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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Delta of Venus
Delta of Venus
New Line // NC-17 // November 4, 2003
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Shannon Nutt | posted March 5, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
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THE MOVIE

Zalman King, the man who brought us Showtime's Red Shoe Diaries is the director of Delta of Venus and fans of the series can pretty much expect a roughly 90-minute version of the TV show. In other words, there's a lot of softcore sex, some very beautiful women – but sadly, not much in the way of storyline.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised to find that the star of Delta of Venus is the one and only Audie England, whom I loved in Free Enterprise. This is one of her earlier roles (filmed back in 1995), and while she doesn't impress much as an actress here – Ms. England is definitely "easy on the eyes". The male lead goes to Picket Fences' Costas Mandylor, whom for some reason has always reminded me of a younger version of Aidan Quinn.

Audie England plays a young American writer in Paris shortly before World War II breaks out who meets Costas' character at a party and immediately hits it off with him. The problem is that aside from being two stunningly attractive people, the two main characters have absolutely nothing in common. Of course, they're taking off their clothes so often in the first half hour of the film, that there is little time for chit chat.

Where Zalman King fails at telling a story, he excels at visuals, giving us softcore action that would seem right at home (and probably will be right at home soon enough) after hours on Cinemax. Like his work on Red Shoe Diaries, the sex is filmed in such a way that it may very well appeal to a female audience more than it does a male one. Sadly though, I've come to the conclusion that King's work is like a cinematic version of a Harlequin romance novel: pretty on the surface, but having very little substance.

No good movie romance occurs without at least one break up…and the one in Delta of Venus happens about a quarter of the way into the movie – when Audie catches Costas out in the middle of the street making out with a hooker. Subtle…real subtle! Audie is now without a partner and without work too…so she goes to her publisher to see what he has to offer her. He first gets her a job nude modeling (the true dream of any serious writer!) and then tells her of an offer from an interested, but anonymous, party who wants her to write erotic fiction for him. No bonus points for guessing who the interested party is!

THE DVD

Video:
The video is presented in 1.85:1 anamoprhic, but is not in very good shape. There's grain evident throughout all of the movie, and there's a lot of dirt on the print. The overall lighting seems somewhat dark as well, and there's a real lack of sharpness to the picture. Whether the grain and soft focus were intentional (soft focus is often used in adult movies to help avoid showing off any physical blemishes of an actress) is unknown, but even if it was the intent, the transfer just doesn't look very good on a widescreen TV.

Audio:
You may be surprised to find out that DTS, 5.1 Dolby and 2.0 Dolby Surround are all offered on this disc. You may also be surprised to find out that there's not a whole lot of difference between the DTS and 5.1 track. The dialogue actually sounds a bit tinny at times, and there's not enough going on in the film to warrant the focus on audio – although there are a few lounge singers during the film that mark the few points where the audio does show a little sparkle.

Extras:
Perhaps the most interesting extra or feature on this disc is the fact that the DVD contains both the R-Rated and NC-17 Rated versions of the film. Pervert that I am, I only viewed the NC-17 version – so I'm guessing the only difference between the two is a bit of edited sex…since there's really nothing else that happens in the movie that would garner a harder rating.

The DVD also contains a few Trailers for other Fine Line feature films.

THE BOTTOM LINE

If I can borrow a line from American Idol judge Simon Cowell, "It just wasn't good enough." For me, sex is only truly erotic on-screen when there's some genuine chemistry between the actors, and while Delta Of Venus certainly offers some attractive people to look at, it's ultimately a movie that's running on empty. Skip it.
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