Discs Are Rated
Click above to purchase "Quills" at amazon.com
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 124 minutes
Starring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Michael Caine,
Written by Doug Wright
Based upon his play
Directed by Philip Kaufman
Retail Price: $29.98
Features: Commentary With Writer Doug Wright, Marquis
On The Marquee featurette, Creating Charenton featurette,
Dressing The Part featurette, Still Gallery Of Production
Artifacts, Fact & Film, Theatrical Trailers, TV Spot,
Music Promo Spot
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby
Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround,
English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search (20
It's Paris, sometime during the early 1800s. Marquis de
Sade (Geoffrey Rush) has an interesting reputation as a
erotic writer. The problem for Sade though is that he's
locked in an asylum, but his laundry girl Madeleine (Kate
Winslet) takes what sexual writings he has out of his
comfortable cell and gets them published. However, Abbe
Coulimer (Joaquin Phoenix), the asylum's priest, isn't too
happy about that. Still, the public loves Sade's writings,
but he crosses the line when he writes a satirical play
about the respected Dr. Collard (Michael Caine). However, as
everyone tries to opress Sade, things just get wilder and
wilder. I don't know what to give away any more of the
movie, but as it goes along, I have to say it gets more and
I really wasn't sure what to expect from "Quills" at
first, considering how many mixed reviews I heard. Some
critics loved it and some absolutley trashed it. I rather
liked the movie. It's nicely paced and developed. While I've
never read Doug Wright's play or seen it performed, the
dialogue here is well written and true to the characters,
and the story is quite entertaining. And all of it is based
on true events.
There's a lot to like about "Quills". Philip Kaufman
directs it with much style and passion, with some great
editing and nicely laid out shots. The sets and costumes are
really, really nice to look at and make it all the more
believable, you'll feel like you're there watching
everything unfold before your eyes (the film scored two
Oscar® nods in this department: for Costume Design and
Still, the heart of "Quills" is its acting. There is some
fine ensemble acting. Geoffrey Rush earned a lot of
nominations (including an Academy Award® nod) and a good
amount of awards for his performance as Sade, and he is
truly perfect for the role. Rush is a fantastic actor, who
always brings a lot of depth and emotion to his rules to
give them a lot of breath, and his performance here is no
exception. Rush's performance is really intense, but with
that, comes Sade's sneakiness and insanity. Rush executes
the character perfectly. The rest of the cast has some great
chemistry with Rush and have solid performances all around.
If you like great acting, some great production values
and a gripping story, "Quills" is definitely your stroke
(heh, sorry for my usual corny joke).
Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, "Quills" looks
incredibly dazzling. This is by far one of the best Fox
transfers I've seen on DVD. But then again, Fox mostly does
great transfers (some are even THX certified as you know,
but this isn't). Colors are perfectly saturated, as
fleshtones and hues hit the target perfectly. The red
splattering at the end of chapter 1 and the very start of
the second chapter is really, really glorious. Detail is
good and black as well as shadow level directly hit their
marks. The only flaw is a blemish here and there, but it's
not that distracting. "Quills" has some great visual beauty
in sets and costumes, and this DVD brings it to life with
great dimensions, it really pops out at you. Fantastic
transfer all around.
"Quills" has a surprisingly active 5.1 Dolby Digital
track that really brings the whole film to life, and gives
it a really nice boost. Fidelity is pretty high, and there
are some really nice surrounds. The horses and carriages
riding off brings a sense to the time, but the scenes with
the thunder and rain really shook my speakers. Little things
also help this track, such as the murmurs in the crowds. An
English Dolby Surround track is also included, as well as a
French Dolby Surround track. There are English and Spanish
subtitles for your enjoyment.
"Quills" has a very nice set of supplements, including a
Commentary With Doug Wright. Though Wright has some
gaps here and there, he's really informative about the real
events compared to what happens in the movie and seemed to
have a great time writing it as well as the final movie.
Wright also gives some very interesting production stories,
as he is very relaxed and has some pretty insightful things
to say. It seems he's done a lot of research when writing
the movie and knows his stuff, so if you're interested in
what really went on and/or liked the movie, you'll want to
listen to this. Pretty good despite the pauses, and Wright
has a very nice soothing voice.
Marquis On The Marquee is an interesting
featurette that has some behind the scenes footage, clips
from the film and a bevy of interviews, with Michael Caine,
Doug Wright, Philip Kaufman, Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and
a few others. Everyone pretty much gives their input on the
story, the themes, the characters and the like. A very good
featurette, so if you check this disc out, be sure to watch
Creating Charenton is another good featurette that
focuses on production designer Martin Childs. This also has
clips from the films, behind the scenes footage and
interviews with the likes of Winslet, Caine, Phoenix and of
course, Childs himself. This is pretty much all on Childs,
as he shows off some of the designs of the sets, the actual
sets and how things went from his head to real life. Childs
is pretty articulate and interesting to listen to, as he
shares his thoughts on the story and bringing it to life.
This was very interesting, since "Quills" has a lot of
visual beauty. Watch this.
Dressing The Part features Jacqueline West, the
costume designer. As I mentioned, the movie has some great
costumes. West is pretty insightful as she talks about
director Kaufman, and Kaufman is also interviewed. There's
clips, design sketches and behind the scenes footage from
the film as well. West talks about creating the costumes and
the design aspect, as well as some challenges she faced.
Another excellent watch.
Still Gallery Of Production Artifacts shows a lot
of props and designs from the film, including letters,
theater tickets and sketch designs. A bit short, but all in
all, a very decent supplement that you should enjoy if you
liked the movie.
Fact & Film is a very interesting text based
supplement, where we learn about the real characters and how
they really were as opposed to how they were portrayed in
the film. There's also some interesting tidbits about the
actors. Be sure to read it.
On the promo side, you get two Theatrical
Trailers. One is in English and the other is the same
one, but with Spanish subtitles. There's also a TV
Spot and a Music Promo Spot.
Finally, there are some easy to navigate animated menus
that I really liked, as they really reflect the film well.
Done with much taste and style.
"Quills" is a great period peace with great costumes,
sets, direction, writing and some fantastic acting. If you
missed it in theaters, give "Quills" a spin on DVD. This
isn't really a mainstream movie so much and is sure to bore
some people out there, but if you like historical stories,
great acting, tremendous acting and all that comes with it,
"Quills" is for you. Another excellent DVD from Fox.
(4.5/5 - NOT included in
(3.5/5, NOT an average)