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Felicia's Journey [DVD]

3.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Bob Hoskins, Elaine Cassidy, Claire Benedict, Brid Brennan, Peter McDonald
  • Directors: Atom Egoyan
  • Producers: Bruce Davey
  • Format: DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Icon Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Jan. 2008
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000X4ZGPC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,649 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Director Atom Egoyan shifts his focus from rural Canada and instead explores suburban Birmingham. Young Felicia (Elaine Cassidy) arrives in England from her homeland of Ireland. She is searching for Johnny Lysaght (Peter McDonald), the man who got her pregnant. She travels to Birmingham, believing Johnny to be working there, and encounters factory manager Mr Hilditch (Bob Hoskins), who befriends her and offers her lodgings. However, as Felicia gets to know Hilditch, she discovers a few sinister secrets about her new housemate...

From Amazon.co.uk

Like Hitchcock, Atom Egoyan envisions family life as a potential hotbed of literal or figurative violence and incest. In Felicia's Journey, Egoyan's adaptation of William Trevor's shattering novel, one dreads to imagine what TV-cook mom (Arsinée Khanjian) did to so damage her pudgy son that grown-up Hilditch (Bob Hoskins) still prepares meals in perfect unison with faded videotapes of her show--and, as we eventually discover, often takes more sinister trips down Memory Lane. Distant kin to Psycho's Tony Perkins, Hoskins's troll is so obsessive, so traumatised, his every short-armed, fat-handed gesture and sing-song utterance is precisely calculated to keep reality safely buried.

Egoyan's movies often seem located underwater, in some surreal dreamscape where one's breath is perpetually suspended while a slow horror seeps ever deeper under the skin. Helpless, transfixed, one watches as his characters drive inexorably toward mined intersections where lives and souls may be lost or redeemed. When Hilditch's path crosses, diverges from and finally coincides with that of young, pregnant Felicia (Elaine Cassidy)--an Irish innocent searching for her errant boyfriend--it leads to terrible epiphany for these fellow travellers. Trouble is, creepy Hilditch and too-naive Felicia come up a bit short in the psychological complexity department, so by film's end, revelatory payoffs are mostly penny ante. Felica's Journey tours familiar Egoyan territory--an industrialised wasteland full of hungry hearts--but this latest fairy tale (think perverse variations on Hansel and Gretel) isn't in the same league with such "family values" masterpieces as Exotica or The Sweet Hereafter. --Kathleen Murphy, Amazon.com --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This film is, I must admit, my introduction to Egoyan's works. He is a director who comes highly recommended by a friend whose taste in films I admire.
There is, indeed, much to admire about Felicia's Journey. The cinematography is excellent, with many memorable frames. One that particularly sticks in my mind is a shot of a nuclear power plant, brilliantly photographed, that captures the emptiness of the landscape, as well as being a harbinger and symbol of the roiling emotions that lay beneath the surface of the main character's (Hilditch's)calm exterior. There are many such nuances in the film. Egoyan is clearly a director with a sure hand.
We know from the outset of the film that there is something not quite right about Hilditch (Bob Hoskins). What makes the character interesting and keeps us in suspense for a time, is that the character can go either way. Early on, it looks as if he may just be a mild mannered eccentric who has a compulsion about the proper preperation of food. We see him comically standing at the prep table in his elaborate home kitchen, carefully mimicing the step by step instructions of a rather ditzy French Lady Chef on a small screen TV.
The same is true of Felicia (Elaine Cassidy), who arrives at the customs desk in England, having come over by ferry from N Ireland. She is the ultimate rube, not even realizing that Northern Ireland is part of the UK, when the customs officer explains that that is why she doesn't need a passport. We are set up to expect very little out of naive, lost-girl Felicia.
The first indicator that something is not right with Hilditch is conveyed very subtly.
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Format: DVD
The Sweet Hereafter is such a first-rate movie that I wanted to take another look at this one, which Egoyan made two years later. It's not in the same league as Hereafter, but it is an excellent, disturbing movie.

Bob Hoskins plays Joseph Hilditch, who runs a big kitchen operation to feed the employees of a factory. At night he cooks elaborate dinners in his own gadget-filled kitchen while watching old video tapes of a cooking show. The star of the show had been his mother, an enveloping presence who completely dominated young Joey. Then he eats his meals alone, listening to Mantovani and other standbys of the Fifties. He also occasionally helps out young women when they are in distress.

Felicia (Elaine Cassidy) has come to his city from Ireland to look for her lover, who left to find a better job and promised to write regularly. He never wrote and she found herself pregnant.

They meet. He takes her in. Through flashbacks and circumstance we learn that Hilditch is a disturbed and violent individual. The movie sets all this up in an uneasy, quiet, almost sympathetic way, and then deals with how these two deal with each other.

This isn't some sort of murder or horror story; Hoskins doesn't jump out of closets. It's about two damaged people in which more damage can happen. I liked it a lot.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a superb film, especially when seen the way it was intended to be seen.

The low rating is for the item itself not the film and is intended to provide information for potential buyers in the belief that it may materially affect their decision to purchase said item.

Unfortunately for this purchaser the DVD I ordered turned out to be presented in the severely cropped 4:3 format despite being clearly labelled Widescreen on the back cover.

Disappointed, I raised the issue with Amazon.co.uk customer service and they were great about it.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
the back cover states the aspect ratio as 2,35:1 (that's in fact how the film was shot), while the film itself is presented in 4:3. It's only the first three minutes (credits opening sequence), when you can admire the original aspect ratio. After that the DVD turns to heavily "censored" 1,33:1 throughout the movie.
I mean: this is not a talk show, this is a piece of art by the highly respected Atom Egoyan...
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Format: DVD
...says Bob Hoskin's character at the turning point in the film, and HIS journey, like a light switch being flicked on...then off.

SORRY SPOILER ALERTS!!

The turn, for me, was encountering this remarkable film director in his early avant-garde movie "Speaking Parts" broadcast by Channel Four in their old days late night world cinema slot. Studying the Wikipedia on Atom Egoyan, which is very informative but on this early breakthrough film there is not enough - "Exotica" which followed Speaking Parts was an early effort to move into the commercial mainstream, and I thought highly transitional and flimsy by comparison. Here in Felicia's Journey, we find Egoyan fully fledged and adept in the codes of the movie business with a successful transformation of his earlier individual style and view of the world into a first class large scale movie. Just take one shot: the brief long distance pan of the Morris Minor travelling like a small green insect across the bottom of the screen dominated by three enormous cooling towers.

Both main characters - superbly and contrastingly acted by Hoskins and his potential victim Elaine Cassidy - are excavated as it were from the inside in layers. Hoskins drills down in minimalist mania, Cassidy flounders in chaotic abandonment and dreamy self delusion. The irony is that Hoskins is even more inhabiting a dream and when he wakes up he has only one way to go. I thought the cold dismissive psychopathic attitude shown up right at the start when he amiably talks first of his work mates and then clutches a small plastic figure and says matter-of-factly "Can I keep that?", marries completely with the calculated and disconnected way in which he takes his own life at the end of the film after deciding to spare Felicia.
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