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August 8, 2009
The Last Word Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
None24/6/2009Eagle EntertainmentGeoffrey Haley
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD MA 5.1MA15+Winona Ryder
Wes Bentley

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Ray Romano and Wes Bentley.

Never heard of The Last Word. That's probably not surprising as the movie wasn't released into cinemas in Australia (as far as we can tell), nor in America. So this direct-to-DVD release, but one which will generate interest if only for the three lead actors, Winona Ryder, Wes Bentley and Ray Romano, each of whom has a following.

Evan Merck (Wes Bentley) is an odd-but-gifted poet who makes his living writing suicide notes for the soon-to-be departed. One day, while attending the funeral of a client, Evan meets Charlotte (Winona Ryder) the free-spirited sister of the deceased. Blissfully unaware of Evan's true connection to her late brother, Charlotte becomes fascinated by the introverted writer and love blossoms between the unlikely pair. Evan finds himself juggling an ever-increasing mountain of lies, an amorous new girlfriend, and a sarcastic new client (Ray Romano).

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Winona Ryder in The Last Word on Blu-Ray.
Death is a topic which some people can pull fantastic laughs from, and others shy away from it like the plague. Having a movie about a person writing suicide notes isn't exactly one which inspires people to run out a "check this out as it could be fun" and indeed this movie isn't one which will have you falling over with fits of laughter. This is more of a dark comedy, with a dramatic tone.

The two lead actors, Winona Ryder and Wes Bentley, really do a solid job and they have a bit of chemistry together on screen as well. The interesting one in this picture is Ray Romano. Typically known for his comedic roles (and in particular his starring role on Everybody Loves Raymond) this role as a depressed musician looking to commit suicide is quite a departure. Despite his depressed state, the character is very much likable and still comes out with some great lines on occasion.

The Last Word as an interesting movie with an interesting storyline. Having said that the movie never reaches the peaks that one would hope for with a rather dramatic, rather then comedic, focus. With a talent such as Ray Romano there could have certainly been a few more laughs. Still, this is enjoyable and worth a look.

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Just waiting for the bus...
The Last Word comes to Blu-Ray encoded at 1.78:1 using the AVC MPEG-4 codec. This is a little odd the original theatrical version was presented in 2.35:1, as is the American Blu-Ray release according to all reports. This wider aspect ration matches the deleted scenes in the extras, so we're of the belief that the framing has been altered to suit the TV's in Australia. In any case, this is still an impressive film visually with plenty of outdoor scenes, and scenes in bright locations such as the cafe which look wonderful. At times though we felt that the level of noise and grain was a little inconsistent from scene to scene while some of the scenes did appear a little flat. Overall though this is another solid release from Eagle, even with the change of aspect ratio from the theatrical version.

The Last Word has been released on Blu-Ray with two audio options - a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and a Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 640kbps. This is a very much dialogue driven movie with some subtle music (besides a scene in a nighclub between 23:26 and 24:37 which while bassy lacks the "punch" which you would find in a real club) and few effects to really test out the audio tracks. While the DTS-HD Master Audio track is certainly a little clearer and sharper as expected there is no real reason to be disappointed with either track on this release.

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Ray Romano is brilliant in The Last Word.
There are no other languages on this disc but, more disappointingly, there are no subtitles either so if you're deaf, or require subtitles, you will probably want to give this release a miss.

Sadly there isn't too much by the way of extras on this disc. Just a couple of deleted scenes and some trailers which, given the impressive cast, is a bit disappointing.

Deleted Scenes (9:09): Six deleted scenes, most of them fairly short at around a minute with one exception, are presented here, and they are fairly impressive. Strangely these deleted scenes are presented in 2.35:1 and in Standard Definition which makes the aspect change from the DVD presentation somewhat confusing.

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Writing a death note in The Last Word.
Trailers (13:42): Trailers for The Aryan Couple, Dragon Hunter, The Union, Saving God, Lisa Williams and Forever Strong (the latter of which we have reviewed here and recommend). Sadly despite this being a Blu-Ray disc all these trailers are presented in Standard Definition.

Image Gallery: The name says it all really with this extra being a series of 40 still images from the movie and production.

The Last Word is a rather offbeat dark comedy/drama movie. I had no expectations upon starting the picture, but was fairly entertained by the end. A solid transfer makes this a disc worth checking out, at least as a rental.

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.