Behind the Red Door
Showtime // R // $24.98 // December 16, 2003
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted February 15, 2004
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Graphical Version
The Movie

Television Premiere Date: January 12, 2003

Run Time: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

After a disconcerting child life Natalie Haddad (Kyra Sedgwick) and the unexplained death of her mother she distances herself from her brother and unloving father. Ten years after her mother's death, Natalie now leads her life away from her childhood city of Boston, now residing in New York City. Here she works as photographer who rarely earns enough to support at minimum a casual lifestyle. Then she proposed by her agent and friend Julia (Stockard Channing) with a job. Natalie quickly loses interest when she finds out the job is in her hometown of Boston, the place where the death of her mother took place. Fearing reality, she has no desire to fear the demons from her past that haunts her present.

Her agent Julia manages to convince Natalie that she must forget her problems and take the job, as they both direly need the funding. Once in Boston it is revealed that the individual who hired Natalie for the job is her older brother Roy (Kiefer Sutherland), one she wishes to never see. But some word from her agent, she decides to just complete the job. Roy having not seen his sister for ten years wishes to rekindle their relationship. Also being an extremely wealthy individual, he's very used to getting his way. Then after a bit of more convincing Natalie agrees to attend his birthday the following evening, with the full intention of returning to New York the next morning.

While Natalie intends to return to New York, Roy reveals his true motivation for getting Natalie back. Being that he cannot turn to his, who dismissed their relationship before his mother's death as Roy is a homosexual, Natalie is the only one he can turn to. It seems that Roy's former lover, died a year and a half ago of the AIDS virus. All his friends simply think he left Roy, a truth that he wishes to never be revealed. Yet he needs someone to help him, as he is dying from the virus as well and after watching his former lover be handled by complete strangers while on his death bed. Roy has no intentions of spending his last days without someone he loves by his side.

After learning the truth Natalie agrees to stay a few more days with her dying brother, but she still intends to return to her own life. However after facing more of her personal demons she decides to stay with her brother and care for him. Meanwhile she also returns to the troubling memories of her mother's death. While it was clearly murder, her father was implicated, but he was eventually acquitted due to lack of evidence. While she cares for her brother, she journeys to relive the past and attempt to uncover the truth.


Spoken Languages: English, Spanish

Non-Spoken Languages: None

This feature is presented in its original television aspect of 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture is fairly good with a slight grainy aspect to the picture. There are also some scenes (flashbacks to the past) that are in black and white. A good part of the picture is fairly dark as it adds feeling to the dark and somber mood that the story tells.

The audio is presented in 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound in the English language. This high quality audio track is supplemented with 2.0 Dolby digital surround sound in both the English and Spanish languages. The audio is quite good and very clear and crisp throughout the entire feature.

There are no subtitles presented in this feature.

Extras: Cast Filmographies, Cast Interviews with Keifer Sutherland and Kyra Sedgwick, Trailers

Final Thoughts:
This feature seemed to focus on a few distinct areas, one the growing relationship of a brother and sister that come from a dysfunctional family and the transition of a weak and timid individual becoming someone stronger. Among these Behind the Red Door also hopes to touch upon society to increase awareness surrounding the AIDS and HIV virus. While the feature's subject nature is extremely dramatic and powerful, the movie fails to be truly entertaining. The actual feature starts off fairly slow and it's not a good twenty minutes into the feature before you actually have some kind of idea of what's going on. But once Roy's intentions are revealed to Natalie, things start to make a little more sense. However it doesn't change the fact that the feature continues to move at a fairly slow pace.

This feature was the first effort of a joint program with the Viacom Cable Company and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation to increase AIDS awareness with the general public. While I stated above that the subject nature is very serious and moving, the feature just wasn't. I simply found Behind the Red Door to be a coy representation of the actual issue. In no way did I find it informative or educational. Nor did I find it that entertaining. In short I found the feature to be a one way shouting match with Keifer Sutherland yelling at Kyra Sedgwick. Perhaps I just missed what the true meaning of the film was, but I just didn't care for it much at all.

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