Director: Derek Cianfrance
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz
Release Date: January 24, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Lighthouse keeper Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) and radiant, spirited Isabel (Alicia Vikander) live together in married bliss on a remote, rugged island off the coast of Australia. But their windswept world is turned upside down when Isabel learns that she’s unable to bear a child. One day, a drifting lifeboat washes ashore with a crying baby in it. The dilemma the couple now face will echo far beyond the island, engulfing and irrevocably impacting their world — and that of a stranger (Rachel Weisz) — in a passionate story about love, hope, and a fateful choice. Get swept away by this stunning film, with an exclusive bonus Audio Commentary that will pull you deeper in.
Based on the bestselling novel of the same name, ‘The Light Between Oceans’ takes viewers back to a simpler time many decades prior and tells the heartfelt story of a an ex-soldier turned lighthouse keeper named Tom Sherbourne (Fassbender) looking to find some quiet and peace with a less violent job following his return from the war. Quickly after accepting the job of lighthouse keeper on an uninhabited island near a small community he meets the beautiful Isabel Graysmark (Vikander) and the two promptly marry. After moving out to the island together as man and wife, the couple soon discovers that they seem to be incapable of childbirth. Therefore when a random rowboat mysteriously arrives on the island carrying a deceased man and a crying infant, the two immediately begin to raise her as their own. As the child they have cared for as their own continues to grow and the three live their peaceful life in solitude, once a local story of loss with unavoidable similarities that can’t be mere coincidence reaches Tom’s ear, the couple are faced with a painful choice that has the potential to destroy more lives than simply their own.
Directed by talented filmmaker Derek Cianfrance (Blue Velvet, The Place Beyond The Pines) from a script he also penned which was based upon the acclaimed novel by M.L. Stedman respectively, Cianfrance does a wonderful job at the helm of ‘The Light Between Oceans’ guiding the film along with a true passion and beauty. It also owes a fair share of the credit to the talented folks who comprise the cast and really make it work quite so well, including Michael Fassbender (Prometheus), Alicia Vikander (Ex-Machina), Rachel Weisz (The Fountain), Jack Thompson (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark), Thomas Unger (Hacksaw Ridge), Bryan Brown (Cocktail) and more, the majority delivering fantastic and spot on performances in each of their respective roles, especially Fassbender and Vikander who are spectacular together.
‘The Light Between Oceans’ is a remarkably beautiful film featuring plenty of visually stunning scenery and capturing aspects representative of the era with flawless detail, down to the clothes, accommodations and more. The beauty within certainly extends well beyond the physical tidbits, and the story itself offers a heartfelt exploration of love and difficult choices, showcasing the heartwarming and heartbreaking moments alike, and never shying away from the unsettling and somewhat depressing aspects of which there are certainly a good share. It’s undoubtedly important to concentrate on these elements considering the story itself largely focuses on such heartbreaking moments, but at the same time it can become somewhat overwhelming as it often concentrates much more on the painful moments than the uplifting ones; a necessary evil for certain but still a bit much to handle at times. Based upon the bestselling novel by M.L. Stedman, the film was written for the screen and directed by Derek Cianfrance who does a wonderful job carefully guiding the story along, and his guidance is only further complimented by the talented cast including Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, along with more who deliver stellar performances all around for the most part. ‘The Light Between Oceans’ is a gorgeous, emotionally powerful and impressively constructed story of love, hope and heartache, and I would strongly urge fans of the novel it’s based on and anyone who appreciates a romantic and at times painfully real film to be certain to give this one a watch when you have the opportunity do so, it should be well worth your time.
Overall, ‘The Light Between Oceans’ is a heartfelt, emotionally riveting and notably beautiful tale of love, struggle and difficult decisions that demand a resolution. Brimming with gorgeous scenery and a glorious recreation of decades prior, the sadder aspects can occasionally become overwhelming as the darkness of tone often greatly outweighs the light, yet as a whole it remains a well constructed and truly powerful, human story that is capably guided by director Derek Cianfrance, and boosted all the more by some fantastic performances from the talented cast. The film undoubtedly won’t be for everyone, yet I would definitely recommend ‘The Light Between Oceans’ to anyone who appreciates similar tales or enjoyed the book that serves as its basis.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Light Between Oceans’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks magnificent as a whole and delivers a sharp, detailed and gorgeous presentation from start to finish that captures the beautiful scenery and intricate details of the era spectacularly. It holds up impressively at every point, with no notable faults uncovered throughout its course. Overall, this is a splendid high definition video presentation that should easily thrill the fans and casual viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, sharp and surprisingly hard hitting audio presentation throughout. It regularly utilizes all seven available channels in order to fully immerse the viewer within the score, in addition to sending waves and violent rain crashing throughout which also allows the subwoofer a chance to really do its thing, plus some other fitting auditory elements making their way throughout the various speakers along the way; always making certain that any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously never becomes distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a fantastic 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that compliments the film wonderfully and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Light Between Oceans’ doesn’t include a great deal of supplemental material, but it does include a couple noteworthy extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Derek Cianfrance and Film Studies Professor Phil Solomon’, in addition to a couple of behind the scenes Featurettes which include behind the scenes footage, plus interviews/comments with the cast and crew and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Brining The Light To Life’ (running approximately 17 minutes in length), and ‘Lighthouse Keeper’ (running approximately 6 minutes).