Aloft (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 19, 2015 by  


“Aloft” is not a deep, nor a compelling film.  While it was interesting to learn through flashbacks of why a mother and son became estranged, if you are expecting anything else deeper than that, this is not that kind of film.

TITLE: Aloft


DURATION: 97 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:30:1 Aspect Ratio), English, Portuguse, Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Portuguese, Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics

RATED: R (for language and some sexuality)

Release Date: September 29, 2015

Directed by Claudia Llosa

Screenplay by Claudia Llosa

Produced by Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer, Christophe Lambert

Co-Producer: Remi Burah, Genevieve Lemal, Olivier Pere

Music by Bertrand Bonello

Cinematography by Josee Deshaies

Edited by Fabrice Rouaud

Casting by Richard Rousseau

Production Design by Katia Wyszkop

Costume Design by Anais Romand


Jennifer Connelly as Nana Kunning

Cillian Murphy as Ivan

Melanie Laurent as Jannia Ressmore

Oona Chaplin as Alice

Peter McRobbie as Ike

Ian Tracey as Hans

Zen McGrath as Young Ivan

William Shimell as Young Ivan

Winta McGrath as Gully

As we follow a mother (Jennifer Connelly) and her son (Cillian Murphy), we delve into a past marred by an accident that tears them apart. She will become a renowned artist and healer, and he will come into his own as a peculiar falconer who bears the marks of abandonment. In the present, a young journalist (Mélanie Laurent) will bring about an encounter between the two that puts the very meaning of life and art into question, so that we may contemplate the possibility of living life to its fullest, despite the uncertainties littering our paths.

From Peruvian director Claudia Llosa (“The Milk of Sorrow”, “Madeinusa”) comes her latest film titled “Aloft”.

The film stars Jennifer Connelly (“Requiem for a Dream”, “A Beautiful Mind”, “Blood Diamond”, “Hulk”), Cilian Murphy (“Inception”, “The Dark Knight”, “Batman Begins”), Melanie Laurent (“Inglorious Basterds”, “Now You See Me”, “Enemy”) and Oona Chaplin (“Quantum of Solace”, “The Longest Ride”, “What If”).

The film made its debut at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival and now the Blu-ray and DVD will be released by Sony Pictures Classics on Sept. 2015.

“Aloft” begins with an introduction to Nana Kunning (portrayed by Jennifer Connelly), a single mother with two sons, Ivan and Gully.  The two travel to an isolated location to meet with a healer known as “The Architect”, who heals people by constructing small sculptures out of branches and then bringing patients inside them.

But in order for one to be healed, they must be the one chosen by a random lottery.

We learn that Nana’s youngest son Gully has an inoperable brain tumor and when people look into their lottery, they realized that they were not chosen.

As everyone watches the healing, the first up is a young blind boy. Before the Architect is about to work on his magic, Ivan’s falcon has flown away and goes into the structure.  As Nana tries to get the hawk out, the hawk breaks out and destroys the structure, infuriating everyone around.  Leading to someone shooting the falcon down.

The story then flashes forward many years later and a journalist named Jannia Ressmore (portrayed by Melanie Laurent) visits a home and sees hawks everywhere.  The journalist talks to the man, who happens to be Ivan (portrayed by Cillian Murphy).

At first, she tells him that she wants to do an interview on the hawks that he breeds and raises and when she asks if he is in contact with her mother, he cuts the interview short.  Before she leaves, she leaves him a disc with a DVD of her mother.

The story then shifts to the past.  One day, Nana is visited by the Architect and is told that she healed the blind boy when she touched the structure and that he never even touched the boy’s eyes.  Not long after, the person responsible for shooting young Ivan’s hawk and pleads with him to please save his child as he can no longer wait for the Architect’s next healing.

Nana goes to the Architect to be trained in creating structures in order to heal people.

Flash foward to the past and Ivan decides to go with Ressmore, leaving his wife and child behind but taking one of his hawks in order to find his mother.

And through the various flashbacks, we learn why Ivan and his mother have become estranged, but also the true purpose of why Jannia has visited Ivan and wanted to interview Nana.


“Aloft” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:30:1 aspect ratio). The film is quite detailed during closeups and for the most part, a lot of scenes are shot in the wintry, cold environments of Northwest Canada.  The film utilizes natural light and I didn’t notice any artifacts or any negative issues during my viewing of the film.


“Aloftt” is presented in English, Portuguese and Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital. The film is primarily dialogue and music-driven, so it’s a center and front-channel soundtrack with occasional surround channels used for ambiance and a few times during the film (ie. rifle shot, crackling of ice, etc.).

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Portuguese and Spanish.


“Aloft” comes with no special features.

As a fan of Jennifer Connelly’s work, I was really excited to see her once again in a more recent film.  And with “Aloft”, while Connelly is possibly the more notable name of the film, the film primarily centers around the characters of Ivan (portrayed by Cillian Murphy) and Jannia Ressmore (portrayed by Melanie Laurent), a journalist who wants to interview Ivan’s mother.

The film is primarily trying to answer the story of how a son and his mother became estranged.  Why have they not talked to each other after many years and also the true purpose of Jannia’s character wanting to interview Ivan’s mother, Nana.

While I thought that the film was about something deeper, something possibly ominous and was focused about a mother and her two sons, I was thinking that this was a film dealing with a single mother and her dying young son.

Instead, the film tries to piece together with flashbacks about how Ivan and his mother have not spoken or seen each other for years.  We are introduced to those who heal people via lottery and many travel long destinations in hopes to heal their child or family member.

We eventually learn that Nana has this gift as well.  But it takes a while to fully understand later in the film, with the revelation of what happened to Ivan’s younger brother Gully and why both never talked to each other again.  We eventually start to learn why Jannia was so intent in looking for Nana.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good as the scenes outdoors is cold to showcase the freezing cold location but indoor scenes are natural and skin tones are well-saturated, while close-ups feature plenty of detail.  Even the makeup work of a much older Nana was done well.  Lossless audio is primarily dialogue and musically driven, with a little surround use for ambiance.  Unfortunately, there are no special features.

While “Aloft” gave me an impression that this was more of a Jennifer Connelly film and a young mother’s plight to keep her young son alive, it’s more of a film piecing together of why a mother and son stopped talking to each other and the true journey for a journalist searching for the mother.

“Aloft” is not a deep, nor a compelling film. While it was interesting to learn through flashbacks of why a mother and son became estranged, if you are expecting anything else deeper than that, this is not that kind of film.

“Aloft” is just an average film that you can either rent or catch it later on cable, but not a film worth watching for a second time.

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