"Your Friends and Neighbors" provides an interesting comparison to another movie that I have seen recently, "Hurlyburly". In "Hurlyburly", we were confronted with ugly Hollywood outsiders doing their thing, trying to talk themselves alive again, trying desperately not to be lost in the sea of people just like them who live in Hollywood. "Your Friends and Neighbors" is the second film by Neil Labute, director of "In The Company Of Men", the wildly mean-spirited independent film that took the nation by suprise recently.
In "Men", the two characters were simply mean at a pure, base level. They were not using their cofidence to hide a scared inside. There are elements of that film that are so purely mean that they became unreal. For "Your Friends And Neighbors", Labute has constructed a more down-to-earth, but no less mean look at a group of couples who end up together, switch, and finally end up back where they started. It's a film where the characters talk and talk and talk. Not only are they afraid of not being noticed or losing attention, but moreover, you feel as if they are talking to hide their insecurities. They know they're flawed, but they don't want to hear it from anyone else.
The performances are quite good, from "Men"'s Aaron Eckheart to Ben Stiller and Jason Patric; the women are also excellent, especially Catherine Keener and Amy Brenneman. The most fascinating detail is the environment, though: how Labute has practically sectioned off a universe of his own for these characters to be let loose in, sort of an Anyplace, USA that frequently reflects the sort of basic, pale colors of the pale, basic emotions that these people are having, being completely and utterly selfish.
VIDEO: Polygram delivers with another solid transfer on "Your Friends And Neighbors", bringing the film's bare, minimal color palette to life in a clear, clean anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer. Colors are accurate, natural and nicely saturated- all the colors that the film presents, the sort of pale browns, whites and greens are presented naturally and cleanly. The image is well-defined as well, "Film-Like" and sharp, always clear. There are no instances of artifacts and no problems with the print such as scratches or blemishes. In all lighting levels the image remains strong; contrast is fine, black level is strong and detail is especially nice on this transfer. There is also a pan/scan version included- you select which version you want to watch in the main menu. What was so pleasing here was how clean the image was, no problematic elements whatsoever.
SOUND: Very basic, very dialogue driven. There are very few basic moments of music included that sound fine, but they're included few and far between(literally 4 minutes worth of music, according to the commentary). There are a few short instances of environmental detail during scenes in a restaurant or city where we get an idea of noises in the background, but it's all kept to a basic level, focusing on the dialogue, which sounds clear, natural and never compressed.
MENUS: Non-anamated film-themed menus.
Commentary Director Neil Labute and Producer Steve Golin have quite and interesting back and forth discussion for the film's length about the sort of choices that were made for the film's tone as well as the choices for the actors and also, quite interestingly, some information about the choices of props, sets and costumes(especially Ben Stiller's choice of constant Turtlenecks). The two talk throughout the commentary, only with a few short pauses. It's a sometimes funny, usually quite informative track that balances talk about the film itself and a lot of good information about the production itself, such as information about the short shooting time.
Trailers The trailer is included.