Gothika on DVD
By Rudy Rhodes & Johnny Bray
Theres not much you can say about Gothika that hasnt already been
said about countless other mediocre thrillers of the past few centuries.
In fact, it seems to be trying so hard to fit its genre, that it even tacks
on a tremendously terrible ending.
Halle Berry plays Dr. Miranda Grey, a moderately sympathetic criminal psychologist
who wakes up one day to find herself a tenant in her own sanitarium. She cant
remember anything, so it comes as quite a surprise when she discovers shes
been committed for the murder of her very own husband, Dr. Douglas Grey (Charles
A series of sessions with the second best psychologist in the place, Dr. Pete
Graham (Robert Downey Jr.), doesnt reveal much. Its what happens
at night, when shes visited by something from another world, that helps
her get her head around the goings on.
If Gothika refers to Berrys ghastly appearance, then theyve certainly
nailed it. But having a pretty face look bad does not always a good thriller
make. No, not even when you have Penelope Cruz looking equally haggard.
What starts out with a good premise, quickly takes a wrong turn and becomes
the same mundane, cliché filled paint-by-numbers thrill ride
we've seen so often before. The performances and direction are all pretty good,
but clearly the writer wasnt sure which direction to take, and decided
to take the road too often traveled. It wont take a road map to figure
this one out.
As far as thrillers go, Gothika is sub-par. But if youre in the mood
for a scare, you can do worse.
Gothika proved that Halle Berry can open a movie on her own and achieve some
decent results, but the DVD presentation is not all that it could be (although
we cant complain about not having to spend more time on it).
Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the picture is very dark, and hard
to make out some intricate details, but we can remember it being that way in
the theatre, as well. So it was probably a choice of the filmmaking team, but
it doesnt lend itself as well to the DVD. The lack of color or anything
other than bland darkness makes a good mood, but its very depressing.
The DVD should have been sharpened a little to make you not want to go to sleep
while watching the movie (even though by the end you may want to anyway).
The Dolby Digital 5.1 is quite a bit better, using the surrounds to enhance
the mood. During the creepy scenes, the rear speakers emit the most subtle sound
effects that make you unsure if theyre coming from the movie, or if theres
something in your living room. The dialogue is a little quiet at times, but
the volume doesnt fluctuate too much so you can just turn it up without
being blasted out of the room later.
Extras include a commentary by director Mathieu Kassovitz, and music video
for Limp Bizkits rendition of Behind Blue Eyes (yes, thats
the song by The Who, and its been massacred here more than Brian Adams
Gothika, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
98 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr., Charles S. Dutton and Penelope Cruz
Produced by Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis, Susan Levin
Written by Sebastian Gutierezz
Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz
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