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HTF REVIEW: "Charlotte Gray" (with screenshots) - REPOSTED

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jun 18, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Ronald Epstein

    Charlotte Gray

    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 2001
    Rated: PG-13
    Film Length: 121 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)

    "War makes us into people
    we didn't know we were"

    It's so refreshing once in a while to have
    the opportunity to watch a movie like Charlotte
    Gray, a film that stands out amongst most of
    the mediocre films arriving on DVD in the next
    few weeks.
    Cate Blanchett is Charlotte Gray, an intelligent
    young Scottish woman trapped in wartime Europe
    during the 1940's. We quickly learn that Charlotte
    is fluent in French and has a fondness for France,
    having studied in Paris for several years.
    A chance meeting with a RAF pilot (Rupert Penry-Jones)
    changes her life as she quickly falls in love with
    the man only to find weeks later he was shot down
    over France whilst fighting for his country.
    Another chance meeting with a man from the British
    Ministry (initially under the pretence of inviting
    her to a book launch), results in Charlotte being
    drafted for SOE-style operations under-cover in
    France. This is her chance to use her knowledge of the
    french culture and language to not only help the
    French Resistance, but find the man she loves.
    Once in France, her cover name becomes Dominique,
    a woman from Paris with a POW husband. Julien
    (Billy Crudup) is the leader of the resistance team
    she is assigned to. Charlotte goes to the country to stay
    with Julien's father, Levarde (Michael Gambon) taking
    care of two Jewish boys that are in hiding. When
    she learns that her fighter pilot boyfriend is dead,
    she has nothing left but what is in France which
    she decides to fight for, despite the Nazi's that
    now occupy the small village she lives in.
    Charlotte Gray is just a superb film to
    watch for many reasons. Foremost, Cate Blanchard
    is absolutely stunning to watch for her effortless
    beauty and complexity that shows she is a great
    actress. There is also the great period detail
    captured by director Gillian Armstrong and
    cinematographer Dion Beebe.
    How is the transfer?
    I think that I screen more Warner product than
    any other studio, and anyone that has taken notice,
    knows that there is a consistency of superb
    transfers coming out of that studio on their new
    release product. Charlotte Gray joins that
    list of nearly flawless transfers.
    Picture has a very warm and soft feeling to it,
    rather than looking bold and sharp. While there
    is the slightest hint of video noise in some
    scenes, none of it becomes dominant in a picture
    that remains mostly crisp and detailed, even in
    the blue-filtered night scenes. Just a wonderful
    transfer that does justice to the beautiful shots
    of the pastoral French countrysides.
    The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is effective, yet never
    obtrusive. The rear speakers are used to emphasize
    certain points of the film such as gunshots and
    a train explosion. What I found surprising here was
    the activity in the LFE channel that brought out
    the strong rumble of German tanks rolling into the
    French village, or the roaring sound of a squad
    of Germans matching from the front to rear. A very
    robust soundtrack for a movie that is not particularly
    action orientated.
    Special Features
    A few extras have managed to make their way
    onto this DVD. It isn't much (aside from
    commentary), with less than 8 minutes of added
    First, there is a full-length audio commentary
    by Director Gillian Armstrong.
    A Village Revisits History looks at the
    quest to find the perfect location to bring a
    story to life. That location was St. Antonin
    Noble Val, near Toulouseof. It was the perfect
    location not only for the fact that it has remained
    virtually untouched for the past 50 years, but
    filmmakers also had access to the only period train
    in France with its own private line that ran through
    the town. The townsfolk were very patient with
    the film crews who had taken over, even appearing
    in one or two of the scenes. Many of the older
    residents of the village were weeping when they
    saw the recreation of German tanks entering their
    town. This was something they had all seen before.
    A very short, but interesting featurette.
    (length: 3.5 minutes)
    Living Through Wartime introduces us to
    the book's author, Sebastian Faulk, who takes us
    through the story of Charlotte Gray, aided
    by film clips and interview with Cate Blanchett.
    Director Gillian Armstrong thought the role was
    the best she has ever read for a woman, and felt
    that Blanchett was the perfect woman to fill that
    part. Blanchett talks about what it means to be
    an agent, dumped behind enemy lines, where there
    are absolutely no rules.
    (length: approx. 3.5 minutes)
    The extras are rounded out with a Cast & Crew
    Filmography as well as the Original
    Theatrical Trailer.
    Final Thoughts
    I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed
    watching Charlotte Gray. Though it may
    be considered another one of those strong-willed,
    independent women placed in difficult situations
    type of movies, this one seems to pull it off
    quite well.
    Release Date: July 9, 2002
  2. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

    Jun 19, 1999
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    Thanks for the review Ron.
    While critics weren't very kind to Charlotte Gray, I'll definetely rent this one specifically for the actors involved.
    Cate Blanchett is a tremendous actress and has impressed me in everything I've seen her in.
    Billy Crudup has also been providing some great performances over the last few years also.
    It's nice to see that Warner is still meeting their very high standards for video presentation.
  3. Jens Raethel

    Jens Raethel Second Unit

    Oct 27, 1998
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    Thanks for the review!

    Im going to get a copy of this movie, sounds great!
  4. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

    Jan 13, 2000
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    A great film; I saw it at the cinema a few months back, and look forward to the DVD. Now bring on Enigma!
    P.S. It's Cate Blanchett! Even one of the screenshots gets it wrong!! [​IMG] Sorry for being so pernickety!
  5. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

    Jan 11, 2001
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    I've never seen this movie, and had never heard of it until the DVD was announced, but upon reading reviews of it, I think I will rent it, and decide on possible purchase possibility later.

    I, too, am a fan of Cate Blanchett. Although her role in The Fellowship of the Ring is probably her most accessible role in an American picture, my favorite movies I've seen her in are, The Gift (Directed by Sam Raimi), and Elizabeth.

    For those of you who are a fan of Cate, and havent checked out either of those two movies, I HIGHLY recommend you at least rent them.
  6. Malcolm Cleugh

    Malcolm Cleugh Second Unit

    Jan 11, 2002
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    This is a film I would recommend if you like non-extreme violence war films. Went with US version as well as the films producers Channel 4 a UK company inflict rental windows on us here.

    Philip am also waiting for Enigma. This is out from Disney in the UK on 5th Aug with no extras whatsoever. It was however announced by Columbia this week for a US release on 24th Sept. Waiting with the hope they do something as good as their similar recent war film Dark Blue World.
  7. Trevor Bateman

    Trevor Bateman Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 2, 2002
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    I saw this and quite liked it, but isn't this the film that THEY are saying has sank Film Four films. I'd heard that it cost about $15 million and made squat. A shame! Shame! Shame! that this film is gonna be known for taking down a studio (albeit a small one).
  8. Hakan Powers

    Hakan Powers Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 13, 1999
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    Good review Ron, and an excellent movie.

    I still havn't picked the DVD up but inted to soon.

    Those of you who said you'd take a look at this, have you done so yet? What did you think of it?

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