From seemingly out of nowhere comes this period piece, directed by Bruce (Driving Miss Daisy) Beresford.
This biopic tells the story of Alma Mahler, a fiercely independent woman in turn-of-the-century Austria. She is attracted by art and artists, and is successively wife of composer Gustav Mahler, lover (then wife) of architect Walter Gropius, lover of painter Oksar Kokoschka, and lover of novelist Franz Werfel. Alma’s love life is not a happy one, as each man seems dest…ned to become obsessed with her and to suffocate her own artistic aspirations.
The performances (led by Sarah Wynter, Jonathan Pryce and Vincent Perez) are first-rate, but the script is sometimes a bit choppy, propelling us into sudden character changes without clear motivation. The film is very pretty to look at, but lacks energy. The love scenes are particularly uninspired.
With so much music (largely Mahler, of course) being deployed, it is to be hoped that the audio track be up to the task, and it is. The music has been given a good strong mix, both front and rear, and the sound effects have a noticeable surround presence as well. There isn’t a pronounced left/right split, but overall the sound is very handsome indeed.
The image is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen format. The transfer is trouble free, with absolutely zero grain or image enhancement difficulties. The picture is very sharp, and if the colours are a trifle muted, the blacks are very strong. All in all, the picture is a nice match to the sound.
A still and silent menu gives you scene selection, language and subtitle options, but not a single extra. This is too bad. It would have been nice to learn a little something about the film.
The film looks and sounds very nice, but the package is a bit thin.
Special Features List