The Mexican (Rental) (2001)

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Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 118:18
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (69:43) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Gore Verbinski
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Brad Pitt
Julia Roberts
James Gandolfini
Case ?
RPI Rental Music Alan Silvestri


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Carlos Lacamara shouting& Julia Roberts whispering

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Mexican is one of those curious films that actually manages to transcend labels and genres. It's not quite a romantic comedy, it's not quite a caper film, or a road trip, action flick, adventure, gangster/mob drama, but somehow has elements of all of the above.

    The film starts with a Los Angeles streetscape at an intersection, and while the camera focuses on the traffic light we get to hear the sound of a car accident. Much later in the film, we find out who was involved in the accident, which turns out to be quite crucial to the storyline. Most of the other plot elements are related or explained in the same way. The film's storyline is structured like an onion; we start off knowing nothing, and gradually the layers peel apart and we slowly see the pieces of the jigsaw joining together. Incidentally, the character played by Brad Pitt also goes through the same process - he starts off being completely clueless and over the course of the film he also gradually pieces things together.

    Jerry Welbach (Brad Pitt) is a hilariously inept criminal with a bossy girlfriend called Samantha (Julia Roberts). He completely fluffed up his last job for the "mob" - he was supposed to pick up a "thing" from a "thing", but Sam wanted to use the car to pick up some "other things." He is given one last chance in one last job: to go to Mexico to pick up a gun from a kid, and to return with the gun. Or else.

    Unfortunately, Sam has other ideas. They are supposed to go to Las Vegas together. He is scared of her, but he also knows what will happen to him if he doesn't pick up the gun, so they have a big fight and he leaves.

    From the moment he lands in Mexico, he is involved in one conundrum and mishap after another. It turns out everyone wants to get hold of the gun, and no one seems to trust that he will actually be able to complete his job successfully. On top of everything, there's a "story" and a curse attached to the gun.

    In the meantime, someone calling himself "Leroy" (James Gandolfini) kidnaps Sam in the hope that Jerry will give the gun to him in exchange for Sam.

    I won't spoil any more of the plot - you have to watch it yourself to enjoy it and part of the fun is following the various twists and turns. Quite surprisingly, there is quite a lot of depth in the interactions between Leroy and Sam - the relationship between the two moves very quickly from kidnapper/kidnappee to mutual confidants.

    Towards the end, we get to see Gene Hackman as Margolese - the head of the mob who wants the gun in the first place, and then everything clicks into place.

    The film is directed by Gore Verbinski (Mouse Hunt) from an original screenplay by J. H. Wyman. I quite enjoyed watching this film. It reminded me of a cross between Get Shorty and the Three Amigos, if that makes sense.

    By the way, it is worth watching through to the end of the credits.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a gorgeous transfer presented with 16x9 enhancement in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The transfer also features automatic pan & scan encoding, but I did not engage this feature.

    The transfer is gorgeous mainly because of two things: the pristine quality of the film source and the consistently high video transfer rates. As would be expected from a film released theatrically only a few months ago, sharpness and detail levels are excellent and colour saturation is very good indeed. The film narrowly misses out on a "reference quality" rating due to the fact that the transfer is just a tad soft at times and the colour saturation isn't quite as vibrant as it can be.

    The film source is essentially perfect and I can't detect any instances of artefacts at all, film or MPEG.

    There is an English for the Hard of Hearing subtitle track, which I engaged briefly. The subtitles are not terribly accurate. I think it would be fair to say they tend to paraphrase the dialogue rather than quote the actual lines spoken. However, there has been an attempt to translate lyrics of songs which I suppose is a good thing.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs at 69:43 and is reasonably well placed as I only noticed a slight pause.



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

Audio

    There is only one audio track on the disc: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kb/s).

    Again, as you would expect from a high bitrate transfer of a film as recent as this one, there are no problems with the audio track. It is mastered at a relatively low level, but I did not have any problems with it. Dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout, and there are no audio synchronisation issues.

    The background music is quite pleasant and vaguely Mexican sounding. The original music score is by Alan Silvestri.

    The subwoofer and surround channels are nicely integrated into the soundtrack and used sparingly but effectively. Even though the film is very dialogue driven, the soundstage is quite enveloping and immersive and I have no complaints at all.



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

Extras

    This is a rental only release, so it comes with absolutely no extras whatsoever.

Menu

    Static, but appears to be 16x9 enhanced (though it displays as a 4:3 box on a widescreen display with both letterboxing and mail slotting). We also get to hear background audio.

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 is a rental-only release, so it has no extras. In particularly, it misses out on the jam packed features of the Region 1 disc:

    If you actually want to own the disc today, Region 1 is your only choice.

Summary

    I quite enjoyed watching The Mexican, even though there is not a lot of on-screen chemistry (or even air time) between Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. It is presented on a rental-only disc with superb audio and video transfers, but with no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Friday, September 14, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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