I saw this film at Sundance when it was just called Sidney Hall. It moved me then with its three pronged narrative of an author (Logan Lerman) coming to terms with his success and his past. The new title The Vanishing of Sidney Hall certainly makes it sound more intriguing, and it is accurate, so I was hoping at least this Blu-ray release would be my opportunity to tell more people about it.
The Blu0ray unfortunately is not the best presentation. It wanders in and out of looking bright and looking hazy. I was hoping the uneven would be tied to the three time periods but it’s not. It depends on the scene and the lighting. I do think the post-disappearance scenes fare better because they’re more exterior and daylight.
A 14 minute behind be scenes feature is unfortunately not informative. The cast and producers are trying way too hard to sell this. It’s always backslapping but come on. And these were done on the set so it’s not even defensive after the lackluster Sundance reaction. Reign it in. I’m sure the cast said substantial things too so it’s on the editor for not using those. Michelle Monahan got a few substantive soundbites in there. Complimenting the cinematography is misplaced because half the movie looks hazy.
So I still want people to discover Sidney Hall. Be patient with the Blu-ray transfer and certainly don’t watch the bonus feature, but be open to the emotional journey of Sidney Hall. I’ve never run away from home or disappeared after publishing a popular novel, but I could relate to his childhood and adulthood.