The second version of Cornell Woolrich’s novel “Waltz Into Darkness” (previously filmed by François Truffaut’s Mississippi Mermaid), this is a decidedly steamier version, especially here, in its unrated form.
Cuban plantation owner Antonio Banderas advertises for a wife, and the woman who answers his ad is, he believes, plain but pure. What shows up, however, is the beautiful but duplicitous Angelina Jolie, who has larceny rather than matrimony on her mind. Her scam runs smoothly at first,…but she hasn’t counted on the depth of Banderas’ obsession with her.
Okay, okay, you probably want to know about the unrated footage. It’s pretty explicit stuff, not so much for what is shown than for the acts that are taking place. There. Happy now?
I’m writing this during an unusually cold March in Winnipeg, but the sound was enough to make me feel I was in the hot, steamy Cuban settings. Very nice surround environment, especially during the crowd scenes (voices rising first from the rear, then the front left, and so on). The dialogue is crystal clear, and the music sounds terrific as well. Very warm sound on the Gloria Estefan video too.
The picture format is 2.35:1 enhanced, and is razor sharp. I saw no artifacting problems, and no pixellation. The colours are good, though slightly artificial (Jolie’s skin has a rather unflatteringly pale tinge when she first shows up), and so the picture is just a few hair’s breadths away from looking quite as sumptuous as it should. But still, very, very close.
The menu is has a fully animated and scored main page and transitions, and the other pages are still and silent. The commentary by writer/director Michael Cristofer covers just about everything you might want to know about the making of the film, the locations, how the casting came about (Jolie wore the right dress to the Golden Globes, and that was enough for the studio to green-light her participation), the difficulties in shooting the sex scene, and so on and so forth. Cristofer is articulate, though speaks rather slowly (at first sounding like he’s tired). The other extras are minor: Gloria Estefan’s “You Can’t Walk Away from Love” video, an animated photo gallery (running less than three minutes) and trailers for Original Sin and Hart’s War.
Cristofer’s search for the right location in which to set the story pays off here in spades. The turn-of-the-century Cuban setting meshes nicely with the hot-house themes. Not a lot of extras on offer, but the commentary doesn’t leave too many questions unanswered.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary with Michael Cristofer
- “You Can’t Walk Away from Love” Video with Gloria Estefan
- Animated Photo Gallery
- Theatrical Trailers