Truly affecting, emotional and educational
Alive Inside is a timely release. As we learn during the course of the film over 5 million people in the United States suffer from some form of dementia. The demographic portrait of the United States shows a skewering towards an aging population, meaning more people will be dealing with the issues of dementia, Alzheimer’s and the need for nursing home or long-term care more than ever.
Alive Inside is something which will be more relevant as time goes by, not less. It’s also a documentary unlike any you’ve seen before. It’s one of the most affecting things I’ve ever seen. The idea behind the film is simple yet profound. Health care volunteer worker Dan Cohen decides to try an experiment with some of the elderly people suffering from dementia…he plays for them some of the music from their early lives and sees what happens.
What happens is something we’re lucky enough to see for ourselves, and it not only restores your faith in humanity it will convince you miracles exist.
Alive Inside goes into detail about why these changes inside of people happen, both from what dementia does to the brain as well as the affect music has as well. There are also other applications for music explored such as recovery from injuries and traumas, and the thread which ties this film together is wonder. I dare you to watch Alive Inside and not tear up at the very least. The changes transpiring are truly awe-inspiring. If you’re at all like me you’ll be a teary mess by the end and happy to have shed those tears.
I can’t say enough positive things about Alive Inside. It’s one of the most worthwhile films I’ve ever seen and you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you choose to watch.
In terms of the Blu-ray for Alive Inside–it’s beautiful. The aspect ratio is an unexpected 1.78:1/1080p widescreen but this is a lower budget documentary but the video transfer doesn’t suffer from the ratio. Though the video is minimally processed, care was taken during the initial shooting, so the natural elegance and beauty of the camera work shines through. The audio has a few options, from a DTS-HD Master Audio track to a Dolby Digital stereo one, and both support the dialogue and bursts of music we’re treated to. No echoing or distortions of any kind.
There are more special features than I thought would be offered, which is always nice. There’s an audio commentary track by director Michael Rossato-Bennett and two featurettes with interviews with Rossato-Bennett and the man behind the film, Dan Cohen. There’s a theatrical trailer and a soundtrack to wrap things up. The soundtrack option goes in-depth, offering not only the pieces of music but also the composer’s notes alongside. It’s a different take on what could have been a text-only portion and I appreciate the effort.
Alive Inside (Blu-ray) makes my list of the best discs of 2014 without a doubt, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor to see what it’s all about. It truly is affecting, emotional and educational, everything you hope for in a well-crafted documentary.