The Order (2003) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama / Mystery / Thriller
Fox || R - 102 minutes - $24.99 || September 14, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-09-20


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Brian Helgeland
Writer(s): Brian Helgeland (written by)
Cast: Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, Mark Addy, Peter Weller


Theatrical Release Date: September 5, 2003


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Surround)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

There are some films that are hilariously bad and then there are a few that are just plain bad. Brian Helgeland’s The Order is one such film and yes, it can be attributed almost completely to Helgeland since he produced, wrote and directed by the same guy behind L.A. Confidential. The movie also marks the re-teaming of Helgeland with A Knight’s Tale cast members Heath Ledger, Mark Addy and Shannyn Sossamon in an entirely different genre.

The movie centers around a “rogue” priest named Alex Bernier (LEDGER) who has been placed in charge of a small parish in New York City because apparently the archdioceses didn’t know what to do with him because for a reason I didn’t entirely understand. Meanwhile, Mara Sinclair (SOSSAMON) has escaped from a mental institution for trying to kill Alex during an exorcism and the first place she goes is to his church for which he allows her inside. Again, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but that’s really the least of the film’s problems.

Then, one Cardinal Driscoll (PETER WELLER) arrives to inform Alex that his mentor was dead from unusual circumstances and wants Alex to travel to Rome to investigate but is met by the brick wall that is the Vatican as the death was ruled as a suicide. Oh, did I forget to mention that despite the fact the authorities are on the lookout for her, Marla manages to accompany Alex on this trip overseas and gets past the screenings in this post-9/11 world. I know it’s not a big issue, but should’ve been dealt with in the screenplay.

In Rome, Alex examines the body and finds something strange on the chest and is convinced that his mentor did not commit suicide. His investigation, alongside old friend and fellow rogue priest, Thomas Garrett (ADDY), and with his help they go into the deep underbelly of Rome including gathering info from a pagan cult which then leads to a man known as Eden who is a sin-eater, a man who can remove the sins and take it off of them and allow it to be his curse rather than theirs. Or something along those lines as by this point I really couldn’t care less what these people were doing...

I got to think that a writer as talented as Brian Helgeland had better intentions when he set out to write The Order as there probably was something there, perhaps along the lines of Roman Polanski’s The Ninth Gate, but the problem with this movie – as there are with many supernatural thrillers – is that it is so dark and dreary and features characters that are either underwritten or are void of any humor that I did not care what the outcome for any of them were. Who cares what will happen to Alex? Why should I care? Towards the end there is a revelation from the bad guy that’s supposed to show the entire movie in a new light and guess what? By that point I just wanted the movie to end. For the love of God, just end! No pun intended.

And another problem lies unfortunately on Heath Ledger as we should think he’s getting deeper into his obsession ignoring the obvious and just leaving with Marla but instead continues on to a fate that he perhaps does not want. But again, why should I care? Ledger was a fine actor for sure, he displayed his talent on Brokeback Mountain and The Dark Knight, but with this role I never got any sense for his character and his mission.

The other issue with the movie – and this is more to do with the writing – but the supporting characters don’t offer much help. I never bought for one second the romance, seen and unseen, between Alex and Marla while the friendship between Alex and Thomas didn’t feel authentic either even though in both cases, those aspects were present in A Knight’s Tale.

Overall, The Order is a dud of a film through and through. There was not one level of the movie that worked from the script to the acting to the dark and dreary look that Helgeland set upon. This is a dumb movie that I wish was at least funny to mock but instead it’s just bad, plain and simple.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The disc ports over everything from the DVD; unfortunately it’s not very much. All we have is a standard audio commentary with producer/writer/director Brian Helgeland; a selection of deleted scenes (19:29; SD) with optional commentary and the theatrical trailer (1:54; SD).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The film is presented in its original 1.85 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. Some parts actually look half-decent but I did notice a little what seemed like edge-enhancement specifically during the beginning when our central victim is riding his bike I could see a halo around his body as he approached a building. Outside of that one scene, I didn’t notice anything that obvious. Otherwise, the video isn’t the clearest looking Blu-ray and some parts don’t even have that great detail level either. Obviously this is a very dark movie so it’s not going to look pretty and there was some major noise during those darker moments.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is nice and especially explodes during two of the more action moments, one during the ridiculous scene in which Alex wards back a couple evil kids and another closer to the end. Other than that, the film is primarily dialogue driven mixed in with a lame and clichéd score by David Torn (Friday Night Lights).



.::OVERALL::.

I will repeat: The Order is a dud of a film through and through. Enough said.