Third Person (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
September 21, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Third Person” is a film that audiences may regard as his best or worse film which he had written and directed. For those who are inspired by Haggis’ box office hits may grumble that the film is too convoluted, while others will applaud the filmmaker for creating a film that makes audiences think and a film requires discussion. I personally enjoyed the film on its take on personal loss but also Haggis’ bold step outside of the types of films he had created and giving viewers something unique and different. “Third Person” is recommended.
TITLE: Third Person
TELEFILM RELEASE: 2013
DURATION: 91 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio), English DTS-HD MA 5.1, Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics
RATED: R (For Language and Sexuality/Nudity)
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Directed by Paul Haggis
Written by Paul Haggis
Produced by Paul Breuls, Paul Haggis, Michael Nozik
Co-Producer: Moran Atias
Executive Producer: Nils Dunker, Fahar Faizaan, Arcadiy Golubovich, Andrew David Hopkins, Tim O’Hair, Guy Tannahill, Anatole Taubman
Associate Producer: Veronique Huyghebaert, Samuel Nozik, Emelie Vervecken
Music by Dario Marianelli
Cinematography by Gianfilippo Corticelli
Edited by Jo Francis
Casting by Elaine Grainger
Production Design by Laurence Bennett
Art Direction by Dimitri Capuani, Luca Tranchino
Set Decoration by Raffaella Giovannetti
Costume Design by Sonoo Mishra
Liam Neeson as Michael
Maria Bello as Theresa
Mila Kunis as Julia
Kim Basinger as Elaine
Michele Melega as Giorgio
Adrien Brody as Scott
Olivia Wilde as Anna
Katy Louise Saunders as Gina
James Franco as Rick
Loan Chabanol as Sam
Riccardo Scamarcio as Marco
Moran Atias as Monika
Third Person tells three stories of love, passion, trust and betrayal. The tales play out in New York, Paris and Rome through three couples who appear to have nothing related, but share deep commonalities: lovers and estranged spouses, children lost and found. Featuring an award-winning ensemble cast including Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List), Adrien Brody (The Pianist), James Franco (127 Hours), Olivia Wilde (Rush), Mila Kunis (Black Swan), Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential) and Maria Bello (A History of Violence). Written and directed by Academy Award® winner Paul Haggis (Best Motion Picture, Crash, 2005), Third Person is a mystery, a puzzle in which the truth is revealed in glimpses, clues are caught by the corner of the eye and nothing is truly what it seems.
Award-winning filmmaker/writer Paul Haggis is best known for writing hit films such as “Crash”, “Million Dollar Baby”, “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace”.
Wanting to challenge himself as a filmmaker, after completion, Haggis felt he had created the best film that he had ever made.
“Third Person” is a star-studded film starring Liam Neeson (“Schindler’s List”, “Batman Begins”, “Taken”), Olivia Wilde (“Rush”, “Tron: Legacy”), Kim Basinger (“L.A. Confidential”, “Batman”, “8 Mile”), James Franco (“Spider-Man” films, “127 Hours”, “This is the End”), Mila Kunis (“Black Swan”, “That 70’s Show”, “Ted”), Adrien Brody (“King Kong”, “The Pianist”, “Predators”), Moran Atias (“Crash”, “Land of the Lost”, “The Next Three Days”) and Maria Bello (“History of Violence”, “Prisoners”, “Payback”).
“Third Person” is a film that revolves around three different stories taking place in different cities.
In Paris, Michael (portrayed by Liam Neeson) is a writer who escapes to another country write his latest book. He has left his wife Elaine (portrayed by Kim Basinger) and is having an affair with Anna (portrayed by Olivia Wilde), who he really loves but is having hard time in committing because he also loves Elaine. But he is unaware that Elaine has a big secret.
In New York, Julia (portrayed by Mila Kunis) is a former actress who was charged for trying to kill her young son. She denies the charges and now, her son is living with his father Rick (portrayed by James Franco) and doing all he can to prevent her from getting him back. As Julia is doing all she can to get her son back, working a hotel job and living without much money, will she ever be reunited with her son?
