"Maybe they'll catch me one day, but I'll have lived!"- Theo (Stanislas Merhar)
Stars: Stanislas Merhar, Marion Cotillard, Wadeck Stanczack
Director: Alexandre Aja
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for action violence, some nudity and brief sex-related dialogue
Run Time: 01h:35m:58s
Release Date: 2004-10-19
DVD ReviewIn a post apocalyptic desert, a civilization is attempting to maintain a sense of civility. The jackboot of the government is upon them, adding the sweat of stress to their already dripping brows. This is a people oppressed by an mysterious power, which suppresses any sense of liberty or artistic impression. A rebellion is growing, though, but its existence remains a rumor. Signs of resistance appear as elaborate drawings on the sides of buildings. It is dirty graffiti to some, and a method of secret communication for others. If the authorities catch you drawing, you will end up in prison, facing torture, darkness, and even death.
Theo (Stanislas Merhar) is a young artist who makes his mark by night, and blends into society by day. He is following in the footsteps of his restauranteur father, who was caught drawing and consequently colorblinded for his defiance. Things become complex, however. Theo's brother (Wadeck Stanczak) works for the government in a supposedly benign fashion, but his true involvement remains hidden. When Theo meets Elia (Marion Cotillard), a young fellow painter, he falls in love, and the two share a passionate relationship. However, she is promptly captured by the authorities and tortured. Theo's desperation rules, and the young man gets himself arrested in a bold attempt to rescue his love. However, his brother and Elia's unforeseen past become greater obstacles than imprisonment.
Furia is adapted from a short story entitled Graffiti by Julio Cortazar, author of Antonioni's overrated '60s swinger extravaganza Blow Up. Director Alexandre Aja's style is assured, capturing a sparse apocalyptic landscape with suitable artistry and a keen eye for detail. The film's visuals are akin to Mad Max and other low budget, big idea pictures, some of which are more successful than others (there is a tinge of the brilliant Blade Runner here and there). Furia has plenty of visual bravura, but its story is somewhat thin, teetering between a sense of originality and a poorly drafted direct-to-video sci-fi picture. Still, there are some interesting themes here, but for a feature-length film, I craved more explicit detail on the referenced war and the government that is being resisted.
That aside, this is ultimately a relationship tale, focusing on the young romance between Theo and Elia—a fine duo, well captured by effective performances from Merhar and Cotillard. Wadeck Stanczak gives a standout performance as Theo's brother. The eventual conflict between Theo and his brother is not nearly as emphasized as it should be earlier in the film, but becomes front and center by the climax. This is an interesting conflict that merits further exploration, but is buried beneath other unnecessary characters. Aja has attempted to create a detailed world with colorful supporting members, but some extraneous moments, a lackluster chase, and a grating score by Queen's Brain May cheapens the film. Sci-fi fans may enjoy this—it certainly boasts strong visuals and manages to entertain, but I felt ultimately underwhelmed.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C+
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: SKD's transfer is horrendous. Even though the video is anamorphically encoded, this looks like a poor VHS copy, complete with burned in subtitles. Detail is extremely soft, and the image looks flat out blurry at times. There is loads of shimmering, color bleeding, and other artifacts that barely makes this watchable.
Image Transfer Grade: D
Audio Transfer Review: A thin French 2.0 stereo track is serviceable, but sounds a bit harsh at times.
Audio Transfer Grade: C+
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
- Photo Gallery
Extras Grade: D-
Final CommentsAlexandre Aja's vision of the future looks impressive. Themes of rebellion, love, and Shakespearean confrontation are welcome additions, but this ultimately lacks the kind of substance that would elevate the material. SKD's disc is scattershot at best.
Matt Peterson 2004-12-15