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A grisly murder and a Nazi grave desecration draw two different police officers to the remote mountain university town of Guernon and to nearby Sarzac. When semi-legend of a Parisian detective Pierre Niemans (Jean Reno) and young daredevil cop Max Kerkerian (Vincent Cassel) come face to face, the investigations take on a new, personal dynamic. But the hideous secret of the murders threatens to engulf them both, as the Alpine tranquility is shattered by exploding secrets from 20 years previously.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Fast and furious though it is, this film has a weighty feel, as if the genre (cop thriller) was being reinvented. The two contributing factors are how the script portrays the cops as men first, cops second; and the other is a hefty orchestral score (played by the Paris Philharmonic Orchestra). Exciting as a thriller, compelling as character drama, Crimson Rivers is a terrific film and this DVD is a worthy Collector's Edition, with material that is not just filler, but full of fascinating, informative and entertaining material in every extra.

The commentary track on Disc 1 is a three-voice affair that is harder to follow for those who’re not fluent in French, although the subtitles are excellent. (And sometimes appear above the widescreen frame, for reasons that aren’t quite clear.) The director and his two stars interact well, and Kassovitz is candid about mistakes he believes he made. The sense of intimacy is heightened by the mutual respect and friendship between the men.

Collected under three major headings on Disc 2, the extra material is incredibly comprehensive. It covers every aspect from the detail of making the tortured corpse that launches the investigation to the way the music was composed and how the fights were choreographed. The latter is perhaps the best deconstruction of stunt work I’ve seen on a DVD. In fact all of it is; the extraordinary detail in the material shot and collated is matched by the desire of the filmmakers – from writer and producer to director and cast, from crew to specialist support technicians – to impart their experience not only as a way of expanding the audience experience of the film, but as a filmmaking lesson to newcomers.

Although the spoken language is French, the images and the subtitles are powerfully communicative.

The feature on the music score is exemplary and should be seen by all DVD producers; the best part of it is the unique, personal perspective of composer Bruno Coulais. And his music is used throughout the special features as if proving the importance and value of music as a cinematic tool.

The film itself looks stunning on DVD, bringing the close ups and the epic scenery to life within arms length in your home. The soundtrack blooms and booms beautifully, and the only thing you need to bring along to enjoy this DVD is enough time. It deserves it.

Published February 14, 2002

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You can buy it HERE - next day delivery within Australia

French Title: Les Rivières pourpres

CAST: Jean Reno, Vincent Cassel, Nadia Fares, Dominique Sanda

DIRECTOR: Mathieu Kassovitz

RUNNING TIME: 101 minutes (feature only)

The movie; with commentary by director Matthieu Kassovitz, stars Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel; isolated track of Bruno Coulais’ score with ‘jump to’ highlights menu; various trailers;
Widescreen 2.35:1, 16:9 enhanced; Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish)

The Investigation – 62 minute behind the scenes feature; Post Mortem; In Memoriam; Subtitles; The Avalanche scene breakdown (multi angle); production archive featurette; car chase scene breakdown; promo pieces; marketing campaigns; talent profiles

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar Home Ent

DVD RELEASE: February 6, 2002

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