directed by Niels Mueller
USA
/ Mexico 2004

 

  Frankly, I enjoyed this while viewing, always marveling at the chameleon Sean Penn, but reflecting afterwards I found the film a bit hollow. 'Sam Bicke' (Sean Penn) was a power keg ready to blow. A meek, quiet man struggling to survive and consciously aware of his place as a citizen and the unjust regularities of society. One of those being his occupation as a salesperson - he just didn't want to tell falsehoods to customers to make sales.

Based on a true story (I don't know how true) Sam is having delusions - one is that Leonard Bernstein is his oracle whom he confesses and seeks advice from - all in his own head. Set against the backdrop of the Watergate scandal Sam sees the injustice... in life... in racial inequality ... in his separated wife seeking a new husband. His feeble attempts at change cause him to lash out in a big way. Akin to "Falling Down" but much more socially real. Penn really carries the film, as he can do. It is sad but, most unfortunately, a story too often told and offering no solutions. Its voyeuristic appeal into the psychologically unbalanced is an dark exploitive draw. If it wasn't for Penn, I'd say skip-it.
 out of   

Gary W. Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 17th, 2004 - Cannes Film Festival

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DVD Review: MGM - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution MGM - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:35:03 
Video 1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.18 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1) English (Dolby Digital 2.0) , DUBs: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)  , French (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• none

DVD Release Date: April 26th, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 20

 

 

Comments:

Standard fare from MGM - moderately weak transfer and no extras. I actually saw some combing at one stage - no, I still think its a progressive transfer, but not a premium one. Barely dual layered at 5.35 gig - they surely had room enough for some extra features. Tube viewing will be fine and the black levels are acceptable - even strong. I don't see manipulation. No contrast boosting and the image holds a degree of sharpness.   out of

Gary W. Tooze

 





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