Venus (2006)

Genre(s): Drama / Romance
Miramax || R - 94 minutes - $29.99 || May 22, 2007
Reviewer: Elyusha Vafaeisefat || Posted On: 2007-05-31


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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

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Roger Michell
Writer(s): Hanif Kureishi (written by)
Cast: Peter O'Toole, Leslie Phillips, Jodie Whittaker, Richard Griffiths, Vanessa Redgrave


Theatrical Release Date: December 21, 2006


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director & Producer Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Venus: A Real Work of Art


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

Peter O'Toole has long been overdue for his Oscar ever since his performance in Lawrence of Arabia 45 years ago. Since his legendary performance as T.E. Lawrence in David Lean's epic, he has been nominated 7 more times and has lost a total of 8 times. O'Toole's body of work has been one of the most impressive to date which is why he was given an honorary Oscar back in 2003. Still, many believed that his performance in Troy may finally get him an acting Oscar but that film was a huge disappointment. So fast forward a 3 more years to 2006 and the 74 year old legend is still being mentioned among the best actors in the world as another possible candidate for a Best Actor Oscar. Unfortunately, O'Toole lost out to Forest Whitaker (whose performance is truly remarkable) for the win. Still, many (including me) rooted for O'Toole to finally pick up the acting Oscar but that of course did not happen. Did O'Toole give the best performance 0f 2006? No. I believe Whitaker was truly the best of 06' but O'Toole was a close second.

The story of Venus is nothing totally brand new to films. O'Toole plays Maurice, who was a former leading man who is now reaching the end of his life. Since this is obviously not a far stretch from O'Toole's own life, it is easy to see that this is a kind of autobiographical performance from O'Toole. Along the way, Maurice meets Ian's (perhaps the most underrated performance of 2006 by Leslie Phillips) niece Jessie (Jodie Whittaker) who is trying to make a living as a model. As the two begin to talk more and more, Jessie and Maurice start to build a friendship (he even gives her the name Venus) although this friendship is not a normal one. Maurice is attracted to Jessie physically which makes for very awkward scenes because of the 60 year gap between the two characters. Many of the scenes come off as humorous while some of the scenes between the two are just downright creepy. Jodie Whittaker does a fantastic job as Jessie in her first lead acting role. Whittaker is no doubt someone who will find no trouble at all getting acting jobs in the future and I definitely think she is one the best young actors working today. The film reminded me somewhat of Atlantic City starring Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon in terms of the relationship forged between two people with such a large gap in age. Of course we would never see the reverse of that story where it is a woman in her 70's who is attracted to a man in his 20's but that is a whole other story.

In the end, the film is carried on its strong performances from O'Toole, Phillips and Whittaker. The always great Vanessa Redgrave also gives a great performance but unfortunately is only in about 3 or 4 scenes. The direction from veteran filmmaker Roger Michell and screenplay by Hanif Kureishi are also both very good. The pacing is very brisk which makes the film very watch able. Fans of O'Toole should no doubt check out the film for yet another remarkable acting job from the legendary actor.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Venus: A Real Work of Art is a 14 minute behind the scenes look at the making of the film. Writer Hanif Kureishi talks about where the idea for the film came from. We also hear from the cast and crew about the veteran actors all coming together for the film. The awkward relationship between Maurice and Jessie is also discussed in this featurette. From watching this extra, it is amazing to see that O'Toole is still having fun making films after all these years.

The DVD also includes 4 Deleted Scenes that run about 4 minutes. The scenes are not anything spectacular. Just more of O'Toole being O'Toole.

A Commentary from director Roger Michell and producer Kevin Loader is also included in the DVD. The commentary is fairly standard as it discusses where the story came from, the locations as well as the awards attention the film received. For the most part, Loader and Michell gush over the casts and their performances which does get tiresome towards the end. For the most part, the commentary is very low key and less inspired than most other commentaries I've listened to.

Rounding out the extras is a trailer gallery for Ratatouille (who O'Toole helped voice), Renaissance, The Lookout and The Queen.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The video transfer for the DVD is actually very good. While the film is not really carried on the strength of its cinematography, I still found Haris Zambarloukos's work quite good for a film of this kind. The film is presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

The film's audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and is solid but nothing outstanding. Although that is to be expected for a film that is all about acting and dialogue versus explosions and action scenes.



.::OVERALL::.

The DVD package is light in terms of extra features but the film is still definitely worth watching for the strength of its performances. As I mentioned prior, there are no shortage of awkward scenes between Peter O'Toole and Jodie Whittaker's characters but the film still works very well as a dark comedy. It's still extraordinary to see that after nearly 50 years of acting and creating countless memorable characters, O'Toole is still able to deliver a fantastic and inspired performance in this film.