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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Casanova (2005)

Casanova (2005/Heath Ledger)


Picture: B ††††Sound: B ††††Extras: B- ††††Film: C



Iíve said it before and Iíll say it againÖ Lasse Hallstrom is one director that just gets under my skin like no other.I had odd feelings for his 2005 film An Unfinished Life (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and interestingly enough he managed to also direct in the same year the film under review here: Casanova.The film stars Heath Ledger and he is making it more difficult for me to really appreciate as an actor.He makes a good film and then for some reason makes a few bad ones, which go against my graces.I enjoyed his work in Monsters Ball and even in Brokeback Mountain, but then he makes films like The Brothers Grimm and the painful-to-watch A Knights Tale.While Casanova is not near the cinematic catastrophe that was A Knights Tale it certainly isnít a masterpiece and will quickly fall into the forgettable film pile.


Here we have Heath playing a hopeless romantic who is trying to win the love of one specific Venetian woman, but ends up failing.The rest of the film is devoted to his determination and our ability to try not to fall asleep and/or find something better to do with our time instead of watching this so-called romantic comedy unfold.Donít worry though because Heath Ledger is not the only wasted talent, but the film manages to misuse Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, Lena Olin, and a few others.Part of the problem with the film rests in itís rating, which is R for certain sexual situations, which is quite shocking.I never felt like any of the situations lent themselves to an R rating, but stayed pretty well near the PG-13 vibe.Whatever the case, the film should have been cut to get the PG-13 rating because only people that are about 13 will really find this film at all charming.I suppose itís more of a chic-flick, but thatís just an excuse for a poor film to be considered acceptable.


Shot in Super 35 at the 2.35 X 1 scope aspect ratio and anamorphically enhanced for this DVD presentation the film looks pretty good and would probably reap the benefits on formats like Blu-ray or HD-DVD.Colors are well saturated and detail is never too soft.Whites look bright and darks are well rendered.Skin tones are also accurate and the entire film is shot with more of a saturated and slightly over-the-top type of style.Oliver Stapleton B.S.C.ís camerawork does the film well since itís essentially a period and piece and actually helps make the film work a bit more than it would in the hands of a lesser cameraman.


The DTS 5.1 and Dolby 5.1 mixes are good, but the DTS adds a much richer soundfield that we have come to love about DTS in general.Dialogue is spread well across the front sound stage with the surrounds become activated during musical cues and certain other appropriate moments throughout.Itís great to see a romantic comedy take the advantages of DTS instead of that benefit resting solely on action films.Comedies need to sound just as good!


Extras are plentiful as we get a Ďmaking ofí feature, an in-depth look at the costumes of the film, an extended sequence called ďHidden in Plain SightĒ, a short documentary-type of feature about re-creating the 18th century and more specifically Venice.There is also commentary provided by none else than Lasse himselfÖyippee.He is not exactly the most interesting person to listen to when it comes to talking about his films, but oh wellÖitís on the disc for those indulgent enough to check it out.


While this film wonít stick in the minds of most that certainly didnít dissuade the studio from putting hard work into their DVD edition, which should please those that did enjoy the film and thatís worthy to note.



-†† Nate Goss


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