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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 1/5/00

The Red Violin
1999 (1999) - Lions Gate Films/ Universal (Universal)

review by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVsEncoded with DTS & Dolby Digital 5.1 Digital Surround

The Red Violin Film Rating: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Extras): A/B-

Audio Ratings (DD/DTS): A/A

Specs and Features

132 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:06:05 in chapter 9), Amaray keep case packaging, commercial for soundtrack, theatrical trailer, production notes, cast and crew bios, film-themed menu screens, scene access (18 chapters), languages: English (DD & DTS 5.1), subtitles: English, Close Captioned

Samuel L. Jackson "stars" (or is that cameos?) as a musical instrument appraiser, who gets his hand on the mysterious Red Violin - an instrument of perfect craftsmanship that breezes by the best made Strat... and holds a chilling secret. That secret, I'm afraid, is quite apparent the first time it's alluded to, but that hardly ruins the film. The story spans centuries as it tells of the violin's history. From its birth to the tragic lives of each of its owners, this is one of the greatest epic biographies of an inanimate object ever told. This is another one that could easily find itself in the Best Foreign Film race (it's a Canadian production).

The picture and sound quality are very nice - almost as lush as the film itself. The anamorphic transfer represents the film quite nicely. There's also two soundtracks - DD 5.1 and full-blown DTS 5.1 on the same disc. How do you like that? With this beautiful score, you'll definitely appreciate the DTS. The soundtrack is beautiful and lush (with dialogue in Italian, Chinese, German, French and English). There are a few extras, like production notes and a cast and crew area (read the notes last, because they give the violin's "secret" away in the text). You also get a trailer and commercial for the soundtrack. I can't see anyone needing to substitute the DTS track for a CD, but until we get DVD players in our cars, we'll have to make do. Give this flick a chance, it'll suck you in.

Todd Doogan
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