Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 11/2/00
Keeping the Faith
2000 (2000) - Touchstone
review by Brad Pilcher of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
129 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at approx 39:28 in
chapter 12), Amaray keep case packaging, audio commentary (with
director Edward Norton and writer/producer Stuart Blumberg), 10
deleted scenes with commentary, production gag reel, 4 theatrical
trailers (for Keeping the Faith,
The Cider House Rules and
Mission to Mars), cast and
crew bios, film-themed menu screens, scene access (32 chapters),
languages: English (DD 5.1), subtitles: English, Spanish, Closed
Rabbi Schram: "Oy."
Father Finn: "Amen to your Oy."
It's the little discoveries that make going to the movies
worthwhile. I love Jurassic Park
and Terminator 2 as much as
the next guy, but no matter what, the most memorable films are the
little gems. They aren't great based on special effects or
super-huge stars. They're great because of good chemistry, smart
scripts and humor you just don't get without a touch of magic
involved. Keeping the Faith is
one of those little gems.
The story goes like this. Jake Schram and Brian Finn (played by Ben
Stiller and Ed Norton) have been friends for as long as they can
remember. But when they were younger, their friendship included a
third member, Anna (Jenna Elfman). Unfortunately, one day Anna's dad
got a job across the country and she moved away. Years later, Jake
and Brian are all grown up and living their lives, still the best of
friends. Then, out of the blue, Anna shows up again... and the
result is a hilarious love triangle. That's not exactly a
ground-breaking plot, but there's a twist here. Did I mention that
Jake is a Jewish rabbi and Brian is a Catholic priest?
Now that I have your attention, let me officially say that Norton,
Stiller and Elfman have the kind of chemistry that every filmmaker
dreams of. The script here is also top-notch, full of witty
dialogue. One part great screenplay and three parts good chemistry
combine to produce a magical little ensemble piece, that will have
you cracking up the whole way through. Keeping
the Faith also manages to convey a touch of sincerity and
depth, without resorting to heady drama. That's harder to do than
you think, especially given that this film marks Ed Norton's first
turn behind the camera. The fact that he pulls this film off so well
makes it a must-see. The only downside is that the film runs a
little long. Clocking in at just over two hours, it probably could
have been shaved down to maybe an hour and a half. As it is, some
really great scenes were cut in order to save time (they're
available on this DVD separately), so Norton did the best he could.
And his best is pretty damn good, let me tell you.
The video on this disc, while not fabulous, is very good. The
anamorphic widescreen image is a little soft at times, but still
retains a very natural look. The colors are muted but accurate and
the contrast is solid throughout. The audio is also solid, but since
we're not talking super-action-blow-out film here, don't expect your
speakers to get a workout. Still, the audio does possess a certain
ambient quality that comes through well in this mix. The music
sounds fine and the dialogue, which is the real strength of this
film, is perfectly balanced. On the whole, not bad.
This film did do well at the box office, and garnered enough of an
audience to justify the release of a good special edition DVD. The
disc includes an above-average (and surprisingly insightful)
commentary with Ed Norton and writer/producer Stuart Blumberg. This
commentary extends itself to a nice collection of deleted scenes,
one of which is absolutely hilarious. I won't say which one it is,
but let me just say that when Anna says, "I have a relationship
with my phone. It's set to vibrate," in this film, she wasn't
kidding. A production gag reel and some trailers (for this film and
others) round out a good bonus section.
Keeping the Faith is a
wonderfully simple and, some may complain, predictable little
ensemble film. But it's such a good ensemble, with such good
chemistry and humor, that you can't help but fall in love with it.
Add in some nice supplements and solid video and audio, and you've
got a disc that's well worth buying. Plus, it's a great date flick.
So c'mon - diversify that DVD collection!