Diabloique

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Plot turns, plot twists…ever since Quentin Tarintino made his debut…all of the sudden we don’t know what to expect from a movie anymore! While Diabloique disguises itself as just another thriller, it’s a little more than meets the eye. But more on that later…First, let’s start off with Sharon Stone. Stone, best known for her role as Kathryn Tremmel in Basic Instinct, Stone has gone on to a very successful movie career (though her recent movies might prove otherwise). With movies like Total Recall, Simpatico and Casino under her belt, she’s an actress who can make a low budget movie like diabloique and get away with it. Is Diabolique that bad? No. Could Sharon Stone have chosen a better part? Yes. The truth of the matter is that Sharon Stone, for all her acting ability, picked a character that could have been played by any woman who can play a cold, ruthless person (and that doesn’t exactly narrow it down when it comes to actresses). Diabolique is a type of movie that we’ve seen over and over again, but keep lining up to see again. Why?

We meet Mia (Isabelle Adajani), who is the wife of Guy Brown (Chazz Palminteri). Guy is the headmaster of a private school for troubled kids (though their families are evidently wealthy), and the school is the property of Mia, who was left the school in a will. It’s made quite obvious that Mia and Guy aren’t very happy with each other, and made even more obvious that Guy and Nicole (Sharon Stone) are having an affair…even the students know it! We’re never really meant to understand the way that Nicole works, we don’t know what her motivations are or why; but we do know that she is always cool, calm and collected. After the murder of Guy, Nicole and Mia think they have created the perfect crime, what other way to rid the one “bad” thing from their respective lives? It’s only until later in the week that they start getting clues that he might not be dead. Now this is where Diabolique takes off. Just when you think that it’s another “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, it takes off in a completely different direction. With Mia’s weakened heart (literally) and an intrusive detective hot on their tail, it’s an all out chase to see who’s right and what is going on.

Kathy Bates plays the nosy investigator, Shirley Vogel, as only she can play characters–down to earth. Towards the end we’re led to beleive that almost everyone’s a suspect, even a student who was watching Mia undress at the beginning of the movie has a convincing line or two. While Diabolique won’t (and didn’t) win any awards for originality, it will keep you on the edge of your seat for 100 minutes and keep you guessing as to who is doing what to whom.

Video: How does it look?

Warner’s Morgan Creek releases are often a very mixed batch. This release is presented in it’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is enhanced for Widescreen TV’s. This movie is a few years old, so it should look pretty good, especially since it has the advantage of a 16:9 transfer…well, it looks ok. A very dark movie, as evidenced by the cover of the DVD, there are some trouble spots with pixelation and a muted color scheme. While most scenes look great, there seems to be a blur over the whole movie. It lacks a crispness that a lot of movies have. Compare this to The Shawshank Remption or The Green Mile (both Warner titles) and the difference is night and day. Could have been better, could have been worse.

Audio: How does it sound?

Loud. Almost too loud. The mix was 5.1 in English and French, and it was loud! The channel seperation was clear and all channels were used a lot, but this mix was so active that it almost sounded like it was fake. What does ‘fake’ mean? It sounded like a normal Surround mix or 5.1 mix and then someone turned the volume up just because they could. I had to turn my volume way down just to get it to normal listening levels, and it was mostly the soundtrack that was the “culprit”. Aside from that, the dialogue was clear and I certainly had no trouble hearing what was going on. Overall, a good mix, but I’m not sure if it was the right one. The same problem existed in the French soundtrack as well…maybe this is just a loud movie?!

Supplements: What are the extras?

There is a link to the Morgan Creek website, a theatrical trailer and some cast bios, all of which are pretty informative. The animated menus are very neat, though they get old after a few clicks through the cycle, and lastly we’re treated to a 5 minute behind the scenes featurette. Hey, better than nothing. If you’re a fan of the film, this has most all you could ask for…

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