One of my favourite films ever, I never thought this would appear on a decent DVD in the UK, let alone on Blu-ray. What a surprise when I saw the 13 May 2013 release date. Even better I received it a few days before that date.
After a quite long delay for the disc to get to the menu, I could not believe my eyes when I saw how good even the menu looked. The film itself in 1080p looks absolutely stunning. Either a well preserved print or some restoration has taken place. If you told someone it was a secretly released criterion Blu-ray, they would believe you, (viewed from around 12' away on a 65" plasma). The sound is perfect in pcm stereo, exactly how it should be, nothing too fancy. The great music comes across well.
The only downside (for some) will be no subtitles or any new extra features. Well, subtitles should have been included for those hard of hearing, but extra features? films like this stand on their own and in some ways I feel are better without any at all. The same way some of the best singers/bands are totally uninteresting to listen to (until they perform).
If you have never seen this film I urge you to give it a try, forget the special effects laden blockbusters, this is proper independent film making, with a wonderful multi national cast.
I look forward soon to (hopefully) releases of other films of the era like Atom Egoyan's The Adjuster.
This film, like other films of Hal Hartley's is something of a quirky character and therefore is a bit of a personal taste. For those who enjoy his special brand of humour this early film in his output has all the characteristics that he revisits in subsequent films. Equally, many of the actors will be seen in later films too and this is as good place as any to start investigating his output.
This review is not intended to discuss the actual film as by now it will have both its supporters and detractors and entering into those conflicts is not the purpose of the review.which is aimed squarely at the supporters of his unique style and this film in particular.
Therefore for all of those who are keen supporters of this film and who have bought the previous DVD version of this disc, the only issue of vital importance will be whether the Blu-ray offers an improvement technically sufficient to justify the additional expense.
For this reviewer the answer is a clear affirmative. The upgrade offers a clear advance on both image and audio quality with the imaging being a marked improvement. The colours are firmer and there is an increase to the perceived depth of the imaging. The whole film simply becomes more 'real.' The film, which is so concerned with close characterisation, benefits considerably from this enhancement of reality even if that is not likely to be a real reality - at least one hopes not!
The degree of improvement will also inevitably depend on the replay equipment used. The screen, an important factor in visual products, is of moderate dimensions being a 40 inch television screen. However, the television is a high performing 4K unit which delivers a compensating positive effect. The contributing player is usefully able to separate the audio and visual signals before they leave to the television and pre-amp. That feature enhances both the visual and audio elements of the output. The moderate screen size lacks the impact of larger screens but is less critical of film faults.
Readers with alternative equipment will have to interpret this review bearing in mind their own equipment and its comparative advantages and disadvantages.
The disc offers purchasers with suitable replay equipment a substantial improvement over the previous DVD
This BD is a transfer from a good quality 1994 film stock and has responded well to the upgrade and well worth considering
At first I didn't really know how to take this film and was unsure what it was tying to be. Before too long I realised it was a good old 'film noir' with some off the wall characters, great dialogue and enough plot to keep me interested to the end.
The plot skirts around corrupt corporate activity that threatens to bring down a mystery business Mogul if discovered. Sprinkled in are sub-plots about the main characters, who all become involved in some way or another with the bad guys. Our characters all carry sizeable emotional baggage too; a Stunning French ex-porn actress desperate for revenge, an unshaven hack-lawyer hunted by the corporates he betrayed, an ex-nun virgin-nymphomaniac desperate to find the right man and an amnesiac
Gradually discovering his unsavoury past after waking 2 stories lower than he last remembered, on a bed of cobbles, broken glass and blood.
The storyline kept my interest right up until the end of the film, with a top secret floppy disk, torture by electric shock, shootings, chase in Grand Central Station (I think) and a head honcho only ever heard on the telephone, by which time I found myself genuinely interested in what happened to the characters and itching to find out just what the amnesiac had done in his past and how much he would or wouldn't change once he realised.
As with directors like the Coen Brothers the lives, quirks and personalities of the characters make up a big part of the film. Part of its charm - and the reason blockbuster lovers will hate it - is that the film uses this to tell the story rather than spelling out exactly what's going on with plot related
dialogue in an A-B-C fashion. This gives a feeling that the story is being told at face value through reactions of the characters to the situations in which they find themselves. This is neatly tied in with the lead character learning about his past and the plot at the same pace as the viewer.
There is great use of everyday language in out of the ordinary situations, some (deliberately?!) odd direction and cutting where characters appear from out of shot with little or no continuity, all of which made me notice the things that are going on a little more.
Overall I'd rate this as a great film to watch if you like to take your time soaking up the main characters and to be entertained by some off the wall scenes. It's not out and out whacky for the sake of it, but an interesting view for fans of the genre.
One of the best Hal Hartley films. It is so funny and the dialogue is sharp and stark. Favourite bit: - Will you sleep with me? I am a nymphomaniac. - How many men have you slept with? - None. - How can you be a nymphomaniac if you have not slept with anyone? - I am choosy.