DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Door in the Floor
The Door in the Floor
Universal // R // December 14, 2004
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Holly E. Ordway | posted November 30, 2004 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The movie

The Door in the Floor is one of those films that is improved by the right set of expectations. I'm not sure how I pegged it as a slightly odd character study and slice of life before watching it, since I'd never seen so much as a trailer, but this turned out to be the right way to approach the film. In contrast, the splashy quote on the front cover of the DVD ("Surprises, even shocks.. it cuts like a knife!" is a fat red herring that suggests The Door in the Floor is a suspense film or thriller, when that couldn't be farther from the truth.

The Door in the Floor introduces us to the quietly dysfunctional family of Ted and Marion Cole, and their four-year-old daughter. Ted (Jeff Bridges) is a successful children's book author, except that his artistic powers seem to have been sidetracked into weird erotic adventures with other women. Marion (Kim Basinger) is deeply but quietly unhappy, still shattered by the death of their two sons years before, and drifting away from Ted. Into this painful dynamic comes teenaged Eddie (Jon Foster), who is hired to be a "writer's assistant" for Ted, but ends up becoming emotionally entangled with Marion and the whole family.

The Door in the Floor is an adaptation of the first part of John Irving's novel A Widow For One Year. It's an interesting and quite workable idea: instead of trying to compress an intricate book into a mere two hours or so, why not select just part of it?

Interesting, yes: also flawed. The Door in the Floor is actually put together very well, and remains watchable throughout its nearly two-hour running time, but it does stumble on several occasions, more frequently as the film nears its conclusion. Ted is drawn quite well – in some senses rather dissolute, but fiercely protective of his daughter – and it's not unacceptable that Marion remains a rather enigmatic figure, whose final decision leaves us as well as the other characters a bit mystified. However, many of the plot turns (such as they are) left me scratching my head; sometimes motivations are unclear (or totally opaque), and other times events just don't seem to fit together logically. It's possible to just shrug and let it go, but it remains a flaw in what could have been a more satisfying story.

Likewise, the film's ventures outside the realm of "low-key character study" are less than successful. Early on, a bit of light humor involving Eddie works reasonably well, but later, some attempted humorous touches involving Ted fall a bit flat; they're not terrible, but they clearly don't achieve the intended effect, either. And the revelation of the deep, dark secret that's haunting Ted and Marion is presented in a confusing, badly handled narrative and flashback... and turns out to have pretty much no emotional impact whatsoever.

All in all, The Door in the Floor offers just enough depth to make it worth watching, as long as you know up front that you're in the middle of a character-based film that's more a vignette in the life of the characters than a really fully-developed story.

The DVD

Video

The Door in the Floor appears in an anamorphically enhanced widescreen (2.35:1) transfer, preserving the film's original aspect ratio. Overall, it's a good transfer, with the image looking clean and bright. It's not as crisp and sharp as it could be, but it makes for a pleasant viewing experience.

Audio

The Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is more than sufficient for this dialogue-based film. The actors' voices are always clear and natural-sounding, and the track as a whole is clean and free of any background noise. A dubbed French track is also provided, along with English closed captions and Spanish and French subtitles.

Extras

There are a reasonable number of bonus features on this disc, starting with an audio commentary track; while I don't find the film particularly re-watchable, if you did enjoy it in the theater or on this DVD, you'll probably enjoy the commentary with writer/director Tod Williams along with the film's director of photography, editor, composer, and costume designer.

Several featurettes are also included. "Frame on the Wall: The Making of The Door in the Floor" (25 minutes) is a reasonably interesting look at the whole process of making the film, from idea through casting to filming. It incorporates a number of interview segments with cast and crew, as well as with author John Irving. Irving is also the focus of the next featurette, the 15-minute piece called "Novel to Screen," in which he discusses the adaptation and his thoughts on it. The last feature is a 25-minute piece called "Anatomy of a Scene," which apparently originally aired as a Sundance Channel original production. This featurette focuses on the crafting of a single sequence of related scenes in the film (from late in the story, so I won't specify which one). While the idea sounds interesting, the fact that it's aimed at people who may or may not have seen the whole film waters down the piece significantly, as there's a lot of plot summarizing and liberal use of clips from the film. If you're short on time or don't want to watch a lot of extras, the "Frame on the Wall" segment is a lot better.

Final thoughts

The Door in the Floor is a moderately interesting, if flawed, film; as long as you go into the film anticipating a character study rather than a suspense thriller, you'll probably enjoy it. Despite some decent extras, though, I don't think it has a whole lot of replay value, so I'll give it a solid "rent it" rating.

Other Reviews:
Popular Reviews
1. Eastbound & Down: Season 4
2. Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXX
3. Bob's Burgers: Season 3
4. Heaven Is for Real
5. Noah
6. Rio 2
7. Orphan Black: Season 2
8. Born Yesterday
9. Brannigan
10. Marty


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use