a second of footage - we're not sure if that's an error with our disc, or the mastering, but it was there. At times the picture seemed to pulsate with a light strobing effect. It's minor, but evident. Finally we felt that there was an inconsistent level of grain from scene to scene. When you put this all together the end result is a less then stellar presentation.

As with Eagle Entertainment's other Blu-Ray discs we've reviewed to date there is only a single audio track on this disc - a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Despite being a fairly low budget movie (We assume), the sound quality, and sound mix here is very impressive. There is ample use of surround sound channels and also the sub-woofer with some great music used throughout the movie to set the tone, and storyline. Dialogue, including Ving Rhames' deep voice come across crystal clear.

There are no other languages on this disc but, more disappointingly, there are no subtitles either so if you're deaf, you will probably want to give this release a miss.

So let's get onto the extras on this disc. But I must point out something first. On the back of the case there is a list of extras including Commentary, Theatrical Trailer Outtakes and Deleted Scenes. Then we also have The Dreams, Living in the Present, Tony and The Check-up which I thought were extras as well - they're not - they're actually the name of the four deleted scene. It makes it seem that there's a lot more here then there actually is so beware.

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Finding peace with the butterfly.
Audio Commentary: This mildly interesting commentary which includes the director and co-writer Jieho Lee, co-writer Bob DeRosa, director of photography Walt Lloyd and editor Robert Hoffman. There is quite a bit of information regarding the making of this film, and where many of the ideas came from. Not overly lively or entertaining, it remains interesting.

Outtakes (2:08): A series of short outtakes and goofs from the set. Fun, but short.

Deleted Scenes (5:10): Four deleted scenes are presented here (The Dreams, Living in the Present, Tony and The Check-up) which are interesting, but pretty poorly presented in Standard Definition with DD2.0 audio.

Trailers (8:22): Trailers for Finding Amanda, The Lost, Far North, and Autumn Hearts.

The Air I Breathe is an interesting movie with some solid performances from a list of well known actors. Visually, the transfer isn't the best, meerly acceptable, while the audio is better. Worth a rent if you're a fan of the actors with Sarah Michelle Geller the stand out in the movie.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Eagle Entertainment. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.