On the DVD cover of The Door in the Floor, the writing promises “surprises”, “shocks”, and “cuts like a knife”. One would think this movie would be a thriller. False advertising can get you nowhere. The Door in the Floor is far from a thriller, but more in the meditation on love, loss, and loneliness genre. Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger star as a dysfunctional married couple. Things are far from blissful. Bridges is a writer of children’s fiction; Basinger is, well, I’m not sure what she does. Bu… she sure is unhappy. She even takes up an affair with a young boy, played effectively by Jon Foster.
The movie is based on the first third of John Irving’s novel “A Widow for One Year”. It does feel a little like the first act of a much larger story. But the movie kinda works as a stand alone piece. Door covers some familiar territory (think In the Bedroom but without the murder). Basinger is good, but the movie is Jeff Bridges’ to own. He’s tortured but understated, rascally but sympathetic. The performance is one of the best of 2004. “The Dude” abides.
Dolby Digital 5.1. The movie is mostly dialogue driven, so the mix is front heavy. Rear speakers are mostly used for occasional environmental effects (the squash court scenes are well done). Music comes through clear and clean. The same can be said for the dialogue. Not too exciting audio mix, but well done.
At times the transfer looks gorgeous, at times it lacks clarity. But overall, the video does an excellent job of putting us in the lazy, hazy Hamptons. It sort of matches the foggy existence of the main characters. Some slight shimmering and edge enhancement, but it’s minor. 2:35:1 widescreen. I like the transfer, it’s got character.
There a few extras on this DVD. There’s a very well rounded commentary from the director, editor, cinematographer, and costume designer; we have an episode from Sundance’s “Anatomy of a Scene” (a scene from Door in the Floor obviously); there is a nice “making of featurette”; we also have a very informative interview with author John Irving on the process of adaptation (screenwriters check it out).
Don’t be taken in by false advertising. The Door in the Floor is a leisurely paced character study, not a heart in mouth thrill fest. The movie is a solid piece of filmmaking by newcomer Tod Williams. It makes me want to read the rest of John Irving’s novel. How’s that for sly book marketing.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Making-of Featurette
- Anatomy of a Scene
- “From Novel to Screen” Featurette on John Irving