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DVD Review: THE CLEARING

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PHOTOGRAPHY

THE CLEARING (2004)

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 94 minutes, deleted scenes (with optional commentary), commentary track, Full Length Screenplay, Hide&Seek trailer

STUDIO: FOX SEARLIGHT

Release Date: 11-9-2004

ANALYSIS: THE CLEARING in an engaging thriller with excellent performances from Robert Redford, Willem Dafoe, and Helen Mirren. Redform is a rich guy who is kidnapped by Dafoe. His wife (Mirren) must pay a ransom of $10 million for his return, but you wonder if she will get him back if she pays. You see her going through the torment of wondering if she will see him again while you see Redford and Dafoe talk with each other out in the woods. Redford's character isn't perfect (he had an affair which his wife knows about). THE CLEARING is a beautifully shot thriller (with a moving score) that captures the emotions of the characters as the movie goes on.

VIDEO/AUDIO: THE CLEARING is presented in 1.85:1 anamoprhic widescreen. The picture is fantastic. You can see great colors and the wrinkles in Redford's face, but the transfer has lots of grain in any scene happening during the night.

The dialogue can be heard clearly in the 5.1 English Dolby Digital track. The movie can also be heard in French or Spanish Dolby Surround with the option of English or Spanish subtitles.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The commentary track for the movie is with director Pieter Jan Brugee, screenwriter Justin Haythe, and editor Kevin Tent. It is a little dry as they talk too much about what is happening in the scene instead of more details about the characters, actors, or the production itself. They do reveal some details about the production including how Redford suggested a scene that needed to be in the movie and the real events in Denmark/Holland that inspired the story for THE CLEARING.

Deleted scenes (with optional commentary) last for a total of about 15 minutes and many of them even add new dimensions to the story. Every scene is interesting and each one was cut for pacing (or it didn't fit into the final movie).

If you have the desire to do so, you can read the screenplay of the movie which is included on the DVD (too bad there isn't a .pdf option allowing for easier reader access and yet having it on the DVD means you don't have to use the computer to read the screenplay if you don't have one). The last extra is a preview of the upcoming HIDE AND SEEK starring Robert DeNiro.

FINAL ANALYSIS: THE CLEARING is one of the most intelligent thrillers with excellent direction and Oscar caliber performances from Redford, Dafoe, and Mirren. If you're looking for a great movie to watch on DVD, you don't have to go farther than THE CLEARING.

This DVD review (3.90) is (c)10-29-2004 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com

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