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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Before Sunrise
Before Sunrise
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 21, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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In Short: Director Richard Linklater's film finally comes to DVD, but a special edition would have been appreciated.

The Movie:

Richard Linklater made a fine comedy in "Dazed and Confused", but his strongest, most mature effort remains as "Before Sunrise" (because, well, it certainly isn't "The Newton Boys".). It's also one of Ethan Hawke's best roles. He stars as Jesse, a young American who is generally seeing the sites with a Eurorail pass, trying to decide where to go next with his life. While riding the train, he meets up with Celine (the wonderful Julie Delpy). The two talk about life, death, society, but soon Jesse finds that he's reached his destination in Vienna. Thinking that he'll never have a chance or see her again, he decides to ask her if she wants to get off the train and walk around with him in Vienna.

What follows is one of the more charming character tales of the past few years. There really is no structure or much plot, just the pleasure of listening to these two people sharing their beliefs, secrets, joys and other tales of their life. Hawke and Delpy are cute together and have fine chemistry - you believe that they're falling in love as they're talking, and as day becomes night. It's a smart, funny, sad movie that really captures love in a way that I think few movies have been able to. It's unfortunate that the film didn't do much at the box office because it really is the best effort from director Linklater. Although Hawke's best role remains as "Gattaca", this is certainly a fine performance as well.

The DVD

VIDEO: This is a very pleasing, but not perfect anamorphic transfer in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio(there is also a full-frame edition on the flip side). Images remain slightly soft throughout, but always clear and if not razor sharp, at least crisp looking. Detail is good, although some of the night scenes are a little lacking in detail. Colors are generally subtle, although some of the scenes as the couple walks around Vienna reveal brighter, slightly more vibrant touches of colors. Contrast is ok, and flesh tones are accurate. There is nothing in the way of problems with shimmering or pixelation and the print used is free of flaws. It's a good quality image, but there were times when I felt it could have been a little richer in feel .

SOUND: Really "Before Sunrise" is the ultimate in "dialogue-driven" soundtracks; it's all dialogue, with touches of music being the only other information really going on. That's the kind of film it is, though, and generally the audio gets the job done fine. Dialogue is alright, sometimes it was a little soft.

MENUS:: Basic, non-animated main menus.

EXTRAS: Just the trailer. No more, no less.



Final Thoughts Worth a look as a rental. I wish commentary from Linklater would have been included. Still, it's nice to have this film finally released on DVD, especially at the low retail price of $19.99

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