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A Very Long Engagement
DVD disk
Jul 29, 2005 By: Scott Weinberg
A Very Long Engagement order
Director:
Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Actors:
Audrey Tautou
Gasparo Ulliel
Jean-Pierre Becker

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
It's "Amelie" meets "Saving Private Ryan." No, seriously.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
If you're even remotely a fan of Amelie, Jean-Pierre Jeunet's sweetly fanciful and fairly adorable romantic comedy -- and you don't mind a healthy dose of wartime carnage and intensity -- odds are you'll fall hard and fast for A Very Long Engagement. It's a romantic epic, an intense and gripping look at WWI, and a nifty little mystery-quest all rolled into one.

But because it's a movie from the guy who directed Amelie, The City of Lost Children, Delicatessen, and yes, Alien: Resurrection, you should logically expect frequent flights of freaky fancy, bizarrely satisfying little divergences, and an overall air of quaint and comfortable eccentricity. (Yes, even in the seriously violent moments, too.)

Reuniting with her Amelie director, the sweet and lovely Audrey Tautou delivers some great work here. She's asked to do considerably more here than she was in Amelie, and Ms. Tautou has now proven to her thousands of admirers that she's a heck of a lot more than just a painfully pretty French face. Audrey's movie-long quest to find her long-lost soldier of a sweetie takes on a surprising resonance thanks to the actress' consistently sympathetic performance.

And the war sequences simply rock. Seriously fellas, forget that you'll have to deal with the subtitles and give this flick a rent. You'll get a little culture while you enjoy this movie.

THE EXTRAS
On Disc 1 you'll find a feature-length audio commentary with the director. (The commentary is presented with English subtitles for those non-French folks.) Mr. Jeunet discusses just about every aspect of the flick that you could possibly imagine, from conception to casting to filming and editing. He seems to be a genuinely funny and decent fella, so fans of the film certainly won't mind having to read the commentary subtitles to get the various scoops.

Moving on to Disc 2, you'll find a 70+ minute documentary entitled The Making of "A Very Long Engagement" -- which is also a big bundle of fascinating fun for fans of this particular flick. Featurettes entitled Paris in the '20s and Before the Explosion focus on the stunning set design and one particular scene involving an exploding zeppelin, respectively. Rounding out the package is a collection of 14 deleted scenes, which are available with or without commentary by Monsieur Jenuet.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Based on the novel by Sebastien Japrisot, A Very Long Engagement might also be a a very long movie (133 minutes), but it never gets too cutesy -- and it never once wears out its welcome. It's got a lot of sweet-natured romantical material for the lovers in the audience, and it's got a big batch of flashy and exciting battle sequences for the single men out there. Provided you have no problem with subtitles, you should consider this flick an absolute must-see. (But I still like Amelie better!)
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