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STUDIO: Koch Lorber Films
RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes
• Theatrical Trailer
“A French woman has 10 days to reunite Nick Nolte with his kids for one last time.”
Juliette Binoche, Nick Nolte, John Turturro, Sarah Forestier and Tom Riley
Irene works for the French Secret Service. You’re never quite sure whose side she’s on, but she always completes her missions. Her latest assignment demands that she rendezvous with the children of a rogue American agent. The agent wants to see his kids one last time, before he has to go underground forever. If the title hasn’t tipped you off, he’s got something to do with the September 11th attacks. The entire film is built as a countdown to the inevitable tragedy to come.
10 Days in September is another foreign film that tries to do what Three Days of the Condor did poorly more than thirty years ago. The thrust of the film is thrown on Juliette Binoche’s shoulders. Binoche is a decent actress, but helming an espionage thriller isn’t something that she can convincingly pull off.
Nobody suspects the Art History Teacher and her nubile companion.
Most of the film requires that you believe she’s a danger to Nolte’s children and to Nolte himself. Then, it wants you to accept that she can go toe-to-toe with John Turturro’s psycho stalker. By the end of the film, you can’t accept the entire storyarc and you’re left scratching your head as to whether or not it was worth the effort.
Turturro is so mishandled in this film. Let’s focus on that as a start. The film felt the urge to have a villain, so they pulled John Turturro out of the steamer trunk and attached to him all of the bullshit psychological baggage that is supposed to pass for character depth and backstory. By the time he’s standing over his victim, while talking to his shrink on his cellphone…you don’t care. There is nothing to suggest that Turturro’s character is nothing more than a one-dimensional caricature of what a thirteen would find mysterious and deadly.
The spy thriller is an old staple in our shared popular fiction. To work, you must have a strong villain or intangible threat. Both of those aren’t found in this film. You must have a strong lead. The lead actress in this film couldn’t harm a butterfly; much less stop a rogue agent from stomping her trachea into the heel of her foot. Finally, there’s the sense of urgency. Hitchcock used to love to tease the audience with a sense of impending doom that the players of the film couldn’t pick up on. Showing a suitcase with a ticking bomb goes a lot farther than having Person A point a gun at Person B.
Why does my contact look like David Spade and Don Johnson had a butt baby?
That’s why there is no sense of threat or urgency in this motion picture and that lack kills any desire to follow the plodding feature to its end. Everyone gives posing attitudes and gestures coupled with a lot of empty talk. It’s almost as though they were told to pose for a Tom Ford shoot rather than arrange a difficult rendezvous with an American agent that may or may not have something to do with the pending 9/11 attacks.
The DVD arrives in a standard keepcase package. I’ve had clever things to say in the past about the cases, but I’m going to retire that with this review. In terms of the overall package, I was left a little flat.
The feature film was disappointing. Couple that with a middle of the road Presentation Quality. The audio was a flat Dolby mix, which did nothing to distract the viewer from an edge enhancement riddled transfer. If you’re looking for special features, we’ll you get the theatrical trailer.
Then, Bay had the Autobot piss on me. Yeah, I know. I should really stick to working with the Coen Brothers. Never had to gargle piss on the set of "Barton Fink".
But, the biggest problem with this set is the potential tech issue that will arise with how the subtitles were coded onto the disc. When I screen these DVDs, I do a run-through on a SONY upscaler connected to my television and a quick trip to get the screenshots off of my DVD-RW drive. On the SONY player, I had to double back more than three times to turn off the subtitles. It seemed as though whenever it hit a new chapter, something would kick the subtitles back on. This isn’t the first problem I’ve had with subtitles on a Koch Lorber disc. I had to return a La Dolce Vita set three times before I found a copy that would allow him to watch the film with or without subtitles.
Being that it’s a foreign film, most people will probably want the added aid of the subtitles. But, for our non-American readers…I wanted to give a heads-up to a problem that may arise.