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Home Vision Entertainment presents
Deep Crimson (1996)

"In affairs of the heart, it's all method. Method, not guesswork." 
- Nicolás (Daniel Giménez Cacho)

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: March 14, 2005

Stars: Daniel Giménez Cacho, Regina Orozco, Marisa Paredes
Director: Arturo Ripstein

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, sexual content, and lots of stuff that's just really disturbing)
Run Time: 01h:54m:12s
Release Date: March 15, 2005
UPC: 037429204528
Genre: foreign

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B+A-B+ D+

DVD Review

Oh, the things love can make you do: fill up cocktails with rat poison, give away your children, submerge innocents in vats of tar. This is the story of one of the most odd and most dangerous screen couplings; you might laugh with disbelief if it weren't based on a true story, a notorious case that also served as the inspiration for The Honeymoon Killers. It's easy to see why the filmmakers were drawn to this peculiar and disturbing story; I don't know that they ever fully get at the madness that drives the two central characters (I don't know that anyone could), but they have made a movie that's bizarre, bloody, often upsetting and frequently hypnotic.

These lovers would be goofy and preposterous if they weren't so dangerous. Coral is fat, and knows it, and has a thing for Charles Boyer; she answers an ad in a lonely hearts column, and magically appearing at her door is Nicolás, really a pathetic excuse for a gigolo. He's stupid enough to sleep with Coral, and then steals from her, his typical modus operandi: "I help single women overcome their loneliness." She takes their one night stand and his petty thievery for true love, though, and shows up at his doorstep, with her two small children; he wants no part of her, or of family life. Is it the little ones that create a problem for him? Why, she'll deposit them at the orphanage! Nicolás allows her to move in; she's obviously serving some damaged need for him, and the two of them set off on a new variety of schemes.

The plan is this: he'll con women, with his awful hairpiece and fraudulent Sevillian accent (they live in Mexico, and he's passing himself off, badly, as a Spaniard), while she poses as his sister, along for the ride. What this means, of course, is that a crazy woman is supposed to sit idly by as her man puts the moves on desperate, lonely women, because that's the job description. It's not long before it's not just the two of them who suffer from their madness; they're inflicting damage on whoever is unfortunate enough to come in their path.

Arturo Ripstein's film is a curious mixture of freewheeling lunacy and damaged love, and he's got two lead performers who make their characters believably comic and dangerous. Daniel Giménez Cacho gets Nicolás' preening vanity just right; he starts as an operator, and quickly morphs into a monster. More indelible is Regina Orozco, who is bonkers from the jump as Carla, though she has her own internal logic, even if it's apparent often to her alone; it's doubly creepy because, as a nurse and a mother, the most vulnerable turn to her for care, and are answered with knives in the belly. Getting shorter shrift (in more ways than one) are their victims, the final two especially; VerNicolósnica Merchant as Rebecca, a widowed mother looking for a man to help her emotionally and financially, is heartbreaking, even if we're never even given a proper close-up of her face. But that's not what's on Ripstein's mind, for this is sort of a Latinized, Catholicized serial murderer movie, Nathanael West by way of Luis BuNicolñsuel with a dash of David Fincher for good measure. Ripstein doesn't quite get at the heart of these people&38212toward the end, Carla asks: "Why did we do it? I mean all of it. Why?" She doesn't have an answer; neither does NicolNicoláss, nor Ripstein, nor his audience. But this is bizarre and crazed stuff, not something you'll soon forget.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The Steadicam operator logged a whole lot of hours on this shoot—Ripstein favors a gliding camera, but it's done with elegance, helping to create stunning images of some very ugly things. Good job on the transfer, with a saturated palette emphasizing the bloody tone of the film's title. 

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanishno

Audio Transfer Review: A bit of hiss on the track, but overall, well balanced and largely free of aural interference.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. accompanying essay by Jorge Ruffinelli
Extras Review: Only two extras of note: a worshipful essay on the film by scholar Jorge Ruffinelli; and an original trailer that spills as much plot as it possibly can in less than two minutes. Don't watch it first.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

A strange and upsetting twin character study of two deeply crazy people whose lunacies mesh in the worst and most violent ways. Not a good choice for date night, and not for everyone, that's for sure; but a very odd and fascinating movie.


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