In Rome, Scott (portrayed by Adrien Brody) is an American businessman who takes an interest in an Albanian gypsy named Monika (portrayed by Moran Atias). As he tries to pursue Monika, he is unaware that she is trying to do all she can to free her daughter who has been kidnapped by a Russian gangster who is holding her hostage. But is she really in dire trouble or is this all a setup to get his money?
“Third Person” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality of the film is magnificent as the cinematography by Gianfilippo Corticelli (“Don’t Move”, “Facing Windows”) is sexy and beautiful. The digital photography showcases the crisp details during closeups. Skintones are natural and black levels are inky and deep. But overall, picture quality for “Third Person” is magnificent with no trace of banding or artifact issues.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Third Person” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 with an English – audio description 5.1 Dolby Digital track. The lossless audio is dialogue and musically driven. Both are crystal clear with crowd ambiance heard during one scene in a club. But for a film like this, the soundtrack is appropriate.
“Third Person” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with writer/director Paul Haggis, production designer Laurence Bennet, editor Jo Francis, producer Michael Nozik and actress Moran Atias.
- Q&A with writer/director Paul Haggis – (33:29) A Q&A with writer/director Paul Haggis and moderator Pete Hammond.
- The Making of Third Person – (9:49) A short featurette with the Paul Haggis and cast on the film and its characters.
- Trailer – (1:44) The theatrical trailer for “Third Person”.
I have to admit that when I was watching “Third Person”, the film was often described as a romance film.
But by the second half of the film, I realized that this film was not a romance film but a drama about characters who have gone through terrible experiences or coming off bad situations and then of course, you get eventually start to realize that these characters are interconnected because of a primary focal point that is revealed by the end of the film.
“Third Person” is a film that no many people will understand and for those who do, will realize that this film is much more than that and it’s all I can even say, because saying more would spoil the film.
Suffice to say, the three stories are interesting and very different. From writer Michael fleeing to Paris to write a book that he has having problems with. His escape is Anna, a woman that he can’t commit to.
You have Julia who is unable to reunite with her son because she allegedly hurt him and now he is with his father Rick and he wants nothing but keep his son away from her.
And then you have Scott who is smitten with an Albanian gypsy named Monika who is in dire need of money to pay off a Russian gangster in order to get her child back. But as he gets caught into her trying to retrieve her child and the gangster thinks he is a wealthy man and wants even more money, the relationship between Scott and Monika becomes even more complicated.
But I enjoyed the film is for its take on loss. There are many films about how a person grieves over a loved one. But what Paul Haggis is managed to create is a film that utilizes its characters in a fascinating way and culminate to an ending that is somber but an ending that I actually can believe in.
In many ways, this film is different from his Hollywood blockbusters because it’s a thinking person’s film. Call it arthouse, call it intellectual cinema but the film delves into the psyche of a character through its characters and attempting to achieve something different.
And because it is different, it’s one of those films that audiences either love for Haggis taking a risk on such a film and those who loathe the film for being too somber and leaving it to viewers to give their own personal interpretation of the film and its ending.
Look online and you’ll realize how people are divided about this film. But in many ways, even the greatest auteurs, have tested the waters with stories that are cerebral, stories that challenge audiences to think about cinema than forcefeeding it to them, as in traditional Hollywood cinema. Take it for what it is, if you are not a thinking person, then this film is not for you.
At 136 minutes long, the film is slowly building, details that seem improbably start to make sense as the story progresses. And there is something about the film and how Haggis able to create a film knowing that it may be uncharacteristic of his style that the audiences love him for. It’s quite daring and a bit risky and bold, as Jean-Luc Godard was after “Breathless” and then create films that were unlike it, that would baffle audiences and critics.
And as a writer and filmmaker, I applaud Haggis for wanting to escape the paradigm and try something different and new!
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is fantastic and for a dramatic series that is primarily dialogue and musically driven, the lossless soundtrack is appropriate for center and front channel fare. The audio commentary is enlightening, while the other featurettes included are also entertaining.
Overall, “Third Person” is a film that audiences may regard as his best or worse film which he had written and directed. For those who are inspired by Haggis’ box office hits may grumble that the film is too convoluted, while others will applaud the filmmaker for creating a film that makes audiences think and a film requires discussion. I personally enjoyed the film on its take on personal loss but also Haggis’ bold step outside of the types of films he had created and giving viewers something unique and different.
“Third Person” is recommended.
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