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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2010

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"Tetro" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-june-2010-tetro

Synopsis

17-year old Bennie (Ehrenreich) travels to Argentina to find his older brother who has disowned his family and been out of touch for nearly ten years.  What he finds is a tortured and melancholy man carrying a tremendous load of guilt and anguish.  As Bennie learns more about his own past and his family, he discovers Tetro (Gallo) is a writer of genius caliber.  He secretly takes the writings which are scribbled backwards on scraps of paper and assembles them into a play.  Tetro discovers this and turns Bennie out of the house.  Bennie completes the play and enters it in a prestigious competition hosted by the larger-than-life literary critic, Alone.  Hoping to save his brother, he instead learns some shocking things about himself.  In the end, he is forced to choose who his real family is.

 

Specifications

  • Lions Gate Films
  • 2009, Black & White and Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 7 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Vincent Gallo, Alden Ehrenreich, Maribel Verdu, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Carmen Maura
  • Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence:  No
  • Sex:  Yes and nudity
  • Language:  Mild

Commentary

I’m going to avoid the word “movie” in this review.  Once you see it, you’ll understand why.  This is one of the most beautifully artistic examples of film I’ve ever seen.  The story is a touching tragedy that shows how selfishness can affect others around you.  The tortured artist character may be a bit cliché but as the plot unfolds, I quickly forgot that fact.  The raw emotion portrayed by the fine actors was a inspiring to witness.  Not a single character was weak either in performance or as a part of the story.  Dialog is by far the driving force here and I found myself hanging on every word.  I read a quote from another review claiming “Coppola’s best since Apocalypse Now.”  I would wholeheartedly agree.  Any collector of fine art films will want to add Tetro to their library.

Technical

The entire film is shot in black & white with the exception of the flashback sequences.  These are shot with a very warm color palette and framed in a center-screen window, evoking a home-video feeling.  The camera is mostly static which makes for a razor-sharp picture.  Detail is superb and combined with fantastic lighting makes for one of the most visually appealing films I’ve ever seen.  Blacks are deep and rich creating a great sense of depth.  Contrast is used perfectly to highlight the important elements of each scene.  Detail is never crushed at either end of the brightness scale.

The sound is truly reference-quality.  In addition to crystal-clear dialog, the ambient sounds of the city are presented in exquisite detail.  It was as if I were sitting in Tetro’s apartment watching the story unfold.  The surrounds and sub are used extensively to envelope the listener in each environment.  I recommend watching this in a very quiet setting.  There are many soft dynamics that will be lost if there is any ambient noise.  If you have such a viewing room, you will find Tetro sounds even better than it looks.

Extras

Bonus features consist of six featurettes covering the music, dance, rehearsal process and other aspects of the film’s production.  There is also audio commentary with Coppola and actor Alden Ehrenreich.