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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Joe Gould's Secret
Joe Gould's Secret
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Review by Blake Kunisch | posted January 20, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie: Joe Gould's Secret is about Joe Mitchell (Tucci) who writes for the New Yorker. He does profiles of various people, and one day in a deli, he meets an eccentric man who pours ketchup in his soup, actually puts ketchup on everything. Come to find out, this is Joe Gould (Holm). He's a cantankerous, unkempt, but brilliant writer who plans to write 'The Oral History of the World.' He has already written over 1.2 million words, and is still working on it. Mitchell decides to profile Joe Gould, and a friendship ensues - in this friendship though, Mitchell will not only learn about Gould, but also about himself. It's an interesting film with fine acting all around. Good for one watch, but probably not much more.

The Picture: The anamorphic transfer of the film works well, and displays a crisp and vibrant image. However, there are a couple of times when pixelization is evident along with a few marks from the original print. The film itself is set in the 40's and is slightly subdued color-wise, and there's not much the transfer could have done to help it. Strictly from a point of film to DVD, the transfer is not bad, but the pixelization and marks are noticeable at times, but the colors are represented as they would have been intended on screen.

The Sound: Joe Gould's Secret is mainly dialogue and character driven, so you won't notice the big sound effects common in other films these days. However, the film is presented in Dolby Surround 5.1 and the ambient sounds along with the music are well represented and very clear and precise. The dialogue is easy to understand, and even when Gould is at his oddest, he still makes sense from the speakers.

The Extras: The extras are fairly scant featuring not much other than the usual trailer and cast & crew bios. Included is a featurette from the Sundance channel that is quite short, but does feature some behind-the-scenes shot. It would have been nice to have a longer featurette, or director commentary - listening to Stanley Tucci might have been fun. The cast and crew biographies are also scant with only 2 people profiled - actor Ian Holm and actor/director Stanley Tucci (wherein lies the cast & crew).

Conclusion: In conclusion, even though Joe Gould's Secret is a joy to watch solely for Ian Holm's performance as Gould, the film itself really has no drive behind it and gets repetitive after a while as Tucci makes comparisons and contrasts that most people would pick up, but he keeps on making a point to point them out. While the DVD does feature a good anamorphic transfer of the film, it does have its flaws and is not the best out there. The extras are really disappointing as they are short and not interesting in the least bit. Add to that a high price tag of $25 and this disc really doesn't need to be in your collection. Perhaps you loved the movie, and need the DVD, but if you haven't seen it, a rental will suffice, but don't buy it without seeing it first.

DVD Review by Blake Kunisch .

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