Door in the Floor,
Universal Studios Home Video
Date: December 14, 2004
Review posted: December 16, 2004
The Door in the
a haunting film adapted for the screen from a best-selling novel by
author John Irving that follows the lives of eccentric, famous
children’s book author and illustrator Ted Cole (Jeff Bridges) and his
wife Marion (Kim Basinger) during one very crucial summer.
Ted and Marion are
on the verge of divorce due to their inability to reconnect and
support one another after the loss of their sons in a horrific car
accident. Marion is unable to fully love and nurture her daughter
because she feels like they only had her in order to fill the void
left from their sons, while Ted buries his grief in booze and screwing
around with the rich Hampton wives under the guise of using them as
models for his illustrations. Their lives are slowly drifting further
and further apart.
Ted takes on an
assistant for the summer, a local high school kid, Eddie (Jon Foster),
an aspiring writer who is anxious to learn what he can from Ted.
Eddie helps feed Marion’s need to nurture and it eventually leads into
a dangerous sexually driven relationship. Eddie’s arrival sparks a
series of events and turmoil in the Cole’s life that sends them into a
journey exploring their own sensuality, their grief and their loss of
passion for each other and life in general.
The Door in the
a wrenching tale of sexual betrayal and healing full of terrific
performances, beautiful cinematography, and solid direction, but it
just doesn’t add up to anything of significance. The story just
failed to pull me in, which is a shame based on the incredible
performance from one of the best actors working today, Jeff Bridges.
The main issue with
the story was that it was difficult to feel anything for these
characters as they are just far too isolated from reality and the
story relies upon cliché and familiarity. There are also too many
things pushing the viewer away from the characters and almost nothing
to pull you in. The relationship between Eddie and Marion has such a
strongly incestuous flavor that it turned me off to both characters.
And since there was almost nothing redeeming about Marion or Ted, I
didn’t care one way or another if they pulled through. The use of
shock value to generate a response feels incredibly forced. Mimi
Rodgers baring it all, Marion’s daughter walking in on her and Eddie
having sex in a compromising position, Ted’s love of rap music…it’s
almost ridiculous how far the film goes to shock the viewer. But
instead, it does the opposite. It places the viewer so far away from
these characters as to not generate any feeling at all.
Bridges gives an
absolutely amazing performance as Ted and it is just incredible that
he makes you care at all about this loathsome and unappealing
character. Bridges takes charge of every scene he is in. He is truly
one of the best actors in film today. His performance almost
single-handedly makes this a worthwhile view and should be considered
come Oscar season. Basinger is also very good, giving one of the best
performances in her career. Her haunting beauty and deeply pained
expressions leave an indelible, lasting impression. The supporting
cast is also quite superb. Especially newcomer Ben Foster who really
nails the innocence, initial meekness and emerging strength of Eddie.
Mimi Rodgers is also very good as one of Ted’s “models” doing a lot
with very little (and leaving it all out there). If only the
film had the strong story and emotional current needed to blend all of
these amazing performances into something worthwhile.
The film is solidly
directed by Tod Williams who obviously works well with actors and he
definitely captures a nice sense of place and position. The film is
just beautiful to look at with gorgeous cinematography and locations.
If The Door in
the Floor as a film delivered anywhere near the level of depth,
detail and emotion that Bridges brings to his character then it could
have been something truly special. Instead we get a beautiful looking
film full of great acting that relies on shocks, clichés and
familiarity to move us and fails to generate any feeling at all.
The transfer is
amazingly clear and crisp, the colors are vibrant and lucid, and the
scenery is stunning. It is a strong, quality video transfer.
The audio is
presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and it is outstandingly clear and
with Director Tod Williams and the Production Team –
the film as though it’s a masterpiece and of how incredible it was to
get to work with such an amazing story. If only that were true. He
does recognize the amazing performances and discusses some interesting
aspects of making the film. Various members of the production crew
Author John Irving:
From Novel to Screen –
This is an interesting extra on what is involved in
bringing a novel to the screen. This film is actually only a third of
the novel, only the first third. The novel is actually narrated by
the daughter and follows her life as well. Maybe the filmmakers
should have tried capturing the whole novel.
Anatomy of a Scene
This is an episode from The Sundance Channel’s original show that
takes particular scenes from films and breaks them down, interviewing
the cast and crew. This is a very good show and this was a good
The Making of
The Door in the Floor –
This is a nice making of documentary interviewing
the cast and crew on location, including some audition tapes and a
nice interview with Bridges.
The Door in the
has some of the
most riveting and moving performances of the year and is a solidly
directed film, but the story fails to generate any emotion or gain any
depth of character and resorts to shock value and clichés.
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