When a child goes missing, Officer John Koski (Jon Voight) is the man to call. He has an affinity for abduction cases...and a somewhat loose sense of morality when it comes to making sure justice is served. His superior officer, Jack Musker (Dermot Mulroney), is usually there to take the heat in the interest of greater good, but it's clear that John's remaining days with the force are limited. With controversy hanging over his head, John takes on what may be his last case: the abduction of Amy (Chloe Leslie), a 7-year-old girl whose mother happens to be Jack's sister, Sarah (Teri Polo).
There aren't many places to go in the "tired cop takes one last case" or the "abducted child" crime genres. Beyond's addition of a psychic to the formula is nothing particularly new (everything from Minority Report to "The Closer" has touched on this concept), but it does give the picture a tiny amount of energy. While John goes through his routine tracking suspects, Sarah takes the unconventional route of bringing in a TV psychic, Farley Connors (Julian Morris) to assist in finding Amy. Not surprisingly, Farley and John clash, with Farley having to work overtime combating John's deep skepticism.
Voight's performance as Koski is professional, but not much more. He gives enough of an effort to avoid embarrassing himself, but not enough to give Koski a personality. His best scene is also the last scene of the movie, sending the viewer out with a good impression of his work without much effort on his part. Morris is better, making Connors seem earnest without making the character, his special ability, or his belief in otherworldly forces seem overwrought or silly. Mulroney falls in between, shading his simplistic character with a touch more nuance than Voight, and Polo is forced to bring up the rear with a genuinely useless character -- I can't imagine what anyone could've done to make Sarah seem interesting. I guess without the domestic drama between Sarah and her husband Jim (Ben Crowley), Beyond wouldn't be 90 minutes long, so in it goes.
Much like Voight, director Josef Rusnak (The Thirteenth Floor) offers workmanlike direction that's never confusing or frustrating, but is also not stylish or memorable. Blue filters to accentuate the movie's snowy setting are the order of the day, while Rusnak handles Connors' visions with a routine mix of visual effects, editing, and sound design. I admit, there are times when the film works okay (some of the scenes where Connors looks for clues in Amy's room are effective), but knowing how to direct a scene and caring about it are two different things. It's hard to picture the director selection process for direct-to-video product like Beyond, but it seems clear that Rusnak was the safest choice, and he delivers fully on that promise, both in terms of completing the picture and the artistic effort. I'm sure the film came in on time and under budget, but it has no fingerprint or defining directorial characteristics whatsoever.
Beyond will likely sell a few Blu-Rays, score a number of Redbox rentals, and finally settle down to a short future as a free movie on digital cable, or something that plays on TBS in the 3AM block. To watch the film is not a frustrating experience, just a passive one. The film held my interest here and there, but contributes nothing of meaning to my entertainment diet. Many filmmakers feel a need to always have a ball in the air until something better comes along. If that's not the motto that Beyond was founded on from script to screen, I don't know what is.
The Beyond artwork comes from the "generic big faces" school of design, with the movie's three "names" spread out in a montage that tells the viewer almost nothing about the movie. At least the blue the artwork is drenched in is representative of the final film. The disc is packed into a standard eco-Blu-Ray case (the kind with holes punched into it), and there is no insert.
The Video and Audio
This 2.35:1, 1080p AVC presentation appears to be an accurate representation of the film's intended look. Fine detail and clarity is excellent at all times, with a nice sense of depth in many shots; colors are vivid and well-rendered (if intentionally angled toward "dark" and "blue"); and I didn't notice any banding/posterization or artifacting during the movie's numerous dark scenes. Contrast may be a little overcooked, but I have no reason to believe based on the look of the rest of the film that this is unintentional.
A Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track does a good job with the movie's many "vision" sequences, which rumble and whoosh through the subwoofer and all speakers. The rest of the film may not have much to offer other than the movie's sparse score and a few gunshots, but, like the video, it sounds crisp and accurate. No complaints, sound-wise. English captions for the deaf and hard of hearing and Spanish subtitles are also included.
None. A trailer for The Divide plays before the main menu.
Beyond is decidedly generic entertainment. Even though it doesn't make any serious mistakes or missteps, there's also nothing special about it; this is assembly-line entertainment to its very core. Viewers that see Beyond won't remember anything about it a day later, so why bother? Skip it.
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