Far from the Apple Tree DVD Review: Amazing Visuals Upgrade an Average Story

In Grant McPhee’s Far from the Apple Tree, Judith (Sorcha Groundsell) is a visual artist who is given the opportunity of her dreams: she lands an internship with the enigmatic artist Roberta Roslyn (Victoria Lidelle). Judith will be expected to live with Roberta at her creepy house out in the woods and catalog all of Roberta’s work. When Judith has free time, she is expected to let her own art take her where it will, and, ultimately, will finish her work at Roslyn’s by presenting a first showing of her own work.

What has fallen far from the apple tree is Roberta Roslyn’s daughter, Maddy (also Sorcha Groundsell), who has disappeared or died depending on who is telling the story. Judith becomes obsessed with Roberta’s daughter and begins to be artistically motivated and challenged by the missing Maddy.

Far from the Apple Tree was apparently made independently from beginning to end to keep producers from allowing McPhee to accomplish his vision. McPhee claims that no VFX were used during the filming which will become immediately stunning to the viewer considering how many different and interesting, and seemingly visual-effects-ridden shots that there are. Judith is a woman on the verge of a breakdown and this comes through quite clearly cinematically because of McPhee’s innate good sense in direction, cinematography, and editing.

Well acted and beautifully shot, it is the screenplay that has the unfortunate task of pulling down the entire movie. The questions become quickly obvious: Is Maddy alive or dead? Will Maddy return? Will Judith become Maddy? Is Judith Maddy? The movie is great at asking questions but forgets to take the time to answer any.

Bonus Features:

  • Still Selection – various stills from the movie
  • Official Trailer
  • Deleted Scenes – twelve minutes of deleted scenes
  • Interview with Roberta – eight minute extended scene from the movie
  • Maddy, Maddy, the Painter’s Daughter – short film that is mostly incorporated into the feature length Far from the Apple Tree
  • Aberration by Roberta – short film created by the fictional artist, Roberta, in Far from the Apple Tree
  • Appearance / Disappearance – a demonstration of how two of the in-camera effects were created
  • Bitter Sweet – music video
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Greg Hammond

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