An Emotional Mystery

Haunted by a deadly accident that occurred as a teenager, a grown woman now struggles with the repressed memories as her life falls apart in Unintended. Written and directed by Anja Murmann, a furtive coming-of-age tale morphs into a curious, wistful examination of trauma and PTSD. Elizabeth Lail (Netflix’s You) and Hannah Westerfield (Logan) star in the character drama, playing adult and teen versions respectively of the woman in question.

The character-driven, introspective drama works largely due to its cast. The narrative hinges on a few elements that don’t hold up under scrutiny, which leads to underwhelming answers when the big mystery is revealed. The girl’s traumatic encounter with an older teen boy and his father’s stolen hand gun has ramifications that unfold over the years for everyone involved.

Lea’s (Elizabeth Lail) life is a mess. Now in her twenties, she’s overly medicated and lost interest in her job. She’s clearly suffering some form of PTSD, due to a tragic incident she’s repressed for over twelve years. Having blocked out what happened as a teenager, she has a distant relationship with her father. As the past narrative reveals, Lea remembers accidentally killing a teen boy.  Right before her parents divorced and moved away from upstate New York, she’s blocked most of it from memory.

Unintended works better when it’s flashing back to Lea as an uncomplicated teenager and dwelling less on adult Lea’s myriad issues

Slowly remembering the unhappy details of what happened all those years ago one day in upstate New York, Lea returns there looking for evidence and confront her own past with a string of coincidences.

Constructed around Lea’s search for answers and her own inability to clearly remember what happened, Unintended disappoints when answers are provided. The cheap suspense builds to an emotional catharsis for Lea and an unwinding for other characters in the movie.

Some of the characterizations are trite. Most of Lea’s insecurities stem from the dramatic nature of her parents’ divorce and the trauma of suddenly leaving upstate New York, which was a happy place for her. She develops a relationship with a father figure that isn’t explained very well, almost inserted into a script missing a few important scenes.

The performances are superb. Most will recognize lead Elizabeth Lail from her excellent turn as You’s first season’s object of affection. Unintended works better when it’s flashing back to Lea as an uncomplicated teenager and dwelling less on adult Lea’s myriad issues. This is uneven indie drama that works when it focuses on the heavy emotional themes. Unfortunately, the better scenes stand alone without enough cohesive storytelling for a bigger impact.

Unintended Blu-ray screen shot

Video

Unintended looks great on Blu-ray, vividly capturing upstate New York’s idyllic locations in sharp color and razor-sharp detail. The scope presentation offers plenty of detail and definition in 1080P clarity. Running over 91 minutes, the AVC encode receives respectable parameters on a BD-25 without primary artifacts. This is a handsome indie production with strong cinematography, reflecting a pristine digital intermediate and transferred without technical errors.

Filmed with ALEXA Mini cameras, the video has a wide palette with excellent primary colors and healthy flesh-tones. The picturesque outdoor scenery makes for pretty viewing. Black levels are steady and the even contrast maintains throughout the feature.

Audio

Unintended has flawless but rather laid-back audio, heard in 5.1 DTS-HD MA and 2.0 DTS-HD MA options. The surround mix is mildly expansive in exterior locations, gently placing ambient noises in the background. The dialogue-driven drama has professional sound design with limited directionality. Perfectly serviceable sonics for an indie drama, made for the gentle swell of a restrained score.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font, always inside the scope presentation.

Extras

FilmRise’s special editions continue to confound with that misleading label.

Photo Gallery (All in HD) – 102 different still photographs taken from the production and behind the scenes move forward without user input.

Unintended Theatrical Trailer (01:33 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Unintended
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Movie

The uneven coming-of-age character drama Unintended lacks the dramatic spark it needs.

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