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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Life Tracker (Blu-ray)
Life Tracker (Blu-ray)
Olive Films // Unrated // January 19, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted February 7, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

This independent, found-footage film poses some interesting questions about the future. Most important, would you want to know the exact date of your death? Shot cheaply with commercial video equipment, Life Tracker follows would-be documentarian Dillon Smith (Barry Finnegan) as he investigates a corporation that claims it can predict biological events by reading a person's DNA. That list includes having kids, breaking an arm, falling into depression, and dying. Smith is skeptical, but evidence mounts that the predictions may be true. Smith and his buddies take the plunge and have their DNA read, which sets the friends at odds over the veracity of the readings.

Scott Orenhauser (Matt Dallas) is the more successful, better-looking half of the friend duo. He ribs Smith for being flaky and lazy, and urges him to finish something instead of dropping it at the slightest speed bump in the road. Smith discovers a trending Internet topic on Life Tracker, a corporation with a crazy CEO (Chas Mitchell) who promises that he can predict the future. Smith wants to pursue something, so he begins speaking with people after their Life Tracker readings. This goes one of two ways: The subject is skeptical and thinks the reading is nonsense, or something terrible happens to the subject that seems to verify the prediction. Smith and Orenhauser's girlfriend, Rebecca (Bell Osbourne), visit the widow of a man who committed suicide after the pressure of his reading became too much, an event that rattles both parties.

Director Joe McClean, who previously directed a series of shorts, dials up the tension when his leads have their own DNA read. This is pricey, and contracting with a more accurate "reader" costs more money. Smith learns he will live a long life, as will Rebecca. Orenhauser is rattled when his prediction returns a death date two years in the future, and when Rebecca's says she will eventually have kids with Smith. This immediately drives a wedge between the friends, and Rebecca is caught in the middle. Smith learns that many people have the same death date as Orenhauser, dubbed the Belfast Track, which seems to indicate some natural or apocalyptic event in the future.

Whether or not information of this nature should be available to the general public is a theme in Life Tracker. If these DNA readings sound vaguely familiar, it's probably because you have seen Andrew Niccol's Gattaca, which involves genetic manipulation to create more perfect humans. Life Tracker deals with the genetic hands already dealt, but offers a scary outlook for its young leads. The two men argue about what it means to know when you are going to die. Would you try to change that prediction, or simply give up and let it happen? The film floats the idea that the predictions are unavoidable, but a brazen reporter proves to Smith that she can change her future at will. The leads are believable and have strong chemistry, and the interesting premise here is enough to carry Life Tracker above its no-budget roots.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

The 1.85:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer accurately replicates the source and director's intent for the look of the film. At some points Smith shoots with a broken camera, and there are changing aspect ratios and purposely included digital glitches. The lighting varies, sometimes clarity falters and blacks tend to crush. This is how the film is supposed to look, and grading this image is almost futile.

SOUND:

The 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is similarly suited to the source. There is a lot of dialogue here, and it is presented without distortion or feedback. There are a few moments of ambient noise and a couple of louder, action effects. No subtitles or alternate mixes are included.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This two-disc set is packed in a standard case, and includes the Blu-ray and a DVD copy. Extras include Earthquake Behind the Scenes (2:42/HD) and a Behind-the-Scenes Montage (4:47/HD), which have their links switched on the menu. Oops. You also get the Making of Life Tracker Featurette (7:04/HD), Shooting in a Disaster Area (2:49/HD), Would You Want to Know? (3:33/HD), and two Trailers (1:51 and 1:08/HD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This interesting, low-budget film asks tough questions about the future and predicting biological events and death. When a corporation claims to have the power to read DNA and predict such events, a young filmmaker begins investigating. When he and some friends have their own DNA read, they are quickly at odds over what they discover. Whether this conflict is inevitable or manufactured by a false prophet is one of the film's principal questions. Recommended.

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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