HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:71
“Urge” manages to be NOTHING like what I originally expected off reading the press release. I’m a big fan of Pierce Brosnan, and a sort of “7 sins” type of outing seemed appealing. However, the opening credits starts off with something akin to the hallucinogenic effects of watching a James Bond opening credits scene mixed with a heavy dose of “American Horror Story” as we’re subjected to an almost hypnotic, drug infused, liquid measurement of a person in a rubber latex gimp suit. Then POOF, back to reality. Well, reality for only so long because director Aaron Kaufman leads us down a dark path into a weird almost Federico Fellini (esque) style experience that is both oddly mesmerizing, but ultimately ridiculous and plot hole filled. It’s about as bizarre an experience as you could possibly wish for, but without the intelligence and artistic flair that someone like Nicholas Refn would bring to the table, which ends up being the film’s downfall, as the bizarre and surreal are perfectly fine is handled correctly. But much like fire, it’s something that is only beneficial if it is controlled JUUUUUUUUUST right.
The film opens with a little introduction to Neil (Danny Masterson, “That 70’s Show”), a rich playboy billionaire/millionaire business who is just as much of a shark as the creatures in the sea. He’s tearing apart a business deal where the previous owners are desperately trying to hold onto some sort of dignity. A façade that Neil pretty much dispels with a wave of his hand and a sneer as he is just on his way to hook up with childhood friends and head off to Eastman Island for a weekend of fun and debauchery. We really don’t know much about these people, or WHY they’re even still friends, but a motley crew they are. All we REALLY know about them is that they each have some sort of “sin” or “desire” that they struggle with. Whether that be gluttony, lust, power, vanity, power, it’s just something that seems insignificant at first, but will come back to haunt them all later on.
Once they all get to the island it’s PAAAAAAAAAAAARTY time! Neil of course is out to control everything, and he plans out their little vacation to the letter, including a trip to the fateful club Volcano at the middle of the island where everyone is partying their brains out. Figuring out that it HAS to be some sort of drug, the group decides to send Jason (Justin Chatwin who is surprisingly grown up since the last time I saw him) to meet the mysterious club owner (played by Pierce Brosnan). A man who’s incredibly verbose, but more than willing to give the group the little chemical concoction that he calls “Urge”. A drug that turns your night of boredom into a night of incredible fun, surpassing every illicit substance known to man. There is only one rule when taking the drug. You can only take it ONCE. Any subsequent doses are strictly forbidden and any consequences are on the user. Well, we all know how a drug abuser works. Once is NEVER enough (which is how they become an abuser) and the group decides to pound it like its candy.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=78802[/img]The drug is everything that the mysterious club owner promised and more, but the next day after they take their second dose, strange things start happening. Every urge they’ve been hiding within themselves starts to come out to play. That lust, that hunger and gluttony, that vanity, that self-debasing hatred ALL comes to the surface in an uncontrollable flood that can’t be stopped. Jason seems to be immune to the drug and watches as his friends, nay the entire ISLAND, begin to tear themselves apart with every twisted desire that they’ve ever had coursing their uninhibited mind.
I actually almost want to commend “Urge” for being one of the most ambitious, if not completely horrible, experiments in film making that I’ve ever seen. I really wanted to like it, especially when I got used to the 7 deadly sins scenario. The style is mesmerizing, and the subject matter is always appealing, but the execution is beyond abysmal and hysterically laughable at times. Plot lines sputter into nothing, and the last 20 minutes of the film had me roaring with laughter as it came out of NOWHERE! I mean, where else can you have a clown with rubber balls stuffed into a red underwear type of outfit handing out drugs in a nightclub, then get to watch albino Asians laugh maniacally with Pierce Brosnan in a $10,000 suit? The whole 7 deadly sins act is a bit intriguing on its own right, and the fellini esque overtones with the self-destruction of mankind has promise, but ultimately just fizzles into nothing as the final act of the movie steamrolls over everything that came before in twist that turns the film from twisted morality tale to a horror film. We even have an after credits scene that pretty much feels like it should belong at the end of “28 Days Later” or “The Walking Dead” than this one.
Rated R for disturbing violence and sexual behavior, drug use and language throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=78810[/img]Courtesy of Lionsgate home entertainment “Urge” comes to Blu-ray with a stellar looking 1.85:1 encoded film. Once again I can’t verify for CERTAIN, but from all appearances “Urge” is a digitally shot production and the glossy look of sleek digital cameras is wonderfully sharp and crisp. The colors are wild and varied, ranging from neutral tones mixed with a slight teal glow during Neil and the rest’s initial stay on the island, but expands out to the wild neon colors of Club Volcano once the debauchery gets going. Black levels are usually VERY good, even with wisps of smoke and flashing lights in the deep dark caverns of the club. Neil’s house has a few scenes where blacks get a little washed out, but those are few and far between. Fine detail is astounding as we can see every little facial detail of Brosnan’s aging face as well as the stretches and seams on the clown costume. Long shots look appropriately detailed and while there is some digital smoothing going on, it is very judiciously placed and seems stylistic from all accounts.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=78818[/img]The 5.1 track on the disc is just as impressive as the video track is. The film starts out simply enough, with just the sounds of Neil, Jason and the rest of the party crowd getting to the island and talking about, but once the club scene is introduced there is a LOT of power and intensity in the track. LFE is near constant at that point, and just punishes the listener with wave after wave of heavy duty bass. Dialog is still crisp and clear, while the surround are filled with all sorts of club like chaos. Since the movie is basically one giant party at that point those surround channels and LFE channels keep a going, and don’t let up till the film’s morose and idiotic ending.
• Behind the Scenes with Cast/Crew Interview
• "Urge" Trailer
I’m not sure what to make of “Urge”. It has elements of horror, elements of fantasy, and elements of morality tale all rolled into one, and I’m not even sure the writers know. Or how much the end result mirrored the writing elements, as it seems all mishmashed together into a weird sort of porridge. The hellish gleam of the club as well as the twisted guests should clue you in to some of Kaufman’s fantasies, but overall the experience is devoid of anything but confusion and laughably bad plot devices that pretty much sink the entire experience. The disc has fantastic audio and video, but even that can’t save this nightmare of a film. Definitely Skip It.
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Justin Chatwin, Ashley Greene
Directed by: Aaron Kaufman
Written by: Aaron Kaufman, Guy Busick
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 91 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 6th, 2016
Buy Urge On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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