What's new

Blu-ray Review F for Fake Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Neil Middlemiss

Premium
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2001
Messages
5,321
Real Name
Neil Middlemiss
F for Fake Blu-ray Review

F for Fake, Orson Welles’ enigmatic experiment in film, takes the audience on a curious journey into enough truth to be believable as a documentary, and enough lies about those truths to be an unexpected delight. Presented by Orson Welles, the film posits an examination of forgery and fakery, and the illusion of truth it creates. As a subject, that’s a potent idea, but trust Welles’ to take an imposturous approach, with an impromptu feel and reporter’s tenor, and create something wholly new.



Studio: Criterion

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)

Subtitles: English SDH

Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 88 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray

Standard Clear Case (Criterion)

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 10/21/2014

MSRP: $39.95




The Production Rating: 4/5

“Why not? I’m a charlatan.”


Orson Welles’ F for Fake presents an examination, in semi-documentary form, of fraudsters and fakers of such cleverness and giftedness that the layers upon which Welles descends to tell their ‘story,’ becomes a part of the story itself. A mixture of truth and fiction, as subjects Clifford Irving – who famously wrote the fake biography of Howard Hughes, and Elmyr de Hory – notorious art forger, are interviewed and speak about their craft; their extraordinary and bold talents. Welles, appearing on camera as a mischievous storyteller, weaving in ideas and questions on authenticity, reality, trust, and the relationship between art and viewer, is a masterful guide through the hall of mirrors that is F for Fake.

Wholly unique in filmdom, F for Fake is exactly what it presents itself to be in the opening moment. Welles advises the audience that they will be lied to, and that what they are about to see is true. At once we are thrown the ultimate choice between door A and door B – one apparently means that the lies are true, the other that the truth are lies. And Welles, with his last completed film, offers the ultimate deception of the filmed art in those opening moments. This is a surprising, intelligent, escapist jaunt into trickery and illusion, fleeting scenes bouncing around, bursts of self-indulgence, knowing glances at Welles’ own career (his famous radio reading of War of the Worlds,) and a meandering sensibility undisturbed by conventions or of aligning to traditional approaches to the narrative.

To say that F for Fake received a chilly critical reception upon its initial release would not be an understatement. The film was criticized for its confusing technique, and for not, to paraphrase, feeling like an Orson Welles’ film. But Welles intelligence and desire to create a kind of film not seen before (since referred to as a film essay, though even that doesn’t measure to the end product of F,) surely should be applauded for having, after a long, storied career, the resolve to surprise audiences with something this audacious.

There’s a certain genius at play in this un-Wellesian film. A curious exploration of a subject by becoming an example of that subject. Without equal in its time, F for Fake, is a brilliant blast; a sanguine, playful pool of lies and deceit, in the form of a documentary that isn’t a documentary. Welles assembles the pieces at times in a way the feels like tailored expressionism, spinning with intelligence and a disregard for expectation. The line, “Everything in this film strictly based on the available facts” is the indeed the first and greatest lie.



Video Rating: 4.5/5  3D Rating: NA

This Criterion release of F for Fake retains and delights in the grain of the film. Presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.66:1. The new transfer, supervised by assistant editor Dominique Engerer, comes from a 35mm interpositive. The image has been cleaned up of dirt, debris, scratches, etc., resulting in a great deal of detail and impressive (though muted, part of the decade and original film) colors. A fine looking image, a marked improvement over the DVD, and the best looking way to see this film.



Audio Rating: 4/5

Using the original monaural soundtrack, remastered at 24-bit from the 35mm magnetic master, the audio is beautifully crisp and superbly represents Welles’ legendary voice – cheeky and serious – as narrator and guide. The winding nature of the film comes with flavors of music and that, courtesy of Michel Legrand, is nicely presented with good depth for the source.



Special Features Rating: 4/5

A pleasing collection of extras, including the famed 9-minuted trailer (rejected) featuring entirely different footage from that included in the released film. As with the best of Criterion’s special features, this includes materials that further examines the subject in the film (in addition to the subject of the film,) as is an interesting addendum.

Audio commentary from 2005 by cowriter and star Oja Kodar and director of photography Gary Graver

Introduction from 2005 by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich

Orson Welles: One-Man Band, a documentary from 1995 about Welles’s unfinished projects

Almost True: The Noble Art of Forgery, a fifty-two-minute documentary from 1997 about art forger Elmyr de Hory

60 Minutes interview from 2000 with Clifford Irving about his Howard Hughes autobiography hoax

Hughes’s 1972 press conference exposing Irving’s hoax

Extended, nine-minute trailer

Another fine essay, here written by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum



Overall Rating: 4/5

F for Fake is an unusual, infectious experiment. A deliberate obfuscation of truth, exploring a fascinating subject in a brilliantly cheeky way, and was largely ahead of its time. Appreciation today of filmmaker and actor Orson Welles may cast some fondness over this film, but F for Fake earns its appreciation honestly and certainly stands as a bold, expertly staged burst of originality.


Reviewed By: Neil Middlemiss


Support HTF when you buy this title:

 

Ruz-El

Fake Shemp
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2002
Messages
12,539
Location
Deadmonton
Real Name
Russell
Another great review! I've been waiting for this one to hit blu, it shall be mine next month!

Now we need that Confidential Report set!
 

Oblivion138

Second Unit
Joined
Jun 13, 2012
Messages
413
Real Name
James O'Blivion
Agreed on Mr. Arkadin...one of the few Criterion releases I still have on DVD. Would love to upgrade.

And I have to point out, this film is titled F for Fake...not F is for Fake.
 

Neil Middlemiss

Premium
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2001
Messages
5,321
Real Name
Neil Middlemiss
Oblivion138 said:
Agreed on Mr. Arkadin...one of the few Criterion releases I still have on DVD. Would love to upgrade.

And I have to point out, this film is titled F for Fake...not F is for Fake.
Thank you for that. I can only surmise that, as the father of a 2.5 year old with the Sesame Street Alphabet song in heavy rotation recently ("O is for Oscar, P is for Poodle....",) that the cadence of that song influenced my thinking ;)
 

Angelo Colombus

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2009
Messages
3,412
Location
Chicago Area
Real Name
Angelo Colombus
One of my first Criterion laserdisc was this film since i am a big fan of Welles and a great move too but you have to really pay attention to it since it moves fast with the editing and the dialogue. A easy buy and hope to see Chimes At Midnight released too on blu-ray.
 

Oblivion138

Second Unit
Joined
Jun 13, 2012
Messages
413
Real Name
James O'Blivion
Neil Middlemiss said:
Thank you for that. I can only surmise that, as the father of a 2.5 year old with the Sesame Street Alphabet song in heavy rotation recently ("O is for Oscar, P is for Poodle....",) that the cadence of that song influenced my thinking ;)
Completely understandable. haha Great review, Neil! I'm really looking forward to this upgrade.
 

Keith Cobby

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
4,526
Location
Kent "The Garden of England", UK
Real Name
Keith Cobby
I received the Eureka DVD as a birthday gift. I thought it was an extremely poor film with the exception of the conjuring at the beginning. Orson Welles would have been a brilliant stage illusionist. This is a very long way from Citizen Kane. I would rather have watched an hour and a half of his sherry commercials.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Sign up for our newsletter

and receive essential news, curated deals, and much more







You will only receive emails from us. We will never sell or distribute your email address to third party companies at any time.

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Threads
356,951
Messages
5,126,957
Members
144,214
Latest member
filmfan101
Recent bookmarks
0
Top