Is it just January, or is independent film so depleted that the excellent likes of Hope Davis, Alfred Molina, and Philip Baker Hall have to grind away at breathing life into a dreary L.A. noir do-over of a 1927 Alfred Hitchcock silent classic? David Ondaatje, a first-time writer-director (and nephew of novelist Michael Ondaatje) blessed with little technical skill and fewer ideas in his style-obsessed head, favors speeding clouds, speeding freeway cars, and opera on the soundtrack as filler, while a curved-blade slices through unhappy hookers in the exact manner of Jack the Ripper. In other news, across West Hollywood there dwells an unsatisfied housewife (Davis) whose unfeeling lummox of a husband (Donal Logue) keeps telling her to take her meds and keeps abandoning her for the ambiguous charms of their lodger (Simon Baker), who vants to be alone.
Theatrical Release: January 23rd, 2009
DVD Review: Sony Pictures - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC
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|Distribution||Sony Pictures - Region 1,3,4 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 5.87 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.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 5.1) , DUBs: French, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai|
|Subtitles||English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Chinese (traditional), Korean, None|
• 9 Deleted
and Alternate Scenes (7:46)
I'm doing this review on the basis that I think this film is a little better than popular critique is suggesting. Re-adapting a classic almost always spells doom (for an exception see Alfonso Cuarón's Great Expectations). Ondaatje's The Lodger is an interesting film with some personal signature earmarks identifying it as, at least, an attempt at a more original re-telling with some added flair. This could have very easily advanced to the ultra-silly under a different helm. Anyway, I didn't hate it - and actually admit to enjoying my viewing - even immediately after watching the original Hitchcock masterpiece a few hours previously. This 2009 The Lodger had a minor exposure before coming almost directly to public exposure via this DVD.
The dual-layered disc is anamorphic and progressive - tending to look at little saturated - which, for all I know, may be an intended look. The image is dark but colors tend to appear vibrant suggesting that there may have been some boosting. It is in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Overall though the visual quality looks very acceptable for standard viewing. There is some fine noise resembling grain. detail, while not pristine, looks adequate in close-ups.
Audio is a fair 5.1 track offering with some decent effect noises and wonderful music (the killings of females are enacted with the orchestrations of opera.) There are foreign language DUBs and subtitles options, plus region coding for zones 1, 3 and 4 suggesting sales marketing for those locations.
I'd say don't listen to the critical uproar but give this an opportunity and it might surprise you. Performances are strong. There is a lot of rain and furtive pauses - some overbaked style but in the end it's a decent enough murder-mystery thriller.... if that's what you might be looking for.