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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Keyhole [Blu-ray]


(Guy Maddin , 2011)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Everyday Pictures

Video: Monterey Video



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:33:23.598

Disc Size: 23,481,775,520 bytes

Feature Size: 19,288,989,696 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.70 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 19th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 4131 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4131 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps



English (SDH), none



Maddin Shorts (workbook sketches for Keyhole):

- Send me to the 'Lectric Chair (7:13)

- Glorious (11:57)

- F-Hole - Music behind Keyhole by Jayson Staczec (4:10)

Video Montage (:16)

Trailer (2:15)





Description: Visionary Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin takes viewers on a surreal journey into the psyche of a desperate gangster backed... into a dangerous corner in this surreal, psycho-sexual take on Homer's Odyssey. Late one night, a criminal bursts into the living room of a large house and waits nervously for the arrival of gang leader Ulysses Pick (Jason Patric). Ulysses has a knack for getting out of tense situations, and with the cops all around his cohorts need him now more than ever. But when Ulysses arrives with a teenage girl and a bound young man in tow, some of his henchmen start to think it's time for a new boss to take over. An already tense situation turns downright surreal as Ulysses begins venturing through the labyrinthine house in search of his wife Hyacinth (Isabella Rossellini), who remains locked in her room somewhere on an upper floor. Meanwhile, Hyacinth's father offers cryptic commentary on the unfolding events, and the harder Ulysses searches for his wife the more secrets he begins to uncover about his eccentric family.


In a house haunted with memories, gangster and father Ulysses Pick (Jason Patric) arrives home after a long absence tow­ing the body of a teenaged girl and a bound and gagged young man. His gang waits inside his house, having shot their way past police. There is friction in the ranks. Ulysses, however, is focused on one thing: journey­ing through the house, room by room, and reaching his wife Hyacinth (Isabella Rossellini) in her bedroom upstairs. The equilibrium of the house has been disturbed and his odyssey eventually becomes an emotional tour, as the ghostly nooks and crannies of the house reveal more about the mysterious Pick family.



The Film:

It’s hard to say — it’s always hard to say in a Maddin film — but the man requires psychic balancing, whether it comes from a bicycle-powered electric chair (“I feel charged!”) or from any of the curious and often disrobed figures who surround him.

The latter include sullen Rochelle (Olivia Rameau), who seems to be a refugee from a French New Wave movie; soggy Denny (Brooke Palsson), who can’t decide if she’s dead or alive; and sawbones Dr. Lemke (Udo Kier), who just wants to get a job done, dammit.

Keyhole is suffused with genuine sadness, straight from the unbridled id of Maddin (and Freud), but much mirth intrudes — just like the phallus that cockily extends from one of the title orifices.

Excerpt from Peter Howell at the Toronto Star located HERE

"The ghosts are imposing their memories on the living" as we draw back the curtain to follow Ulysses through the keyhole into his mind. Guy Maddin's latest filmic inquiry into the nature of memory was commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts and personates an enigma.

Keyholes make for curious frames and whenever you look through them, you are gazing at something forbidden, locked away - Santa Claus or the secrets of adults and children at work.

Excerpt from Anne-Katrin Titze at Eye for Film located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Guy Maddin's heavily atmospheric Keyhole comes to Blu-ray via Monterrey Video. The image quality of the black and white film shows impressive contrast with tight detail in close-ups. There is a lot of darkness and shadows but only a modicum of digital noise via the single-layered transfer. This 1080P rendering supports the films more artistic visuals extremely well. This Blu-ray looks to be a strong representation of Keyhole. with all the smoky and cloudy sequences exporting the aura important to embracing the presentation. I was extremely impressed with how well the transfer maintained the film's artistic integrity. There were no prominent flaws that I could discern.

















Audio :

Audio gives the option of a robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a healthy 4131 kbps as well as a simple, flatter, Dolby 2.0 channel. Some may feel the leaner track suits the film more. I liked the surround with some crisp separations and intense depth. If the video wasn't enough to infuse some atmosphere then the audio will fill any gaps. Impressive work with the soundtage. There are optional English subtitles in a tiny font (see sample) and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

There are some good extras. We get a few Maddin shorts - called 'workbook sketches' for Keyhole with the 7-minute 'Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair' and 'Glorious' running a dozen minutes. There are also a 4-minute piece entitled F-Hole - Music behind Keyhole by Jayson Staczec plus a short and cool, very Maddin-esque, 'Video Montage' and a trailer.



I thought Keyhole was marvelous - raw, surreal, dreamlike and also tense covering a range of visual appeals from the artistically unique to downright smokey noir-esque. Being previously exposed to Maddin's work will help as this is more concrete but still has the elements that define his appealing signature style. This will get plenty of replay in my house and the Blu-ray does a fine job of supporting the filmmakers vision. For those keen on a different film experience Keyhole will punch your ticket as incredibly memorable! Absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

June 5th, 2012


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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