L' Appartement (The Apartment) (Madman Ent) (1996)
Main Menu Audio
|Year Of Production||1996|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Gilles Mimouni|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.66:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.66:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Max (Vincent Cassel) is a successful businessman living in France. He is about to be married to Muriel (Sandrine Kiberlain), his beautiful young fiancé. Over a lunch meeting, Max excuses himself to make a phone call only to find the only phone in the restaurant already occupied. He goes to the bathroom instead, and through the wall overhears the conversation of the young woman on the phone. It dawns on him that he knows her voice – it belongs to Lisa (Monica Bellucci), the woman Max was madly in love with before he went to New York and met Muriel. But before he can get out of the bathroom, she has disappeared, fleeing from the restaurant and into the street before he can confirm it was really her. Unable to pursue her with his fiancé and business partners waiting for him at the table, Max instead skips his flight to Tokyo later in the day and sets out into Paris to track her down. But instead of finding the woman he loved, he finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into a web of lies and deceit where the passions of the human heart leave a trail of wreckage.
The Apartment (L’Appartement) is a love story and a thriller, very reminiscent of Hitchcock’s Vertigo. With its classy style and sophisticated air, the film twists and turns through a non-linear plot that keeps you thinking right up until the end. Excellent performances by Vincent Cassel (who made his name in the classic La Haine, and who starred recently in The Crimson Rivers and Brotherhood Of The Wolf), Monica Bellucci (who also starred in Brotherhood Of The Wolf, and had a part in The Matrix: Reloaded), Jean-Philippe Ecoffey who plays Max’s best friend Lucien, and relative newcomer Romane Bohringer, draw you into the twisted lives of silent lovers whose passions are dictated by chance and coincidence, no matter how hard they try to take control of their own destiny by manipulating the circumstances of those around them.
Foreign cinema has so much to offer, and I find it oddly surprising that so few films are exported from France to our shores despite the huge film industry there. The Apartment, however, is definitely a cut above the rest – a taut and intriguing script, performances by an ensemble of very talented actors and actresses, and artful direction at the hands of Gilles Mimouni. Definitely worth picking up.
Presented in 1.66:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is the original aspect ratio.
The quality of the picture is good, although perhaps a little soft at times. It lacks the hard and crisp definition of more contemporary transfers, but there is no graininess to mar the picture. Shadow detail is very good.
Colours are fairly rich, but this transfer certainly lacks the glossy vibrancy of transfers of films such as Charlie’s Angels or the more recent Daredevil. That does not mean to imply that it is in any way washed out, just that there is more of a natural lighting effect present here.
MPEG artefacts are non-existent, and I was surprised by the lack of film-to-video artefacts. There may have been the faintest of aliasing at some points, but in all honesty, I spotted nothing that was in any way distracting.
There was a bit of dirt on the print in the early sequences, perhaps the first five minutes or so, but this quickly cleared up and except for the odd dot here and there for the rest of the transfer, it was very clean.
The subtitles are available in English only. They are yellow with black borders and are clear and easy to read at all times. There were no typos that I detected, and as far as I could tell they conveyed the general if not the specific meaning of what was being said throughout.
This is a single-sided, single-layered disc. There is no dual layer pause.
The only soundtrack available is a French 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo track.
The dialogue was clear enough, as French goes, and I detected no audio sync problems. I could tell from the inflections of tone the passions in the voices, which was the important part for someone like me who speaks little French.
The score, a haunting ensemble by composer Peter Chase, has quite a dynamic range here when turned up, and this adds a certain ambience and depth to the picture – intensifying the sense of mystery and the twisted revolutions these peoples’ lives take.
There is, sadly, no real surround presence and no subwoofer use.
|Surround Channel Use|
All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The main menu has a 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack.
Presented in 1.66:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo, this is fairly grainy, and, interestingly enough, has no subtitles.
A series of stills providing select filmographies for Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci, and Romane Bohringer.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There appears to be no R1 release.
The R2 French release has a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround soundtrack and a 5.1 DTS soundtrack available, as well as two extras – The Movie In 100 Photos and Test Screening: Cruelle Melopee.
The R2 UK Release appears identical to the R4 release except it is not 16x9 enhanced.
Obviously, the R2 French release is the way to go for serious fans of this movie, but for its cost effectiveness the R4 is still a good buy.
The Apartment is an endlessly intriguing movie which will keep you thinking for a long time after it is done. Highly recommended viewing.
The video is very good if a little soft at times.
The sound is fairly average, and it is a shame that the soundtrack from the R2 French release was not used.
The extras were basic.
|DVD||Panasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output|
|Display||Beko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Speakers||Energy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer|