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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Green Card
Green Card
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG-13 // March 4, 2003
List Price: $9.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted March 1, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

A cute 1990 romance from director Peter Weir ("Picnic at Hanging Rock", the upcoming Russell Crowe picture "Master and Commander"), "Green Card" stars Andie McDowell and Gerard Depardeau as a Manhattan couple who find themselves married for different reasons: he is French and needs a green card so that he can stay in America. She believes she will have a chance to move into a stunning apartment if she is married.

The film ventures into the usual areas for the genre - the two don't like each other at first, but then start to warm up to one another (especially when the INS starts checking up on them) and eventually, fall for one another. While the formula is fairly standard, Weir handles it with a light touch and the acting is very good.

In fact, the acting by McDowell and Depardeau is really what makes the film work as well as it does. Most of the film goes over familiar ground: fish-out-of-water gags, the occasional scare of being caught, the two gradually falling for each other - still, the subtle nature of the two performances (more restrained than these two usually are) make the journey that these two take from point A to point B involving. Supporting performances by Bebe Neuwirth and others liven up the picture, but the roles of the supporting cast are not particularly well-developed.

Technically, the film is a treat, too. Geoffrey Simpson's cinematography captures New York beautifully and frames the romance with great care. Hans Zimmer's score also adds to the emotion of many scenes without underlining them. Production design is superb, too.

This is certainly Weir's lightest picture in his career, but he carries it quite well. It's not particularly original (and it occasionally moves a little bit slowly in the middle), but it's sweet, graceful and charming.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Green Card" is presented by Touchstone Home Video in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. It seems to be one of only a couple ("Smoke" is another) anamorphic widescreen presentations out of the group of catalog titles released by Disney this week. It's also one of the better-looking presentations from the studio I've seen this week, as Geoffrey Simpson ("Shine")'s cinematography is presented very nicely here. Sharpness and detail are not outstanding, but they remain very pleasing, as the picture only occasionally shows slight softness.

The usual faults really weren't in attendance here. Slight edge enhancement only became visible briefly in a couple of scenes, while no noticable compression artifacts were spotted. The print remained in very nice condition, with only a few stray specks and a mark or two on the print used.

The film's natural color palette looked accurately rendered here, with crisp, clean tones and no smearing. Bright colors occasionally stood out, too. Black level remained fairly good, while flesh tones looked natural. This isn't a remarkable looking presentation in any way, but I still found it to be a very nice effort.

SOUND: "Green Card" is presented here with a remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 track (there is an English 5.1 presentation and a French 5.1 presentation, too.) Still, 5.1 or not, this is really a subtle film in terms of sound, anyways. Largely dialogue-driven, the only other element of the soundtrack is Hans Zimmer's elegant score, which sounds quite nice from the front speakers. Audio quality is perfectly fine, as the score sounded somewhat dynamic and dialogue mostly remained clear and easily understood.

EXTRAS: Nothing.

Final Thoughts: "Green Card" is a light and well-acted romantic drama that offers fine performances and solid direction. Buena Vista's DVD doesn't offer anything in the way of supplements, but it's nice that the film is presented with a new anamorphic widescreen transfer and 5.1 soundtrack. The low $9.99 retail price (and less at other stores - I picked it up for $6 and change) is also very reasonable. Recommended.

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