Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on May 29th, 2004
Kate Beckinsale plays an art restorer. While working on her current commission, shediscovers a previously hidden inscription, which points to a murder conspiracy 500 years ago. Asshe tries to solve the mystery, whose key lies in the paintings depiction of a chess game, peoplearound her, connected in one way or another to the painting, begin to die. Is the past reaching outto wreak vengeance on the present? And who is the Black Queen?
I won’t tell you, except to say …hat the answer is painfully obvious. Based on The FlandersPanel, a novel by Arturo Perez-Reverte, author of The Ninth Gate, this is a much lesssuccessful film than Roman Polanski’s effort. The premise is intriguing, but the resolution isdeeply disappointing. Beckinsale’s character, furthermore, is so blinkered and pig-headed that wefeel very little sympathy, and consequently worry, for her.
A very strong 2.0 soundtrack, with every effort made to pump up the environmental effects.The surround work is excellent, and whether we are at a party or hearing the traffic of Barcelona,the sense of actually being there is nicely realized. The music sounds fine too, and there is nodistortion on the dialogue.
The picture is much less impressive, cropped to fullscreen as it is from the 1.85:1 originalaspect. The loss is made obvious by some very nice compositions around the edge of the frame inthe opening credits, which are widescreen. The colours are rather pale too, and the image is a bitsoft.
Trailers for The Punisher, The Big Empty, Step Into Liquid,Quicksand and Dracula’s Curse. Nothing to do with the feature itself.
Nice idea, disappointing execution. Nice to see such character actors as Michael Gough,however. Also, the film runs 102 minutes, not the indicated 112.
Special Features List