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directed by Lee Eubanks
USA 2014


A man (James Feagin) and woman (Kristin Duarte) have come to his hometown for a funeral. They have have come to an Antonioni-esque impasse in their relationship: he wants to face the fact that they are through and she wants to continue on with false pleasantries. When he takes a walk, she follows, but he makes her feel unwelcome in his directionless wanderings. She encounters the dead body of a man and then a strange woman harasses her when she tries to get help. She forgets about her experience as she finds a hookup in a local café. The man in his wanderings comes to realize that his feelings about his relationship reflect a larger sense of disappointment with his life. Will they find their way back to one another or lose themselves in their own delusions, becoming no different from the other strange beings inhabiting the desolate town's landscape. Very little "happens" in IT TAKES FROM WITHIN, the disc release's synopses even at so much a loss that it must paraphrase the director's commentary in which he vaguely cites his influences in evoking the same sense of "dread, isolation, and unease" from arthouse films of the sixties. The strange behavior of the other people they encounter may simply be colored sinister by the moods of the couple, as a visit to the café reveals quirky if someone more "normal" inhabitants (including an exasperated young man who cannot determine whether his girlfriend is actually replying to him in French or just reading off phrases from her phone's French language app), or the two other couples the main couple encounter may either be different versions of themselves at other periods or symbolic of what they were and what they may become. There are no definite answers, but the patient viewer may be mentally stimulated while enjoying some of the most gorgeous black and white photography to grace a shot-on-digital low-budget flick and the director's deliberate pacing and staging of sequences for visual effect more so than narrative (or even dramatic).
Even if you found meaning in IT TAKES FROM WITHIN and did not think it was utterly pretentious, the commentary track by director Lee Eubanks certainly is. After an unintelligible phone message and an recorded introduction by a female voice promising more answers than the track can possibly give, the director introduces himself and then spends the next eight minutes espousing his views on how to brew the perfect cup of coffee. While this could be taken as performance art and might have been better as part of the film's actual soundtrack, he seems ultimatley less interested in pinning down meaning as promised in the introduction, than in evoking the aformentioned arthouse feel, being not so much collaborative with his actors as letting them do what they want in characterization (including Feagin's self-penned monologue) so long as they move about his landscapes to his choreography. The result is an interesting experiment that makes one curious to see what he might do next with a little more visual assuredness under his belt and more of a script (or at least a scenario).

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 30 January 2017 (USA)

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DVD Review: First Run Features - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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First Run Features

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:34:51

2.36:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.64 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English SDH, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: First Run Features

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.36:1

Edition Details:
� Audio Commentary by director Lee Eubanks

DVD Release Date: January 30th, 2018

Chapters 10



First Run Features' single-layer disc presents a serviceable progressive, anamorophic widescreen encode of a gorgeous monochrome digital flick with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track seemingly patterned after the surround sound designs of David Lynch on the cheap. Optional English SDH subtitles transcribe the infrequent dialogue but also have an annoying quirky of leaving a musical note in the upper right corner denoting music cues so long as the score drones on, only disappearing when there is either interruption by dialogue or sound effects or when there is not music. The sole extra is an audio commentary (see the review above).

  - Eric Cotenas


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Region 0 - NTSC


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