Blu-ray Review Breathless (2012) Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Todd Erwin, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer

    Apr 16, 2008
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    Todd Erwin
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    Gina Gershon and Kelli Giddish play a pair of Texas trailer gals in director Jesse Baget’s darkly comedic crime caper Breathless. Val Kilmer and Ray Liotta are along for the ride, one full of twists that ultimately overstays its welcome.

    Breathless (Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack)

    Studio: Anchor Bay
    US DVD Release Date: August 14, 2012
    Original Release Year: 2012
    Rated: R (for some bloody violence)
    Running Time: 91 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English)
    Subtitles: English (SDH), Spanish

    Movie: 2.5 out of 5
    Set in Clark County, Texas circa 1981 (thanks to a throw-away radio voice-over), Lorna (Gina Gershon) suspects her good-for-nothing husband Dale (Val Kilmer) was the one who held up the bank in Red County and stole $100,000. She calls her best friend Tiny (Kelli Giddish) to come over and help her interrogate Dale and find the money. But when Lorna accidentally kills Dale by shooting him in the head, Sheriff Cooley (Ray Liotta) arrives at her front door wanting to speak to Dale about the bank robbery. Lorna and Tiny now must find a way to dispose of Dale’s body, find the stolen money, and escape before the Sheriff returns with a search warrant.

    There is a lot to like about director Jesse Baget’s Breathless. First and foremost is the small cast. Gina Gershon and Kelli Giddish are in top form, pretty much carrying the film through most of its brief 91 minute running time. Val Kilmer, although reduced to not much more than a cameo, manages to steal the one scene he appears in, playing Dale as a believable buffoon. And Ray Liotta shows some fun playing the Texas Sheriff in one of his more under-stated roles. Screenwriters Baget and Stefania Moscato show a real talent for writing dialogue that is (mostly) believable and creating characters that are more than cardboard stereotypes.

    Unfortunately, that is not enough to outweigh many of the film’s problems. As good as Baget and Moscato are at writing dialogue, their weakness is in story and structure, trying to make up for that by introducing several plot twists that apparently come out of left field with no subtext to back them up. Unexpected plot twists can be fun when they work, and what made the twists and turns in films like The Sting and The Sixth Sense work was that the filmmakers made sure that on repeat viewings the audience would then be able to see traces and clues to that twist before they were revealed. In Breathless, when a twist occurs, one could almost sense the writer and director saying “Bet you didn’t see that coming!” (Co-producer Christine Holder is guilty of saying those exact words during the final reveal on the audio commentary). Director Baget tries to emulate the dark humor of the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino, but that is the problem. It feels like he is trying to imitate them, and much is used for shock value rather than adding to the story. Also, confining much of the story to Lorna’s trailer home makes the film feel, quite often, like a filmed stage play. The opening title sequence is an obvious lift from the Showtime series Dexter (even though Baget claims on the commentary to have never watched an episode). And finally, there is the film’s title itself, Breathless, which for the life of me I’m trying to figure out how that fits in with the movie.

    Video: 4 out of 5
    Photographed using the RED camera system by cinematographer Bill Otto, Breathless arrives on Blu-ray in a nice 1080p transfer using the AVC codec, retaining the film’s intended 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Colors are well-saturated and consistent. Detail is very good, so much so that you can see the wrinkles in the actors faces and textures in the fabrics. Contrast is also quite good, with decent black levels. Some noise was obviously added during post to simulate film grain, but it is never distracting.

    Audio: 4 out of 5
    Breathless is a dialogue-driven film, and the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack delivers exactly what you would expect. Dialogue is mostly centered, and is clear and intelligible. Fidelity and dynamic range are very good. Ambient and atmospheric effects also utilize the surround and LFE tracks in a subtle but effective manner.

    Special Features: 2 out of 5
    Audio Commentary With Director Jesse Baget and Co-Producer Christine Holder: Available as an audio option (and not under Special Features), this is a fairly straight-forward commentary track where the two discuss various aspects of making the film and how each of the actors become attached to the film. There are some dead patches, and nothing exciting is ever revealed.

    Making of Breathless (HD, 15:16): The cast and crew discuss making the movie and how they were able to get the film made quickly (and cheaply).

    DVD Version: A DVD is included, containing the feature and all of the same special features, but in 480p standard definition and Dolby Digital.

    Overall: 3 out of 5
    At the very least, Breathless is worth a rental for the showcase performances of its small but talented cast. Other than that, the film is mostly forgettable and utterly unoriginal.

  2. jimmyjet

    jimmyjet Producer

    Sep 11, 2009
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    gosh, is there really another movie that is this terrible ?

    the story is stupid, the acting terrible.

    i am having a hard time sitting thru it !!!
  3. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Jul 4, 2012
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    I might have to buy this(cheap), just so I can sit it next to Killer Joe.That BD is worth buying just to hear Gina say that she demanded Church's the commentary.

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