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Deconstructing Harry [DVD]
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Suffering from writer's block and eagerly awaiting his writing award, Harry Block remembers events from his past and scenes from his best-selling books as characters, real and fictional, come back to haunt him.
Woody Allen roared back at his detractors with Deconstructing Harry, a bitterly funny treatise about the creative process. Known to mine his often tumultuous personal life for his movies, the embattled writer-director-star didn't bother to make his alter ego likable in this movie: Harry Block (Allen) pops pills, frequents prostitutes and cheats on the women in his life, then writes about their foibles in thinly disguised fiction. No wonder they're all furious with him. As Harry journeys to his alma mater with a hooker, ill pal and kidnapped son, a series of flashbacks unravel, juxtaposing Harry's relationships with their "slightly exaggerated" fictional counterparts. There are amusing cameos throughout, including a humorous turn by Demi Moore as a fictitious ex-wife who "became Jewish with a vengeance" and Billy Crystal as the devil who found Hollywood too nasty for his liking. The humour is dark and caustic but well worth it; Deconstructing Harry is a near-brilliant meditation on the sometimes queasy relationship between art, creator and critic.--Diane Garrett --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Deconstructing Harry tells the story of Harry Block, a novelist, whose stories are derived from personal experience. His characters are reimaginings of his friends and family. A recipe for disaster. When reality catches up with Harry, the line between his life and his fiction completely blurs (literally, in one particular case, featuring the brilliant Robin Williams.)
The way that this film is shot is particularly interesting. Allen rejects the usual film editing in favour of clipped scenes that often do not fully conclude. The jerkiness of the film itself reflects the ever changing and irratic nature of Harry Block's life.
The film also acts as a compendium of short stories. Harry Block's stories are often told throughout the film, with cameos from the likes of Demi Moore, Robin Williams and Tobey McGuire. There's also appearances by Kirstie Alley, Marial Hemingway (Manhattan) and the wonderful Elisabeth Shue.
This film is great for any kind of Woody Allen fan - whether you want Annie Hall or Sleeper. And it's also perfect for those who love comedy and well made films with a twist.
The structure of the film is very clever and adds interest and variety to what is a very funny story. The casting is superb and Allen is brilliant as Harry. If you have a problem with profanity(extreme), you will probably have issues with this film, but I absolutely loved it.
One of the main differences is the deep colour palette used here ( not particularly good on the normal DVD) compared to the crisp B&W of the former.
There are many excellent performances here. Woody is at his most, expressively arm waving, excuse riddled - it’s not my fault, endearing best!
There are two wonderful cameos here from the ladies: Lucy’s (Judy Davies) rant early doors is brilliant, but even this is topped by Joan’s (Kirsty Alley) rant ( complete with bemused client) at the office. I’ll say no more than that, even the old dears are at it, in a scene called, The Dark Secret,’ it’s all top comedy and written by the best script writer that there is?
There are also plenty of stars joining in the fun – Robin Williams - very briefly, Demi Moore & Billy Crystal to name but a few. I did find the dialogue in one later scene between Crystal & Woody very distasteful - very unusual for a Woody script, though again, unusually, this film is filled with bad language!
As with ‘Stardust’, this is not a particularly easy plot to follow, it contains flashbacks from the 'personal' storylines of his books - about himself and his partners - though these are played by other actors, fantasy sequences and other comedy sketches thrown in for good measure.! It’s a hoot of course, but my preference is for ‘Stardust,’ as it was first, and the ‘close up’ cinematography was stunning and quite clearly very memorable!
Despite these surprises - or perhaps because of them - it works very well. It works brilliantly, in fact. I laughed my way through nearly all of the film.
But there is a great deal of philosophy to it as well. The main character Harry (Woody Allen) who is an author is confronted with characters created by himself in his books. And since these characters are a little more than just based on persons from Harry's own life, the border between reality and fantasy becomes pretty wiped out. Very interesting aspect - and extremely elegantly constructed!
The meta aspect gets and extra kick as one of Harry's first-person-characters becomes out of focus! A totally genius and hilarious detail! Which ends in the film's key quotation, said by Harry's shrink: »You expect the World to adjust to the distortion you've become!«
The cast is densely occupied by stars even in small roles - Kirstie Alley, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Demi Moore and not least GOOORgeous (AND naturally well-acting) Elisabeth Shue.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I live in the United States, so this didn't play in my Blu-Ray player, but worked fine in my PC's disc drive. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sean Brennan
I bought the region 1 DVD which is widescreen and I bought the 2002 region 2 DVD release which was not widescreen. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sam
Woody Allen's classic - brilliantly hilarious and witty, tragedy in a comic disguise. Great to watch when you are down, Allen does not disappoint you.Published 12 months ago by yaroslava-nora