DVD Review HTF REVIEW: The Rapture

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Elliott, Nov 3, 2004.

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  1. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    [​IMG]


    The Rapture


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    Studio: New Line
    Year: 1991
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 100 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1 Surround
    Subtitles: English, Spanish
    Retail Price: $19.95





    When The Rapture was released in the fall of 1991 there was a bit of controversy among the critics. Some hailed the film as a masterpiece while others cursed the theaters that would play it. Like most intelligent films that have something useful to say, New Line had a very hard time trying to promote the film and when they finally got it into theaters the only way was by selling it as some cheap sex film you might see on Cinemax late at night. The Rapture died a quick death making just over one million dollars but this little gem has finally been released on DVD so that people can see one of the more challenging films of the 90’s.

    The film opens up with Sharon (Mimi Rogers) working as an operator where for eight hours a day she is on the phone talking to a different person every fifteen seconds. She encounters thousands of people a day, most are people she will never know except for their voice. At night Sharon, along with her boyfriend, are going to various bars trying to track down other swingers to bring home for group sex. To Sharon this is the perfect life. She has no problems to deal with and no questions about her life.

    One day while at work Sharon overhears a group of people talking about the second coming of Jesus Christ. At first she plays this off but while in bed with a guy named Randy (David Duchovny) she begins to think about something. She isn’t quite sure what that something is but she rushes to the shower to cleanse herself when it hits her that she should be living her life for Jesus. Within the next six years she eventually marries Randy, has a child and is eventually called to the desert where she believes Jesus will make his second coming and take her home.

    The Rapture was written and directed by Michael Tolkin and the film is constantly asking if God is just using humans as some sort of plaything. That’s one of the key elements to the story and while watching the film I kept asking myself if Token was using the viewers as a plaything. The film opens with casual sex and then leads us on a journey, like life, that is full of ugliness as well as redemption. Up until the end I kept wondering if the director would go all out with his message or if he’s leave the viewer at a standstill but thankfully the film manages to ask questions as well as give answers.

    Since the begin of moviemaking there have always been films that dealt with Christianity but quite often I found them to be rather poor money gimmicks that give us answers without asking any serious questions. The Rapture on the other hand takes a very serious look at Religion and those who believe in the power of that it promises. There aren’t any cute scenes with Moses nor any scenes with God racing in to save the day but instead, the film makes each person watching make up their own minds. Everyone is going to have a different reaction to the film, the questions it asks you and the answers that it gives.

    The worst thing in life and in film is that quite often people or directors are so timid that they are afraid to really be honest about anything or ask any questions that they might not like to know the answer to. My grandfather was a preacher and I grew up in a church so it’s rather refreshing to see a film like this that shows both sides of the coin without putting either side down. In most films, if you believe in God then you are a saint, no questions asked. If you don’t believe then you’re automatically looked at as something evil, no questions asked. With this film both sides are looked upon as equal trying to figure a riddle out where there might not be a full answer.

    With a film like this it really doesn’t matter if you agree with what the characters are doing. Again, we’re all going to have our own beliefs just like Sharon does in the movie. To say this film reaches a personal level would be a bit of an under statement but I think it’s important that each viewer takes away their own answers to the questions asked. Director Tolkin paints a very depressing and sad picture of a woman who changes her life expecting to find something better but finds out that the same problems happen on both sides.

    Mimi Rogers is an actress I’ve never really been a fan of but she’s does a remarkable job here in a role that could have been one-dimensional. When we first see her she’s a bored phone operator who at night is swinging from various sex partners. Rogers does a very good job at showing the careless life the woman is leading but this isn’t done with words but instead various body movements as well as a look in her eye. When Sharon is eventually saved we get a different look in her eyes, which makes us believe the characters is having a different look on life. The same can be said in the third act when Sharon enters the desert waiting for the second coming of Jesus.

    The Rapture is a very bold film in many ways and much like a recently released religious film, it will certainly effect people in different ways. I’m sure many will leave the film hating Sharon and wishing the worst fate upon her while others might believe in what she’s does in that final act. It’s really impossible to keep your personal beliefs out while watching a movie like this and even though I personally don’t agree with some of her choices, that’s still not enough to dampen this incredible film that at the very least should get everyone’s respect for not playing sides and actually making the viewer think. If religion is suppose to make one think then I can only be thankful that the film allows the viewer to think for themselves and doesn’t try forcing a message down our throats.


    VIDEO---The movie is shown widescreen (1.85:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 TVs. Overall the transfer looks very nice for such a low budget film, although there are a few small issues. A few of the scenes, especially in the desert, have some dirt on them that isn’t too distracting but you can still tell it’s there. Edge enhancement is another problem, although those watching this on a screen under fifty-inches probably won’t notice it too much. Others will especially notice this during the desert scenes where there are a few moments where it appears there are halos around the characters. Just take a look at the scene where the mother and daughter are on top of the mountain when they think they hear a horn. Other than that the transfer appears accurate of what the film should look like. The film has a natural look to it and the colors are rather dim. The detail levels are fine and color tones appear accurate. This isn’t a very colorful film so don’t expect a beautiful look film.

    Another small note is that the layer change happens at the 59-minute mark and there’s a minor hiccup, which causes a small jump. There’s nothing missing in this jump but it’s rather distracting. I’m not sure if this will effect all players but it did happen on the two I tried the disc on.

    AUDIO---We get a Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1 and a Dolby Surround track. I compared the two 5.1 tracks and really couldn’t tell that much of a difference. For some reason I’m starting to believe that DTS is just used as some sort of marketing ploy without most tracks offering that much of a difference. The film is mostly dialogue driven and with that in mind, both tracks do an equal job. The dialogue is clear throughout and whenever sound effects are mixed in, none of them take away from the dialogue. The rear speakers actually get more action than the Surrounds especially in a few scenes involving horses. Other minor sound effects come from the rears, which is nice to hear. These scenes are the one case where the DTS has a very minor edge if you really pay attention.

    EXTRAS---You get the film’s original theatrical trailer, which is 16x9 enhanced. The only other extra is a commentary with director Michael Tolkin, Mimi Rogers, David Duchovny and Patrick Bauchau. The back of the case only says “Director commentary” as does the menu but all four are on the track. The four were recorded together and it’s quite a lively track full of details about the making of the film. It’s also interesting hearing the director talk about the various screenplays he wrote as well as some of the minor changes in other versions. The cast is very entertaining throughout giving their opinions on the film as well as the making of the movie. Fans should get a kick out of hearing all the people together.

    OVERALL---This is a wonderful little film that manages to ask questions, give answers but in the end let the viewer make up their own minds. I’m not sure I’d recommend this as a blind buy since I’m sure many will be turned off by the film but if you’re interesting in getting away from the typical Hollywood garbage then you’ll certainly want to view this for yourself. New Line delivers another very good DVD with a low retail price. The video and audio quality is very good considering the budget of the film and the commentary is a nice bonus.


    Release Date: November 2nd, 2004
     
  2. JeffMc

    JeffMc Supporting Actor

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    Fine review, Michael. You really nailed this one down without giving away too much for those who haven't seen it yet. This is an excellent film, especially for people who are bored with big Hollywood blockbusters. When I first saw the film years ago, I remember being shocked at how far it went. Haunting stuff!
     
  3. John_McKittrick

    John_McKittrick Stunt Coordinator

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    Michael,

    After your ROTK review I didn't really care for your reviews. But you nailed this one. Great Review. Great film.
     
  4. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    Nice review. I absolutely adore this overlooked masterwork, and it was the last of my top 10 not available on DVD. I am so happy to finally have this, and was very pleasantly surprised when it was announced for release. The DVD is very pleasing, and Christmas truly came early for me with this one.
     
  5. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    Michael: did you spot Kane Hodder in the film? [​IMG]

    DJ
     
  6. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Damin, I didn't even realize Hodder was in the film but I'll certainly keep on eye open the next time I watch it. However, I probably wouldn't notice him outside the makeup.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Thanks for the review. I'd not heard of this movie, but your review has intrigued me. I hope to rent it in the near future.
     
  8. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Michael, nice review. [​IMG]

    How about a review of another recent New Line release, Proof? That's another little gem that could use the exposure. [​IMG]
     
  9. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    This is an amazing film, and has long been one of my favorites. I am fascinated by the concept of how anything can be made destructive when it is taken too far, and The Rapture demonstrates it so well.

    This film also has one of the most amazing final scenes I've ever seen.
     
  10. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    BTW Michael, maybe you didn't notice, but at the end of the movie, after Mimi Rogers' final line, the audio track actually disappears. It's an interesting and fitting move, but had me wondering what was going wrong at first.
     
  11. Geremia P.

    Geremia P. Stunt Coordinator

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    With The Rapture's release, my VHS collection is now a thing of the past.

    By the way, does anyone know why so few e-tailers are carrying it? None of my three regular sites, Deep Discount, Digital Eyes or DVD Planet have it in their systems.

    It's an obscure movie, but not that obscure.
     
  12. StevenFC

    StevenFC Second Unit

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    Mimi Rogers naked. Good.

    The Rapture. Bad. Very very bad.
     
  13. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Well, she's not that naked in it. Go watch Full Body Massage for that. Pulled from my encyclopedic memory of who gets naked in what. [​IMG]
     
  14. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Nice constructive thread crap Steven.
     
  15. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Just doing my part to enlighten the uninformed. [​IMG]
     
  16. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    No, not you Steve. I was referring to StevenFC.
     
  17. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    I was blown away by this one back when it came out. (And I'm not Christian, so keep in mind that being Christian isn't required to enjoy this film.) I highly recommend it. (Although it may be more of a rental for many people due to the controversial and shocking subject matter.)

    Great to see it finally come out, and with a commentary no less!
     
  18. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    I should hope not. Writer/Director Michael Tolkin is Jewish.

    DJ
     
  19. Steve_AS

    Steve_AS Second Unit

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    DVDplanet lists it as 'discontinued' already ! What gives?
    I'm having a hard time finding this one anywhere.
     
  20. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    DVD Empire currently has it listed in stock, but they didn't have it on the street date. I suspect this wasn't pressed in large quantities and won't be repressed once the initial supply is exhausted. That may become more common with smaller titles that aren't expected to sell to a huge audience.

    Best Buy had it on their website with a specific notation that it wasn't available for in-store pickup (and my local Best Buy didn't get any copies).


    It's the same commentary that was recorded for the laser disc. One of the more interesting revelations is that Mimi Rogers' back was out for most of the production. That, plus recent emotional turmoil (she doesn't specify but it's obviously her divorce from Tom Cruise), contributed a lot to her performance.

    She also says that the line "'D' -- as in 'dick'" during one of the operator scenes was an ad lib, and Tolkin had to cut immediately after the line because everyone in the cast and crew cracked up.

    Casting trivia: Fans of Angel should keep an eye out for Carole Davis (she's the one with tatoos), who most recently played the head of the Rome office of Wolfram & Hart.

    M.
     

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