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Image Entertainment presents
The Secret (Blu-ray) (2007)

"I've looked into 15 pairs of eyes today, but my day doesn't begin til I've looked into yours."
- Dr. Benjamin Marris (David Duchovny)

Review By: Matt Serafini   
Published: September 19, 2008

Stars: David Duchovny, Lili Taylor, Olivia Thirlby
Other Stars: Mel Downey, Bruce Ramsay
Director: Vincent Perez

MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual reference; drug and alcohol use involving teens
Run Time: 01h:31:06s
Release Date: August 12, 2008
UPC: 014381507959
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D DC-C C-

DVD Review

The cover of Imageís The Secret implies some sort of sinister mystery. The ominous look and hush on Olivia Thirlbyís face certainly doesnít help matters, either. But for clarification purposes thereís nothing thrilling or mysterious about The Secret, a half-baked drama built around the old adage "if you walk a mile in my shoes."

Itís a remake of a Japanese film, Himitsu, and the premises sound identical: estranged mother and daughter suffer a fatal car accident. The motherís body dies but her conscious is transferred into the daughter (Olivia Thirlby). Of course, this wreaks all type of emotional hell on the father (David Duchovny) who has to contend with the sort-of loss of both his loved ones.

The Secret is a poor title for this film. Iíve no idea what Himitsu translates to in English, but surely they could've come up with something better for this English version. Possession, perhaps? Wait, that's the name of an upcoming Sarah Michelle Gellar film with the same premise (husband and best friend, this time) which, coinsidentally, is also a remake of an Asian drama. I didn't realize the reincarnation story was such a hot commodity in B-list Hollywood these days. Anyway, as much of a secret as we get here is the mother/daughter character trying to blend in with the youngest's social set in what can best be described as a dramatic rendition of Freaky Friday. Seriously. You see, the mother decides to continue her daughterís life uninterrupted and that means taking classes and hitting up parties. This leads to Duchovny's character running around like he's Tony Danza in She's Out of Control. Again, seriously. The unintentional hilarity culminates in an amazing scene where he bursts into a roomful of teenagers to rescue his wife/daughter from a potentially bad drug trip. At that point I couldn't say for certain if the script remembered that it was really the a 40 year old woman inside her teenager daughterís skin.

If this stuff sounds silly, it is. But itís also quite dull. David Duchovny is a solid performer who, more often than not, finds himself stuck with really lousy scripts. The Secret is no exception. It flirts with a bevy of interesting ideas but never seems them through to fruition. Take the moment where his his wifeóstill in the daughterís bodyóattempts to seduce him. Itís an uncomfortable bit, admittedly, but isnít it a believable one considering these circumstances? Wouldnít she eventually want the companionship of her husband again? Could he go through with it? We never find out because the idea is tossed out the window as quickly as itís introduced. It resurfaces later in reverse, when a possible relationship resurfaces between the daughter (mother) and an ex-boyfriend, but like everything else itís addressed and dismissed just as quickly.

And it's not like I'm carping on The Secret because it wasn't the movie I wanted it to be. It's because there was potential and instead of tapping it, it takes the dull and lifeless road. As a result good performances are wasted. Thirlby is especially good at juggling dual roles as mother and daughter and Duchovny generates a lot of sympathy for his tortured husband character. Sadly the film doesnít seem to know what to do with him, choosing to saddle him a trite thrid act romance thatósurpriseógoes nowhere.

Thatís the gist of The Secret. Itís all much ado about nothing. It plays everything safe and never reaches the emotional depths required to leave a lasting impression. A quick trip to the IMDb reveals that Himitsu has followers so I can only hope and assume that itís better than this rehash. As it stands, the most interesting thing about The Secret was learning it was directed by the guy that played the Crow in the (first) sequel.

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The Secret looks surprisingly bland on Blu-Ray. The image is clean, at least, but without any real detail or texture. Blacks are weak, almost gray, and paint the film in a washed-out look. Edges are soft and details absolutely refuse to pop. I'm not suggesting ever Blu-Ray has to be a demo disc, but the image quality here is as boring as the film's content. I'll go so far as to say it's hardly high definition. The transfer may be suitable for SD, but it's a whopping disappointment on Blu-Ray.

Image Transfer Grade: C-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
DTSEnglish HD 5.1yes


Audio Transfer Review: This is a fairly soft-spoken film so the DTS Master presented here doesn't have much to do. Dialogue is clean and clear although it occasionally comes in at inconsistent volumes. There are times when I had to adjust the levels accordingly. Party sequences bring the subwoofer to life balancing music and speech rather nicely. It's a serviceable track for a subdued film. Not terrible, just lifeless.

Audio Transfer Grade: C

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 21 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Featurette(s)
Packaging: standard Blu-ray packaging
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The Secret hits Blu-Ray with a handful of standard definition extras. First up is an eight minute behind-the-scenes bit which shows director Vincent Perez, Mr. Crow: City of Angels himself, on the set and directing the shoot. It's a throwaway piece which isn't terribly insightful. The most curious of parties might be interested to gleam a quick idea of what a movie shoot is like, but this is such a trivial bit its hardly worth featuring.

The only other feature is a 30 minute segment where the three main actors (Duchovny, Thirlby and Taylor) discuss the film and its 'deeper' meanings. Once again, there's not much on display here. I found Duchovny was likeable as ever, then found myself wishing this was a better film. These three conversations are fluffy, amounting to little more than a promotional piece. Nothing I'll ever sit through again.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

This below average effort isn't even worth a watch for fans of the cast. This Blu-Ray comes to you spouting a lackluster high definition presentation and a sparse bit of weak extra materials. If you've absolutely got to see The Secret give it a rent, but you'd have to be crazy to even consider wasting shelf space on this.

 


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