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Alfie - Special Collector's Edition

 

Rating: R

Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment

Release Date: March 15, 2005
Review posted: March 24, 2005

 

Reviewed by Dylan Grant

 

SYNOPSIS

 

For Alfie (Jude Law), life was about everything women could offer – one night at a time. From wealthy widows with a taste for younger men to his single-mom girlfriend, Alfie had it all. But when the consequences of his playboy lifestyle suddenly affect the women in his life and his best friend, Alfie begins to wonder if there is more to life than fleeting romance.

 

CRITIQUE

 

Updated from the original 1966 film, which starred Michael Caine, Jude Law’s Alfie may be the poster boy for our age.  He is the quintessential metrosexual; he is vein, cocky, shallow.  Alfie’s idea of the simple life is “women I care nothing about.”  He throws around five dollar words whenever he can, all of them gleaned from a novelty desk calendar.  When archeologists dig this film up 5000 years from now, they will find a fairly accurate representation of, if not exactly who we are, the person we want to be.

 

Words are the overriding motif of the film, from Alfie’s calendar (which he not only uses for himself, but also gives to others as gifts) to the billboards that populate his Manhattan.  It is an interesting device, and we see how utterly meaningless words are to Alfie.  We know all about his lifestyle before we even know his name, and most of what he says has little meaning other than that what the person he is talking to wants to hear.  The device is clever, but it so obvious that it loses some of its effectiveness.  But subtlety does not seem to be in this film’s vocabulary.  When Alfie begins to question his life, he meets an old man who tells him an age-old story of love and loss that is so familiar and done-to-death as to be cringe inducing. 

 

The film is not altogether bad.  In fact, the film has many strong suits.  Jude Law is perfect in the role.  He is incredibly charming, and he has the ability to really drive a scene, which is more important in a film like this where he spends so much time talking to the camera.  He is the core of the film, but he is complimented by the women in the film.  Nia Long, Marisa Tomei, Susan Sarandon, Sienna Miller (Law’s real life wife), and the rest are all pitch perfect.  There are some laugh out loud moments in the film, and there is a style here that is not typically seen in most romantic comedies, and, for that matter, not typically seen in most Charles Shyer films (Father of the Bride, Father of the Bride II, The Affair of the Necklace, etc.).  The film looks like a fashion ad from any magazine; one almost expects to see Guess or Prada in the bottom corner of the screen.  The look is perfect for the film because it speaks to Alfie’s personality as much as Alfie himself.

 

Where Alfie suffers the most is in its utter predictability.  Just about every moment in the film can be seen coming miles away, and that fact takes away from an otherwise funny movie.  The denouement also leaves something to be desired.  Alfie realizes what is important, but he also knows that what is important is lacking in his life.  He also gives no indication that he will change at all, not that people like Alfie ever change a whole lot.  If there was a point to all of this, it will probably be lost on Alfie, and on most of us too.

 

THE VIDEO

 

Alfie is presented in the original 1.85 to one aspect ratio. The transfer is sharp, with all color levels coming through very well. The original warm, high fashion look of the film is translated perfectly.

 

THE AUDIO

 

This DVD has several audio options: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround, and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. The presentation here has incredible depth and wide dispersal. There is much ambient sound in this film, and it all comes through here quite well.

 

THE EXTRAS

 

Commentary by Writer/Director Charles Shyer and Film Editor Padraic McKinley: An interesting track, technical without being dry. Shyer and McKinley talk about editing for pace, creating New York City out of four different locations, and other interesting bits of trivia.

 

Commentary by Writer/Director Charles Shyer and Writer/Producer Elaine Pope: The co-writers talk about how Alfie went from the page to the stage, updating a classic film, and offer some speculation as to the film’s lack of commercial success.

 

Round Table of Alfie: The film’s editor, production designer, and director of photography sit down with Charles Shyer and discuss how they came to be part of the film and how certain scenes were created.

 

The World of Alfie: Shyer, Jude Law and others talk about bringing the character and his world into the 21st century.

 

The Women of Alfie: Shyer, Law, and the women of the film look back at the women of the original film and talk about how each character was updated and modernized.

 

Deconstruction of a Scene: Editor Padraic McKinley breaks down an early scene in the film – where Alfie rides his Vespa to work, looking at all the girls on the street – and talks shot by shot about how the scene was cobbled together from four different locations, all shot at different times in a variety of takes.

 

Gedde Watanabe Dance Footage: Alfie’s boss dances around the garage in this deleted scene. Optional commentary by Shyer and Elaine Pope.

 

Let the Music In: A look inside the Abbey Road recording sessions. Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart talk about the joys and complexities of creating the film’s original music. And, really, who better to understand Alfie than Mick Jagger...

 

Deleted Scenes: 8 deleted scenes, most featuring Alfie talking to the camera, that did not make the final cut. Optional commentary by Charles Shyer and Padraic McKinley.

 

Script Gallery: Pages of the script complete with notes, from select scenes in the film.

 

Production Gallery: Behind-the-scenes shots from the different locations used in the film.

 

Storyboard Gallery: Original storyboards from select scenes.

 

Theatrical Trailer: The original theatrical trailer.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

Alfie is a funny movie with some glaring flaws. Jude Law is charming and carries the film as far as it can go. This DVD is made by the special features, which are incredibly detailed. As light romantic comedies go, one could do worse than Alfie.

 

VERDICT: RECOMMENDED

 

Home | Back to Top

 

:: The DVD

 

:: DVD Ratings

 

THE MOVIE

7

THE VIDEO

9

THE AUDIO

9

THE EXTRAS

10

OVERALL

8

 

:: Merchandise