Defending Your Life
Defending Your Life, originally released theatrically in 1991, was directed and written by Albert Brooks, who also stars in the film as Daniel Miller. Also starring in the film are Meryl Streep (Julia) and Rip Torn (Bob Diamond).
On his birthday, Daniel Miller's life is cut tragically short when he drives his new BMW headfirst into a bus. He wakes up in Judgment City, a place where your life is examined to see if you've overcome your fears. If you have, you're able to move forward, and if not, you're sent back to Earth to try again. The process takes four days, in which, nine moments from his life are to be examined. While there, he meets Julia, and the two instantly connect. But while Julia has overcome her fears, Daniel has not, and if he can't properly defend his life and conquer his fears, she'll move forward without him.
To be honest, I haven't seen many films with Brooks, mostly because of late, he just hasn't been in very many movies. His performance in Out of Sight was relatively small, and the last thing he starred in that I saw was the Scout. However, I had heard great things about Defending Your Life, and I decided to check it out. The film lives up to all the hype – it was fantastic. While I thought it would be all comedy, the end was very dramatic and touching. Brooks and Streep have a lot of chemistry, which makes their quick connection believable, and both do an excellent job with their roles.
Defending Your Life is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Overall, the transfer is quite good, considering the film is ten years old. Colors are vibrant, flesh tones are accurate, and blacks are decent. Flaws are minor and appear infrequently; some speckles, very minor shimmering, and some light grain all appear in the transfer, but none of these are too distracting.
Defending Your Life is presented in Dolby Surround Stereo 2.0 in English and French. The film is almost entirely all dialogue, which sounds crisp and clean throughout, and is always easy to understand. Worth a mention is the accompanying score, which is terrific and adds a lot to the film. Optional subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Extras include four cast bios and the film's trailer.
Warner has provided Defending Your Life with a great transfer, decent sound, and at a good price point; unfortunately, it comes up short on extras. Fans of the film will definitely want to consider a purchase; for those who haven't seen it, give it a try – it's a great look at what happens after you die. Highly Recommended!