Same Kind of Different As Me is a faith based film that finally found a home after a couple of years on a shelf. The film follows a rocky couple who befriend a homeless man, where they learn to love and be kind no matter what. It's all about forgiveness. Despite its many flaws and cheesiness, there are some real earnest moments here, mostly from the performance from Djimon Hounsou. The video and audio presentations are both very good and the supplements are all engaging and informative. Recommended!
Faith based films do make a lot of money these days, and there seems to be more and more of these movies coming out every year with the added A-List actors to sell them. The latest one is based on a true story called Same Kind of Different as Me, and was supposed to be released a couple of years ago through Paramount, but was dropped completely, then picked up by the Christian based company Pure Flix for a release. Needless to say, bigger film companies didn't have much faith in this film and for good reason.
The real story follows a Southern art dealer who confesses to his wife of infidelity, which set the couple to pick up the pieces by volunteering at a homeless shelter serving food. It's there they meet a man named Denver, who they befriend, learn to love again, along with some other biblical metaphors scattered throughout. The film tugs at the heartstrings, but is too on the nose at times. In addition to that, the story wanders all over the place in different time periods with no real logic or transition.
It's a bit of mess from first time director Michael Carney and is quite slow to get going. Once Djimon Hounsou (Denver) enters the picture, though, things pick up as Ron and his wife (Greg Kinnear and an unrecognizable Renee Zellweger) become friends with this homeless man who doesn't seem to want to be friends with anyone, let alone any white people, due to his abusive and sad past, which plays out like he came from the slave-trading days. Through indirect metaphors of the Christian religion of forgiveness, love, and kindness, these three unlikely people help one another to start a new slate, which includes Ron coming to terms with his rocky relationship with his father (Jon Voight).
Luckily, the Christian ideals are portrayed subtly here and are not too overbearing. Kinnear and Zellweger do the best they can with the subpar script they are given, which doesn't amount to much, but it's with Hounsou's Denver where the spotlight truly shines. He's layered, strong yet sincere, and fantastic in every scene. Even though there are some cheesy moments throughout the film, it never comes from Hounsou or his speeches which can conjure up some earned emotions. Same Kind of Different as Me is rough around the edges and has some a slew of issues, but with Hounsou's commanding and endearing performance, the film is worth checking out.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Same Kind of Different as Me comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc from Pure Flix. There is an insert for a digital download included. The disc is housed in a hard plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.
Same Kind of Different as Me comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The image here is rather subdued most of the time, taking place in dark interior rooms or at nightf. When in exterior shots during sunlight hours, the image has a grayish look to it with very few bright primary colors. Most colors are on the blue-green scale with warmer earthy tones looking a little pale. The wood furniture in the homes or in the trees look cooler than normal.
During some of the old flashbacks, the image has a yellow tint with a fantasy like haze to it where the cooler color spectrum is absent. Some of the bolder colors shine through at the art gallery, specifically the KKK painting with the bright red blood on it. That truly stands out for sure. Black levels are mostly deep and inky as well, but can be a bit light at times, which gives way to some minor video noise throughout the film.
Detail is sharp and vivid, even in these lower-lit scenes. Hounsou's big bushy beard shows every straggly hair perfectly as do other makeup effects and facial wrinkles on the other actors. The expensive suits and even the raggedy clothes show fine detail with holes, dirt, and intimate stitching. Wider shots showcase brick buildings and even the splintered wooded cabins from the flashbacks well too. Skin tones are natural and there are zero other video issues to speak of.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and sounds very good. This isn't an action film, so don't expect any car chases or explosions here. This dialogue driven film is well balanced and even immersive in certain scenes with large crowds. The scene inside the soup kitchen has people talking in the rear speakers as well as utensils clanking on the plates and bowls. Other sequences at the art galleries provide the same sound design.
When in the homeless alleyways, sounds of fire cracking and people rummaging through trash can be heard in the surrounds nicely. Musical cues add to the emotional tone of the film and the dialogue is clear and easy to follow with no pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills. The bass doesn't kick in a whole lot other than in a couple of scenes where Hounsou uses his bat to beat objects around the set, but for a dramatic film, the audio presentation does its job well.
Audio Commentary - Director Michael Carney and writers Ron Hall and Alexander Foard discuss making the film. They dive into the real life people the film is based on, casting the film, the performances, and the overall themes of the movie. It's actually a good listen.
Love is Patient, Love is Kind: The Making of Same Kind of Different as Me (HD, 27 Mins.) - A ton of interviews with the cast and crew as they focus on the real life characters, story, the director's style, writing the screenplay, and more.
Filming in Mississippi (HD, 11 Mins.) - Cinematographer Don Burgess's work is discussed here as well as some on-set locations around Mississippi are praised and shown.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (HD, 29 Mins.) - There are numerous deleted and extended scenes, mostly dealing with the character Debbie. Each scene comes with optional commentary from the director and writers.
Same Kind of Different as Me is a faith based film that has several problems, but with its subtle faith metaphors and excellent performance from Hounsou, the film is worth looking at, which will bring on some tears. The video and audio presentations are both good and the extras are all worth your time if you're a fan of the film and the real life people. Recommended!