Neverwas – DVD Review

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Joshua Michael Stern

Aaron Eckhart……….Zach Riley
Ian McKellen……….Gabriel Finch
William Hurt……….Dr. Peter Reed
Bill Bellamy……….Martin Sands
Michael Moriarty……….Dick
Ken Roberts……….Terrence
Brittany Murphy……….Ally
Nick Nolte……….T.L. Pierson
Jessica Lange………. Katherine Pierson
Vera Farmiga………. Eleanna

The Movie

Seemingly from being the main villain in Paycheck forward, Aaron Eckhart’s career has gone into overdrive. With a searing performance as Nick Naylor, which many called the best of the year, as well as a major role in the flop The Black Dahlia Eckhart has become the man many think could be Hollywood’s next great leading man. With a major role in the sequel to Batman Begins as Harvey Dent in the works, Eckhart’s career seemingly is ready to explode. So it’s interesting to look back on his serious roles before his career-making performance in Thank you for Smoking as psychiatrist Zach Riley in Neverwas.

Riley’s father was a famous author by the name of T.L Pierson (Nick Nolte in flashbacks) who would write a brilliant children’s novel before going crazy and committing suicide. His book features a character named Zachary, who may or may not be based on Zach himself. When Zach takes a full time job at the same psychiatric facility his father killed himself at, he meets a patient (Ian McKellen) who claims to have inhabited the world his father wrote about.

It’s a fascinating psychological drama about a man looking back on a horrible experience of a childhood through the eyes of a man trying to reconnect with his past. Eckhart gives a terrific performance as Zach, a man trying to overlook his past while simultaneously trying to understand it. It’s a subtle, nuanced performance from a man who’s becoming known for that kind of portrayal.

It’s interesting to see a film with this much of a loaded cast didn’t even merit a theatrical release. It isn’t a case of a couple bigger stars with a smaller budget, et al. The film is filled with major league stars that can and have headlined films on their own. The story is solid, as it’s a good thriller and a terrific psychological examination of a man who might be crazy and one who actually is.

The problem is that the film delves too often into the ludicrous and not often into the real. For a film that walks the line between fantasy and reality it delves several times into being ridiculous, ruining the sort of atmosphere it works hard to create for the most part. While it’s quite enjoyable, it’s an adult version of The Bridge to Terabithia with the same problems.


Neverwas is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 format with a widescreen presentation, complete with 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and the film looks and sounds quite good for a direct to video release. The film isn’t reliant on images and music but presents them in their formats quite well.

The Extras

Sneak Peeksat the theatrical release of Underdog and the DVD releases of The Invisible and Wild Hogs are included.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Neverwas
(OUT OF 10)