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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Everything Is Illuminated (2005)

Everything Is Illuminated (2005)

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Released 3-May-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Deleted Scenes-Additional Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 101:10
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (35:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Liev Schreiber
Studio
Distributor
Warner Independent
Warner Home Video
Starring Eugene Hutz
Elijah Wood
Jonathan Safran Foer
Jana Hrabetova
Stephen Samudovsky
Ljubomir Dezera
Oleksandr Choroshko
Gil Kazimirov
Zuzana Hodkova
Mikki
Boris Leskin
Robert Chytil
Jaroslava Sochova
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Paul Cantelon


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Arabic
Dutch
Greek
Hebrew
Icelandic
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† Jonathan Safran Foer (Elijah Wood) has a rather unusual hobby. He likes to collect family memorabilia. Not just the usual photographs and heirlooms, but the downright bizarre. He places these cherished items in small plastic bags and pins then to a wall that resembles a shrine. His vast collection includes false teeth, scraps of food, soil and much more.

††† Just before his grandmother (Jana Hrabetova) passed away she handed Jonathan an old photograph that his grandfather wanted him to have. The photograph shows his grandfather standing with another woman in a field. On the reverse is the handwritten message ďAugustine and me, Trachimbrod, 1940Ē. Jonathanís Jewish grandfather, Safran Foer, was born in the Ukraine in 1921 and fled to America with the assistance of Augustine to avoid Nazi persecution.

††† Jonathan decides to travel to the Ukraine to find Augustine and thank her for helping his grandfather escape. He travels to the Ukraine to join Heritage Tours, a small family run business that assists rich Jewish Americans trace their pre-war heritage. Jonathan is meet at the train station by Alexander Perchov (Eugene Hutz), his grandfather (Boris Leskin) and Sammy Davis Jr. Jr., the ďseeing eye b****Ē.

††† The first half of the movie is a hilarious clash of cultures and Eugene Hutzís character, Alexander Perchov, would be right at home amongst the cast of Fat Pizza. By contrast, the second half of the movie conveys a far more serious message, one that will leave you thinking.

††† In his directorial debut Liev Schreiber has demonstrated his ample ability to create movies that break out of the Hollywood mould. Based on the Jonathan Safran Foer novel of the same name, Everything Is Illuminated takes the viewer on a surreal journey that is typified by its stylistic cinematography, such as the farmhouse surrounded by sunflowers at 59:30.

††† Recommended for discerning viewers.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† The video transfer is very good with just the occasional hint of aliasing.

††† The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. This is very close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

††† The image is sharp and the shadow detail is good. Blacks appear black and there is no low level noise.

††† The colour palette is wonderfully vibrant which lends itself to the often surreal quality of the cinematography. The lush Ukrainian countryside is wonderfully green.

††† There are no MPEG artefacts or film artefacts to be found. As mentioned above, mild aliasing is a problem at times but fortunately it isnít too intrusive. An example of the aliasing can be seen in the flag poles at 18:07.

††† Subtitles are available in English, Arabic, Dutch, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic and English for the Hearing Impaired. All Russian and Ukrainian speech is accompanied by permanent English subtitles.

††† This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring at 35:00. Coming at the end of a scene shot in the dark the layer change goes completely unnoticed.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† The audio transfer is very good.

††† There are two audio tracks available. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s) track and sampled the English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) track.

††† The dialogue comes across loud and clear at all times, though Alexander Perchovís English was often difficult to understand due to his strong Ukrainian accent. I did not notice any problems with audio sync on this DVD.

††† The musical score by Paul Cantelon is refreshingly up beat and provides a typical Eastern European flavour. At times it practically carries the movie on its own, compensating for what is in places a slow plot.

††† Everything Is Illuminated is dialogue driven so the surround channels donít have a lot to do other than support Paul Cantelonís musical score, which they do well.

††† The subwoofer didnít have a lot of work to do but its presence was noticed on a few occasions, such as the gun shot and thunderclap at 79:22.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† There are a limited number of extras to be found on this DVD. The Additional Scenes are entertaining but I feel the movie could use a commentary track by director Liev Schreiber.

Menu

††† The usual anti-piracy ads precede the main menu, which is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. Although the menu is not animated, it is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track.

Descriptive Audio Track

††† Everything Is Illuminated is accompanied by a Descriptive Audio Track that offers an even handed female voice describing the on-screen scene elements and characters within. It is similar in format to the Descriptive Audio Track found on the Region 4 release of Sin City.

Additional Scenes - Deleted Scenes (18:45)

††† The Additional Scenes are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, though they are not 16x9 enhanced. English, Arabic, Dutch, Greek, Hebrew, and Icelandic subtitles complement the English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track.

††† The Additional Scenes included are The Collector, Premium Dancer, The Gorky Tickle, Officious Seeing Eye B****, Breakfast, 400 Words For Snow and The Collector Part 2.

††† For once I actually enjoyed watching what would normally be called deleted scenes. They are lengthy, well crafted and add to character development, particularly Eugene Hutzís character, Alexander Perchov. In fact each scene would have sat well within the movie though I can see why they were collectively removed in order to maintain the pace.

Theatrical Trailer (2:21)

††† This high quality theatrical trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. English, Arabic, Dutch, Greek, Hebrew, and Icelandic subtitles complement the English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

††† The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

††† The Descriptive Audio Track provides little more than novelty value to non sight impaired viewers so I consider both the Region 1 and Region 4 versions to be equal.

Summary

††† Everything is Illuminated has much to offer the discerning viewer but I feel it may miss the mark with many people. Among its pluses are the off-beat humour, surreal characters, cinematography, and musical score. However, its style of humour wonít appeal to everyoneís liking and the plot moves along quite slowly in places.

††† The video transfer is very good with just the occasional hint of aliasing.

††† The audio transfer is very good.

††† There are a limited number of extras to be found on this DVD, with the Additional Scenes being the highlight.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Aaron Devereaux (read my bio)
Friday, June 16, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-533K, using Component output
DisplayInFocus Screenplay 7200 with ScreenTechnics 100" (16x9) screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC -A11SR
SpeakersJamo D6PEX wall mounted Speakers and Powered Sub (7.1)

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