I had heard a lot about this movie before it was released and was really excited to see it. The Director, the story, the stars, it all pointed towards being an excellent movie. Thing is, I never saw it in the cinema, and it’s taken until now to see it on DVD.
In the meantime many of my friends have seen it and I’ve heard differing reports, but all ranging from really good to excellent. So when I finally got hold of it on DVD I was slightly disappointed.
Firstly the DVD has hardly anything on it. Yes, it does have a DTS audio track to complement the Dolby Digital track, and it is a really good quality recording, and there is a nice little documentary with some snips from the filming and words from the stars and Director, but that’s it.
Then the big problem I found with the film was actually following the story. The director and writer have chosen to make this movie quite disjointed, leaping around the timeline of the story for dramatic effect. Now at times you can understand why, and it actually aides the storytelling, there are some moments where you suddenly make connections and there’s truly a wow factor. Yet for the most part of the movie there’s just a feeling that this style is just totally over done.
If you can put that to the side and watch the rest of the movie, you are rewarded for it. The story, disjointed or not, is really strong and engaging. As for the acting, well I’m never surprised by Sean Penn as he’s excellent in everything he does, he’s such a natural and restrained actor. Benecio Del Toro was just as inspiring, giving an excellent lost performance. What was the most surprising for me was Naomi Watts, I had only previously seen her in Ring and she carried the role well but for me didn’t really have a chance to shine. This showed she can positively beam, and she outshone Penn in a few scenes.
Bear with the style and just get into the story, it’s excellent. The DVD however, is nothing great other than the DTS audio offering.