Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Biopic > Biography > Music > Arts > Family > Italian > Francis Coppola’s Tetro (2009/Lionsgate Blu-ray + DVD)

Francis Coppola’s Tetro (2009/Lionsgate Blu-ray + DVD)


Picture: B/B-     Sound: B/B-     Extras: B-     Film: B-



Francis Coppola’s comeback with personal films continues with Tetro, a semi-autobiographical feature that once again has him in the territory of dealing with family.  Released in 2009, it was not seen as much as it should have been and now is on Blu-ray and DVD from Lionsgate.  His third major black and white feature since establishing himself as an auteur, it is his first monochrome movie since 1983’s Rumble Fish, but he decides to use the approach for a personal screenplay and not a literary adaptation.


Vincent Gallo is the title character, though he also has another name, but he does not want to use it or be called it.  He wants to forget, but his younger brother Bennie (Alden Ehrenreich, practically channeling a young Leonardo DiCaprio) visits and becomes the return of the repressed.  This forces Tetro to deal with his personal pain, his problematic relationship with his musically, artistically successful father (Klaus Maria Brandauer) and his future.  Tetro’s girlfriend Miranda (Maribel Verdu) gets caught in the midst of it all.


After the longings of energy in the face of aging in Youth Without Youth (reviewed elsewhere on this site), this is much different work with a higher energy level and pace that will remind many of Coppola’s earlier works.  You can see how he handles family in a uniquely natural way, in part because he is an autuer, but there is also a sense he is repeating himself a bit even if it is in minor ways.  The cast is great, the look of the feature just fine down to the locations, clothes & sets and that makes it three solid features in 12 years for the master filmmaker.


Though little new ground is broken, very personal thoughts and feelings are expressed and sometimes boldly so when you think about the man who made this.  When it comes to Italian families, Coppola tends to be less gritty than Martin Scorsese (though I am not suggesting some absurd dichotomy like Northern Italy/Southern Italy or Los Angeles/New York), but also takes place in more serene space that somehow finds sound in quietness.  That too is all over Tetro, which is another reason you should see it.


The 1080p digital High Definition image offers various aspect ratios, but what is amazing here is how good this 1080p/24 High Definition shoot looks.  The color footage is 1.85 X 1 and looks somewhat like HD, but the black and white that makes up the majority of what you see is amazing, especially when compared to the black and white film of Good Night & Good Luck (commercial black & white film with no silver content) or the black & white scenes in the HD-shot The Mist that did not quite pull off the real black & white look Coppola and Director of Photography Mihai Malaimare Jr. (from Youth Without Youth) pull off here; superior to both productions.  This looks like real black and white film with silver and the Video Black is amazing throughout.  Not easy to pull off, it is a landmark in such HD production, but only a genius like Coppola with his superior experience with all kinds of film could have pulled it off.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD also looks good for the format, but cannot match the Blu-ray in its richness.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Blu-ray has the usual great sound design we always get from any Coppola film, made even better by Walter Murch, who also edited the image.  Osvaldo Goliljov also offers another effective score.  The result is a pure cinematic experience and note the use of silence as effective as any of the advanced sound design giving us one of the smartest sound mixes of the year and any serious film fan and/or home theater fan needs to get this Blu-ray just for the DTS.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD is also not bad, but cannot compete against the DTS on the Blu-ray despite its articulation, it is just too limited.


Extras in both format versions include full end credits, six featurettes (Osvaldo Goliljov: Music Born From The Film, Mihai Malaimare Jr.: The Cinematography, The Ballet, The Rehearsal Process, La Colifata: Siempre Fui Loco, Fausta: A Drama In Verse) and another great feature length audio commentary track by Coppola, this time joined by Ehrenreich.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com