R1 - America - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (10th April 2008).
The Film

The start of the movie is intentionally disorienting. The quick cuts, jump cuts and converging situations and characters create a fragmented view of something not yet understood. As the movie progresses, the picture moves in and out of various scenes, in an almost stream-of-consciousness manner, not really following logically in any real manner. The ending explains everything, but there's a clue in the opening speech telling you what you need to know, and will make you understand the movie a bit more.

The movie surrounds Felix Boenhoffer (Anthony Hopkins) and his new script. In his life, he meets people from his script, and he starts weaving through scenes that he wrote. The plot is definitely non-linear and represents, perhaps dreams, or something else. Flashes of memory appear, taking pictures of various events to remember them. Cars are yellow or pink, perhaps indicating that memory is failing or is unreliable.

The movie was written, directed and scored by Anthony Hopkins, and the movie is his take, as he mentions in his commentary, on life and dreams. The movie is a little hard to follow but interesting to watch. Mr. Hopkins gives a great performance, as always. Michael Clarke Duncan, Christian Slater, Camryn Manheim and John Turturro, among others, all populate this world and all have very memorable characters. The directing is interesting, and listening to Mr. Hopkins' commentary, everything is very logical and rather simple.

My best friend studied film production, and in his graduating year I remember going to his school for a screening of all the short films produced by his class. Some of them were understood only to the director and writer themselves. This is somewhat akin to watching a 90-minute student film, albeit with better production values. It's not boring, and the style is quite interesting. The cuts and camera movements are definitely there for a reason. This is one of those movies where the style is the substance. In the movie, people repeat some things over and over a few times. Felix is going over scenes over and over again, and we're watching what's going on in his head. The start is perhaps disorienting. Memories and dreams may seem disjointed and illogical, but when you're living through them at the time, they make all the sense in the world.


2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The movie is shot in digital video, and is pretty obviously shot on digital video. The movements, especially in dimly-lit scenes, have some very slight blur and the skies are pretty blown out. On the other hand, shadow detail is good enough and colours have a nice saturation. The contrast is good end the level of detail is good enough, given the source. It's a nice picture but is limited by the source.


The only movie track is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. It's a pretty unassuming movie and the track mirrors that feeling. The flashes are clear and audible. The side and rear speakers are used up by some ambiance here and there. The track is mostly quiet, so the dialogue is always clear and audible. The mixing provides for good atmosphere, as well. It's a good track.
There are English and French subtitles for the movie, and English subtitles for the commentary.


The first and main extra is an audio commentary by director/writer/composer/actor Anthony Hopkins. Mr. Hopkins is very frank and very honest about his movie and its meaning. He starts off by explaining what you're seeing and you get a sense of his style right away. He basically says the movie is about the nature of the dream world. He talks about the actors, and how many of them agreed to do the movie without really understanding the script (especially Jeffrey Tambor). He explains the inspiration for the movie and for various scenes, talking about related personal experiences. He also talks about how he got Kevin McCarthy to be in the movie. It's a very informative and laid back track. Mr. Hopkins says many times that it's just a movie and it shouldn't be taken seriously. He also addresses the criticism that this is a vanity piece, and I find his answer pretty fun. Overall, it's a very nice track and add a some nice information to the movie.

The Dreaming ‘Slipstream’ Making-of Featurette (15:25) is next. The director and some of the actors try to explain the meaning of the movie. Then, the creative process and casting is mentioned. They also talk about the Genesis High-Definition camera they used. It's an EPK and nothing more. There's some behind the scenes footage, which is nice to see, but the interview bits don't really give out any deep information.

Following that are three Deleted Scenes. None of them explain anything. 'Harvey and Lars Walk into the Lodge' (0:48) has a little bit with John Turturro, and his dialogue was looped in another scene. 'Harvey Storms the Production Office' (0:20) is more or less the same thing. 'Bette and Gina Talk in the Diner' (11:02) is a long scene and doesn't really add much to the movie. It's a strange scene that's pretty self-referencial within the movie. Cutting it out is probably the best.

A ton of Previews are the last thing: 'Blu-ray Disc is High Defnition' (031), 'The Good Night' (2:42), 'Southland Tales' (2:31), 'Revolver' (2:33), 'Goya's Ghosts' (2:30), 'The Nines' (2:24), 'Romance & Cigarettes' (2:00), 'Damages: Season 1' (1:38), 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Edition' (1:36), 'Taxi Driver: Limited Edition Collector’s Edition' (2:08), 'All the King's Men' (2:34), 'The Remains of the Day' (2:27), 'The Mask of Zorro' (3:13) and ;Legends of the Fall; (2:18). The first four are also start-up trailers.


The Film: B Video: B- Audio: B Extras: B- Overall: B


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