A performance by Angelina Jolie("Girl, Interrupted") that not only took her career to the next level, but brings an otherwise average movie higher, as well. This is the situation with "Gia", a made-for-cable film about the life of model Gia Carangi, who quickly went from high school to the modeling world - the usual story of rising to the top too quickly, then falling very hard.
Jolie plays Gia in the sort of "no-nonsense" performance that she gave in "Girl, Interrupted" as well. Here, she starts off as a wild, but innocent girl who is corrupted by the promise of fame and wealth. Unable to deal with relationship problems and the stress of fame, she finds herself addicted to drugs and eventually, dying of AIDS.
Again, it's the performance of Jolie that takes this above the TV-movie-of-the-week level; intense, funny, saddening, dramatic - Jolie takes on every emotion with energy to spare. I doubt anyone else would be right for the role. The film does become overlong at 2 hours, but for the majority of the time, Jolie holds the viewers interest with one of her best performances.
VIDEO: HBO presents "Gia" in a full-frame transfer, and although the quality is certainly good and probably better than broadcast quality, it does show some flaws. Although many sequences are adequately sharp, some of the dimly lit scenes tend to look a little bit on the soft side. Detail is good, but not great and clarity is also pleasing. Colors are also pretty solid, looking nicely saturated with no problems. Flesh tones are natural, as well. There are some inconsistencies that take away from the look of the film - there's some slight grain here and there, and some trace amounts of pixelation and marks on the print. Not terribly noticable, but the flaws add up to a less than smooth picture on occasion.
SOUND: The Dolby 2.0 soundtrack struts its stuff when the musical score comes into play, but other than that, it really remains a dialogue-driven movie. The musical score and rock/pop tunes sound dynamic and very pleasing, but other than that, the movie is all dialogue, which sounds clear and easily understood.
MENUS:: Some nicely animated menus with the music from the film in the background.
EXTRAS:: A dissapointing set of extra features; a photo gallery, some cast/crew bios are it. There is an unrated version on video, so why couldn't it have been included here?.
Final Thoughts: Although HBO has released this DVD at a fine price(some stores might have it for as little as $13.99), the film could have had a more complete effort on DVD with more consistent image quality and maybe the unrated version(or at least the unrated footage) available on the same disc, along with some other additional features.