It is rare that a truly original film finds its way into the mainstream and captures a substantial slice of public attention. That is all the more reason to be grateful for Boyhood, Richard Linklater's Academy Award-nominated tribute to growing up.
Twelve years in the making, Boyhood has a script that is unsurprisingly lacking in complexity. Yet, its simplicity is a virtue and, in a very real sense, only skin deep. Boyhood's depth comes from its authentically understated portrayal of the complicated mix of influences and experiences that characterize the incredible transformation we go through in our wonder years.
Inevitably Boyhood's meandering, reflective content won't have universal appeal. Its down-to-earth and honest portrayal of real life should, however, hold the attention of anyone with a taste for reflection. It is likely to stimulate joy and sadness in equal measure as it leaves us reflecting on the wonderful quality that is innocence and the fleeting nature of youth. Regardless of which of these feelings predominates, though, Boyhood's ability to put us in touch with our emotions is something worth celebrating.
Given its unconventional qualities, Boyhood is a fitting choice as entry #002 in Future Shop's Mondo X SteelBook series, which is a collaboration between the Canadian retailer and the renowned Austin-based media art specialist. Mondo's art for the previous release in the series — the Ryan Gosling thriller Drive — was full of sharp lines and bright coloring that reflected that film's violent content. Like the film packaged inside, though, this steelbook is something different.
Mondo artist Tomer Hanukas' artwork is still striking but softer in tone. Two-thirds of the case's front cover is filled with a bold image of the film's main character, Mason, when he's an older boy. The curved lines of his face, set off against blotches of subtly colored shading, give the features an almost bulbous quality. This contrasts starkly with the metallic hair and eyes that change color depending on how light strikes the metal.
The back cover is broken up into four separate images of Mason at different ages. There is something slightly odd about the profile view of the boy in his younger years, largely because his short hair is barely visible. Hence, at first glance the child looks like a balding older man. The metallic eyes, which jump out when the light catches them, are also slightly unsettling. Nonetheless, Hanukas' images capture Mason's transition from a child to a young man in a way that compels you to examine the progression.
Mondo's artists have a reputation for strikingly original artwork and Hanukas' work on Future Shop's Mondo X SteelBook version of Boyhood is no exception. Like the film itself, it captures the facets of youth in ways that are modest but revealing.
This steelbook comes in two versions: the regular edition reviewed here and a Variant. Copies of the latter are individually numbered and only 2000 were produced. It also comes with a 16-page booklet about the movie. In addition to the film on Blu-ray, there is also a Google Play Digital Copy.