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directed by Alex Barrett
UK 2012


Five twenty-something uni-grads - peacemaker David (Will de Meo), insufferable philosopher-wannabe Pete (Jack Gordon, FISH TANK), crass Tom (Nathaniel Martello-White, RED TAILS), party girl Claire (Fiona Ryan, AIRBORNE), and glum Jay (Jayne Wisener, JANE EYRE) - face spiritual crises, death, failed and burgeoning relationships, and other forms of grief in the space of a week in writer/director Alex Barret's feature debut LIFE JUST IS. If this film were knowingly about the self-importance of youth - as seen from the inside - then its intentional pensive monotony would be easier to appreciate; but it's more of a forced chamber piece ala Bergman (Barrett cites Bergman and Dreyer - whose JEANNE D'ARC close-ups he seems to be trying to emulate with close-ups of actor Jack Gordon - among his influences, and the Bergman influence on the confined locations over the micro budget). It feels like a lengthy student film, and I say that in both positive and negative connotations. In positive terms, the framing and cutting is deliberate and parts of the script feel like screenwriting exercises (which at least suggests Barrett is interested in learning and trying to apply the basics before tossing them out the window and trying to revolutionize the form). In negative terms, his attempt to render the inner lives of his characters onscreen has resulted in some moody not-too-likeable characters (although they poke fun at Jay's "older" thirty-something boyfriend [Paul Nicholls, THE TRENCH] calling himself "Bobby" he's actually the most mature character in the film apart from Jay's sister [Gillian Wisener] and people who might see themselves one or all of the principal quartet are more likely to poke fun at them than admit they identify with them.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: June 23rd, 2012 (Edinburgh Film Festival)

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DVD Review: Independent Distribution - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Independent Distribution

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:41:57

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.27 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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


Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Independent Distribution

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by writer/director Alex Barrett, editor Murat Kebir, sound man Jason Creasey, and actors Fiona Ryan and Jayne Wisener
• Behind the Scenes (16:9; 14:17)
• Sound Just Isn't (16:9; 4:01)

DVD Release Date: December 10th, 2012

Chapters 9



Shot on the Canon 5D DSLR, LIFE JUST IS looks a trifle soft, but that may be an illusion the digital format's lack of grain. The 2.0 stereo track is dialogue-heavy and without defect (although optional subtitles might have been nice).

On the commentary track, writer/director Barrett highlights his Bergman (via Woody Allen) and Dreyer influences, as well as the influence of the Mexican film DUCK SEASON on his shot framing. The behind the scenes segment isn't very revealing (except that some of the actors can't define what they liked about the script). "Sound Just Isn't" is a series of clips of takes either delayed or interrupted by location noises (airplanes, passing cars, etc).

  - Eric Cotenas


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Independent Distribution

Region 0 - PAL



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