DVD Reviews | Feb 12th, 2007

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Starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal
Written By: Guillermo Arriaga
Directed By: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Studio: Paramount
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This Oscar nominated film involves a great ensemble cast from Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, which details how one tragic event can affect many lives all around the world. Starring Brad Pitt (Oceans 11, Tabloids), Cate Blanchett (The Aviator) and Gael Garcia Bernal (Motorcycle Diaries) provide a compelling story and is one of this year’s most interesting films.

The story begins in Morocco with a family purchasing a shotgun in order to protect their goats. From there it’s a rippling effect that causes many families to have a bad day. Its funny how that could be, but the writer and director do a great job of vividly portraying the events on screen. Unbeknownst to the father who purchased the gun; his sons go out on the hills for target practice and take aim at a bus down the mountain, hitting a passenger. That passenger is one of the Americans featured in the story Susan, and Richard (Blanchett, Pitt) and how they were just vacationing in Morocco when this happened. Seriously wounded, the couple must find local help to save Susan’s (Blanchett) life. The event also gets blown out of proportion, with the media creating yet another “terror act” on American citizens. While vacationing in Morocco, long time care taker Amelia (Adriana Barraza) is taking care of Richard and Susan’s children and stupidly decides to take them to Mexico for her son’s wedding. You can see the dilemma before it even takes place. Everything’s fine when they are there but its returning that becomes the issue. Gael Garcia Bernal co-stars and drives Amelia to Mexico for the wedding. Amelia is aware of the accident in Morocco before she leaves for Mexico which makes no sense to bring the children along. I’m sure there was someone else out there to take care of them. Gael’s character Santiago is a hot head and has a few drinks, and tries to make a run across the border creating a horrible situation for the children and the caretaker. The other story is that of a Japanese widower who is having trouble communicating with his teenage daughter who is deaf. It turns out the Japanese widower is the owner of the rifle sold in Morocco. Authorities question him in the matter because they believe it was sold on the black market, and his daughter is questioned as well.

I think the Japanese storyline was the weakest in terms of connecting the other stories around the world, but had some excellent acting from Rinko Kikuchi who plays Chieko, the deaf mute. This story arc could have been its own movie but only gets a quarter of the time with the film since it was an ensemble piece. The big picture regarding the Japanese really wasn’t about the rifle being sold, though that has meaning to all of this; it really was about the death of Chieko’s mother.

Brad Pitt, and Gael Garcia Bernal turn in great performances and it’s probably one of the best performances by Pitt to date. The whole film has the same feel as Traffic did about 7 years ago, but the cinematography and direction were outstanding. I could see why its been nominated for so many awards this year.

As far as the rest of the DVD is concerned there isn’t anything else available in terms of extras. The studio probably wanted to rush this out for awards season and will reissue the film in a proper DVD release with extras and special features. I enjoyed the film though.


ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo CC
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1

Widescreen 1.85:1 Color

English, Spanish

Favorite Scenes: Wedding in Mexico, Interrogation at the Border
Rating: R
Running Time: 143 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: