Customer Review

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful tragedy of emotional impotence, 8 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Hulk [Blu-ray] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Here's a funny thing. A film about a man who turns green and smashes stuff when he gets angry turns out not to really be about that after all.

When I first saw this film at the cinema I was left in a neither-here-nor-there frame of mind. I saw it was good on some level but didn't fully appreciate what I'd just seen. It wasn't really a film about the Hulk but a film about relationships which happened to have the Hulk in it. I could have left it right there and foolishly dismissed this film as so many others seem to have done.

After the umpteenth rewatching I finally see some of what I think Ang Lee was trying to show us in the first place. Now "Hulk" is on Blu-ray and the transfer is exceptional. TV broadcasts and even the original DVD always appeared slightly too murky and you sometimes strained to see what exactly what was going on. The pin-sharp picture and glorious palette are at last revealed by the wonders of HD. I liked the film before but now I've fallen in love it as an example of exemplary visual style finally doing justice to the film's "human" content.

It's a beautiful film about complex emotional issues transposed into a comic book world. Isolation, abandonment, love, familial duty, jealousy, emotional trauma and of course finally anger and frustration at emotional impotence and even repressed sexuality. Have no doubt this is a tragedy of immense proportions.

Hulk is a distinctly brave and visionary film which has largely been dismissed as just another comic book film by some yet it doesn't pander to a casual audience either. This is possibly why it was perceived as a failure by so many.

Particularly noteworthy is Jennifer Connelly's performance. Unhurried close-ups of her face, subtly reflecting her changing emotional involvement become almost overwhelming the longer the camera intrusively lingers. I'm tempted to say that this is possibly her best performance in a movie so far even though she's been great in so many others. It's easy to portray such (comic book) supporting characters as caricatures or stereotypes (just look at the dismal 2008 Hulk movie for evidence of that) but Lee and Connelly bring such depth to Betty Ross that she somewhat steals the whole film.
Eric Bana is well cast as the emotionally distant and vaguely unsympathetic Bruce Banner not forgetting the excellent supporting cast including Nick Nolte and Sam Elliott.
Action scenes are handled deftly but similar in tone to the work of legendary director Michelangelo Antonioni, the action is the merely the device by which the larger picture is revealed, and not the other way around.

The difficulty obviously arises when you try to sell a film like this to an everyday audience. Short sighted reliance on populist demographics is always going to fail with a work of this complexity. It has no easily identifiable niche.
So there you have it. A film that is neither fish nor fowl but adroitly occupies the no-man's land in between.

I feel certain that this film must eventually garner the level of praise and appreciation it truly deserves but probably only by future generations. Great films often have a disheartening habit of being unappreciated in their own time.
Make no mistake "Hulk" is a great film which improves with every viewing even if not everybody can see that.

Ang Lee constantly reaffirms just why he has earnt his place among the all-time directorial greats by constantly challenging audience preconceptions and never failing to create thoughtful and intelligent films whatever genre he works in.

"Hulk" a future classic?.......... I have absolutely no doubt.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Jun 2009 00:44:31 BDT
L. T. HIN says:
Would appreciate if you could advise as to whether this Blu-Ray disc is Region Free. Thank-you.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2009 18:42:02 BDT
G. Thomas says:
As far as I'm aware my copy (obtained through Amazon) is Region Free.
The "tone" of the packaging is certainly aimed at the U.S market and I can see no region logo anywhere on the box.
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Reviewer

G. Thomas
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Location: Canterbury UK

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