The 2004 film Saved has the tag-line “lead us into temptation”. It stars Mandy Moore, the angelic Jena Malone and the devilish Macaulay Culkin. Will this movie tempt your cash directly out of your bank account and take you to heavenly bliss, or will it be a nightmare to watch and feel like an eternal hell? Read on to find out in The Nerd Mentality‘s Saved Blu-ray review!
The film Saved is about Mary (Jena Malone) attending a Protestant Christian high school. Can life get any worse for her? Her boyfriend turns out to be gay, in trying to follow Jesus’ orders she becomes pregnant, and she finds herself ostracized from her former school friends. If this sounds like an emotionally run teenage movie, you hit the nail right on the head. Not that it is necessarily a bad thing. Thankfully, Saved doesn’t take itself very seriously and is set up to be sort of a satire on teenage problems in the midst of a religious upbringing. The set up to the plot is somewhat similar to Mean Girls which is interesting because they both came out in the same year. There is quite a bit of focus on cliques and belonging. At times it is hard to tell if the filmmakers are embracing or poking fun at religion. If you cannot stand to see something with religion in it at all then this movie is probably not for you.
At 92 minutes Saved moves at a fair pace. The acting in the film was decent, and because of the edge of satire it could get away with some things being more exaggerated. There is never really any peril or darkness in the film, it has a vibe of being a feel good movie to me. Even though Saved is a low budget independent film it still seems professionally made and is competent in its message. I can see teenagers finding things that speak to them specifically in this and they may feel more towards the main characters than I do. All in all it seems like a decent film.
Audio and Visuals:
This release sports Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and the quality is what you would expect for a modern low budget movie. This type of a release is mostly dialogue so it doesn’t specifically make full use of surround sound features; however, the dialogue is clear and clean. English subtitles are included.
The visuals of Saved are about what you would expect. The sets, lighting and techniques are more reminiscent of modern television in my mind rather than cinematic (more along the lines of Gilmore Girls). It feels more like a 90’s movie than a 2004 one. This release comes in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is nothing that will wow the audience but I also did not notice any obvious defects. It seems like an average transfer.
I’ve noticed that quite a few Olive films releases are short on special features. Fans of Saved will feel blessed because both of the special featurettes and two commentary tracks are carried over from the DVD release. They are:
- “Heaven Help Us” featurette – A behind the scenes look at the film.
- “Saved Revelations” featurette
- Audio Commentary – Director Brian Dannelly, Producer Sandy Stern, and Writer Michael Urban
- Audio Commentary – Actresses Mandy Moore and Jena Malone
This is pretty much a “feel good” movie and it does have a bit of heart buried in the story. I found it inoffensive and even laughed out loud a couple of times. I think Macaulay Culkin and Eva Amurri Martino have the best lines in the movie and it seemed like they were at least having fun making it. I honestly think it is a decent teen coming of age comedy that might be a tad bit under recognized. I think if you strip away some of the hammy religious scenes that go on just a bit too long then you have a core film that could be considered just as good as 10 Things I Hate About You or Mean Girls. I’m sure some people were eagerly awaiting this film’s Blu-ray release and to them I recommend this pick up as either a first time purchase or a replacement of the DVD version. For anyone else interested in the subject matter or stars in the film I certainly think it is worth a rental to check it out for yourself.
Note: This Blu Ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.