Plot: What’s it about?
Now, this film’s storyline isn’t that easy to summarize, so while my efforts might seem lame, rest assured, the film isn’t. Izzy (Harvey Keitel) is a jazz musician, who ends up on the wrong end of a stray bullet, and event that changes his life forever. When you play the saxophone, you need both hands and both lungs, of which Izzy only has one of each to use, so he sees his prospects of returning are grim. But he does recover every so slowly, and no sooner does he get better something else unusual happens to him, he finds a dead body. On this corpse Izzy finds a mysterious stone, which he is somehow convinced has some nature of power, and a slip of paper with a phone number on it. The digits belong to young actress in training Celia (Mira Sorvino), and sparks fly as soon as they meet. Izzy does his best to further Celia’s acting career, and then things take a turn for the worse, as some thugs come looking for the stone. Just what power or allure does the stone have, and why are these men so desperate to retain it?
The reason I chose to review this disc is the fact that I love the writing style of this film’s writer/director Paul Auster, whose work I loved in Smoke and Blue In The Face. Between his wonderful style and the loaded cast, I figured this would be at worst a decent movie. While this film is different in tone than those previous films I mentioned, Auster’s focus on characters is present in this movie. The simpler appeal of those films is absent however, with this film placing Auster’s characters in unusual and almost supernatural situations, very cool stuff. I think this film excels in the character driven segments, but falters somewhat on normal plot twists, which sometimes seem forced. But the characters are always crisp and fleshed out, which picks up some of the slack the rest of the writing leaves behind. If you’re a fan of Auster’s style, you’ll want to check this out, as it has some prospects his earlier never offered. Even if you don’t know anything about Auster, but enjoy romantic mysteries, this disc is more than worth your time.
This film was written and directed by Paul Auster, who also wrote the excellent films Smoke and Blue In The Face. Auster also directed the latter, and his superb characters and dialogue make this film shine like the others I mentioned. His writing style puts emphasis on unique characters and normal dialogue that never fails to keep me glued to the screen. The lead roles in this film are played by Harvey Keitel and Mira Sorvino, who are electric here and mesh very well into their characters. Keitel (Pulp Fiction, From Dusk ‘Til Dawn) is perfect for this type of film, as he worked with Auster on both Smoke and Blue In The Face, he’s as good here as he was in those movies. While Keitel has played his fair share of tough guys, but he makes the transition to romantic type quite well. While I am not a fan of Mira Sorvino (Summer of Sam, Free Money), she did impress me here with a subtle, but powerful performance. The supporting cast includes Willem Dafoe (The Last Temptation Of Christ), Gina Gershon (Black & White, The Insider), Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride), Vanessa Redgrave (Cradle Will Rock), and Lou Reed (Blue In The Face).
Video: How does it look?
Lulu On The Bridge is presented in a full frame transfer. I couldn’t find the original aspect ratio, but I didn’t notice any image loss, so I assume this is not pan and scan. The colors seem bright, but tend to distort a little at times, although flesh tones are consistent and natural. The contrast is good most of time, but has lapses here and there, which can be a tad distracting. This transfer also shows some slight compression errors, but the overall image is average, although not much better than that.
Audio: How does it sound?
The overall audio experience is quite good, although surround use is moderate at best. This movie uses characters and dialogue to a massive extent, so the front channels are called into active duty for most of the running time, with the surrounds playing second fiddle. There is some activity present, mostly concerning the soundtrack, so the surrounds aren’t silent.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release contains an excellent audio commentary with Auster, producer Peter Newman, director of photography Alik Sakharov, and editor Tim Squyres. This track has a nice blend of production tidbits, technical info, and humorous anecdotes. If you enjoyed the film, make sure you give this audio commentary a spin as well. A gallery of four deleted scenes is also included.