Review by Leonard Norwitz
Theatrical: Millennium Films & Equity Pictures
Blu-ray: First Look Studios
Runtime: 104 min
Size: 25 GB
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: June 23rd, 2009
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Video codec: AVC
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0
English SDH & Spanish
• 7 Cast and Crew Interviews - in 480p (7:54)
• Behind the Scenes – 480p (16:21)
Not long into the movie, Alexandra (Radha Mitchell) advises
Gabriel (Antonio Banderas) to "Assume nothing." And more
than once Ripley (Morgan Freeman) cautions Gabriel to stay
away from her. Or else, what? Or else she could get hurt, we
soon find out. Since we, the audience, have been instructed
by some of the most overused clichés in the business by an
utterly unconvincing actress on the one hand and God on the
other, we have to assume that nothing is what it seems.
Again. It's not enough that this familiar goulash of
deliberate misdirections is made so obvious in an
unrelenting series of not very credible scenes, it's that by
the time the masks come off, all the way off, we don't
Set against a backdrop of the Russian mafia in New York City
– and do not for one moment confuse this movie with
Cronenberg's Eastern Promises – master art thief, Keith
Ripley, solicits up and coming jewel thief Gabriel Martin to
partner up in a heist of two Faberge eggs from Romanovs – an
impossible job even if these guys were Tom Cruise twice
over. But before they can say "nyet" the big bad Russians
kidnap Ripley's goddaughter and threaten to kill her if they
do not bring their bounty to them. Meanwhile the local
police burglary unit, headed by Lt. Weber (Robert Forster)
who has long wanted to catch Ripley with the goods, is
headed off at the pass by the FBI who claim they have
interests of their own in this case.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence
compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale.
The second number places this image along the full range of
DVD and Blu-ray discs.
The high definition for The Code is better than the movie
deserves. I found nothing to complain about: no edge
enhancement, dirt, artifacts. Color seemed proper, asd
shadow detail was never lacking. There is a little less
resolution than the best of them, but otherwise, the image
is very good, indeed. Its dynamic bit rate settles mostly in
the low 20s, with spikes well into the mid 30s.
Audio & Music:
The case lists no uncompressed audio track! This is in
error. The Dolby TrueHD mix is quite good, though I didn't
always feel it panned and scanned exactly with the action.
Dialogue is crisp. The effects, especially the clatter of
the subway train and deep bass, are visceral. Moorish
flamenco rhythms laced with Slavic undertones appear in the
music score along with Banderas, giving us some idea of the
paucity of imagination that besets this film.
It's unusual to find a menu without chapters, but here it
is. On the other hand, it's nice to see a Play All function
of the Cast Interviews, especially since they are so brief.
The interviews can be skipped through by way of your
remote's chapter advance. Much of the information on the
back cover is too small to read without a magnifying glass –
an increasing trend.
There are a couple of EPK throwaways. The cast interviews
are especially unworthy of the name.
Known by its much better international title, Thick as
Thieves, characters in The Code quotes famous heist films (Topkapi,
Rififi) but the movie doesn't come remotely close to their
level of panache and suspense. The Blu-ray image is very
good, and the sound is decent. Extra features are slim. The
movie will have its U.S. premiere with its release on video.
June 21st, 2009