Solace (2015) Blu-ray Review: Quantum of Bollocks

Anthony Hopkins stars in a four-year-old dud based off of a decades-old, rejected sequel to 'Se7en,' ineffectively re-written to rip-off the recently revoked 'Hannibal.'
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From its opening frame, Solace leaves one with an immediate impression similar to what you might experience were you to take a swig of discounted milk from a bargain market without checking its expiration date first. It feels old. It seems slightly off. The sour taste of Solace only grows worse as all of the the markings of incompetence are repeatedly stamped over it, much like the proverbial image of well-traveled early 20th century Rockefeller's well-worn luggage would sport numerous luggage labels from different parts of the world. Alas, Solace never gets off of the runway, as its director is clearly asleep at the wheel.

Worse still, the rest of the film's crew appear to be too tired to care, most notably the casting of a somnambulistic Jeffrey Dean Morgan (the other Brad Garrett), whose ability to recite dialogue while sleepwalking like that is most impressive. But it's not enough, especially when the viewer has to endure some of the worst photography in recent memory. You might expect to see "realistic" cinematography in, say, an action scene. Watching the tops of people's heads alternatively vanish and reappear as they do nothing more than stand and chat, however, makes one wonder if the individual hired to hold the camera was actually just a drunken spider monkey.

But those are just my minor gripes with Solace, kids. It gets worse. Imagine if the rejected script for a sequel to Se7en from the 1990s sat around gathering dust somewhere, only to be rediscovered and reworked into something else some 20 years later. Truth be told, that is precisely how Solace came into existence: beginning as a story entitled Ei8ht (I know, right?), wherein Brad Pitt's detective character would have gained psychic powers. Fortunately, before the brave souls who pitched this concept could have said "Stop me when this starts to sound entirely too silly," they were silenced by David Fincher. The script was shelved; the sequel, dropped.

Thus, for a period of almost two complete decades ‒ a duration of time we can now safely refer to as a "Quantum from Solace" ‒ humanity was spared from the agony of what surely would have been a dumb movie even by late '90s standards. Sadly, all good things come to an end, and a few months after a certain infamous creation of Thomas Harris received a dark and gritty reboot on NBC in 2013, the rejected, reworked tale now known as Solace finally went into production. In fact, were I to return to one of my previous mixed metaphors and Solace became a piece of luggage, its biggest label would read "Hannibal."

It is there that Solace's only twist of note falls into place: the casting of its lead actor (and, not surprisingly enough, associate producer), Sir Anthony Hopkins. As a psychic named John Clancy (because giving him the name "Tom Grisham" would probably have been too obvious, I guess), Sir Anthony ‒ the one and only living actor who can appear in total garbage and still walk away with dignity and respect ‒ becomes the Will Graham character of this offering, being called in by FBI man Jeffery Dean Morgan to assist in tracking down a serial killer who has been dispatching various types of extras who blink when they're playing dead, presumably because he's not really fully awake.

Like the various fictional worlds featuring the real Hannibal Lecter, Hopkins' Clancy is able to perceive into the mind of the killer in question; a disturbing characteristic of his advanced mental abilities, which vary in style depending on how artsy the movie decides it needs to be. Alas, Brazilian director Afonso Poyart is more obsessed with trying to impress us with his own abilities. To this extent, Poyart's constant, usually bloody cutaways and flashy visuals only made me to wonder if the inexperienced filmmaker thought he was making a series of custom YouTube music videos and catchy thirty-second promos for a TV show intended for a lesser cable network somewhere off in some English-friendly country.

In fact, Solace has the very same feeling of the sort of television series it refuses to accept it is a blatant ripoff of (to say nothing of a shot lifted wholesale from The Usual Suspects). Ultimately, it feels like a three-season TV series was shot back-to-back, canceled before it had a chance to air, then ineptly re-cut into a feature-length film. When a major character is mortally wounded around the 65-minute mark, their pending demise is so poorly edited and explained, we don't fully realize they are dying until they have actually died. Nor do we care. Not only does it seem like the bulk of an entire story arc was snipped out, it's like a shark-jumping shift in the series, wherein it goes from being slightly believable to purely fantastical rubbish was omitted, too.

And then there's our serial killer himself, Colin Farrell, still trying regain his dignity and respect since committing to hamming it up (big time) in that disastrous 2003 big-screen adaptation of Marvel Comics' Daredevil. Here, Mr. Farrell is once again somewhat generous with the ham portions, particularly when Senhor Poyart permits him to stare into the camera at great length during his many pretentious shots. Indeed, while Hopkins and Farrell are among Solace's short list of performers who put in a little effort when their director doesn't have a clue, it's simply not enough to sustain any entertainment value, and the various gory moments spliced in-between merely come off as cheap shots at even cheaper shocks.

Trance recording artist BT provides the unmemorable score for this dud, which also features the mostly wasted talents of Abbie Cornish, Marley Shelton, Xander Berkeley, and, perhaps most notably, a model named Luisa Moraes, whose fully nude scene is the one true (if fleeting) highlight here. Appropriately, Solace debuted theatrically in Turkey a good two years after production wrapped in the US. And now, nearly two years after that, having sat on the proverbial shelf of several studios/distributors (the film's initial production company went belly-up ‒ go figure), Solace receives a somewhat low-key home video release in North America courtesy Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

As far as the Blu-ray transfer of Solace goes, it looks quite nice ‒ providing you can pay attention to the film enough to explore the detail. Presented in a widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio, the release is accompanied by an English DTS-HD 5.1 MA soundtrack. English (SDH), Spanish, and French subtitles are also included, with the short list of special features consisting of an audio commentary with director Afonso Poyart, a behind-the-scenes/making-of featurette, and a small gathering of previews for other direct-to-video wonders. A Digital HD copy of the film is also included with this Blu-ray release, which ‒ as I'm sure you may have deduced by now ‒ is not worth anyone's time in my opinion.

Avoid it.

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