A beautiful secretary steals her boss' sports car to go joyriding in this stylish psychological thriller. She goes to visit a seaside town she swears she's never been to, but everyone knows her name. And when a body turns up in the trunk of the car, she is suddenly the lead suspect in a murder she knows nothing about. Is she going crazy?
It's not everyday that a cartoonist directs a feature length live-action film, but that's the case with iconic cartoonist Joann Sfar and the French thriller remake 'The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun', or as I will refer to it from now on as 'The Lady'. The story has a great premise and set-up, however Sfar relies far too much on style to deliver any kind of satisfying execution here. The film jumps around to flash back to fast-forwards more time than a whole season of 'LOST', and goes off on tangents whenever it feel like it.
At times, you'll think you're watching a music video, where at other times, you're trying to decipher what kind of mystery is unfolding on screen. Sfar has definitely been influenced by some of the great filmmakers of the 60s and 70s here, as some of his shots and music pay tribute to this era, but he also adds his own vision to the mix, which is chaotic to say the least. 'The Lady' of the story is Dany (the beautiful Freya Mavor), who is a secretary to her wealthy boss, who asks her to work from his house, while his wife and kid are there late one night.
Dany is to drive them to the airport in their sleek looking Ford Thunderbird the next morning, then return it to their house. When Dany is done dropping the family off at the airport, complete with her sunglasses on and long red hair, she decides to not go back to her bosses house, but instead, she takes the car on a road trip of sorts to check out the ocean, which if you watched the opening scene, doesn't make any sense.
Things get a bit crazy when she meets a slew of people that claim they know who she is and that they have seen her recently. From dancing, getting naked, and some sex, Dany ultimately finds out that there is a gun and a dead body in the trunk, and it only gets weirder from there. It sounds like a decent story, but there is never really a forwardness or a fluid transition from one scene to the next.
Instead, Sfar just tries to show how many styles and filmmaking techniques he can employ in one film. That being said, 'The Lady' looks gorgeous from top to bottom, visually speaking, and the music choices are memorable. I just wish I could say the same about the story and its execution.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'The Lady' comes with a 25GB Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia Entertainment and is Region A Locked. There is no insert here. The disc is housed in a hard, blue, plastic eco-friendly case. There is no digital download code here.
'The Lady' comes with a good 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The film was shot digitally and doesn't a use a whole lot of stage lighting, but rather natural light in both exterior and interior shots, which gives this film a beautiful and realistic look. Details are sharp and vivid, showcasing every strand of red hair on Dany nicely. Facial lines, wrinkles, and makeup blemishes look vivid as well.
Wider shots never go soft and offer some decent depth. Colors are a bit muted and never really pop off screen with the exception of the color red, which is boastful. Black levels are deep and inky without any crush and skin tones look mostly natural. There was some minor video noise, here but it's nothing to write home about. All other compressions problems were non-existent, leaving this video presentation with solid marks.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix in French with English subtitles. There is also a dubbed English track in the same format. The French option is the one to choose as the English dub sounds a tiny bit silly. Unfortunately, this isn't really an immersive track. Most of the soundscape comes from the front end of thing with only small hints of ambient noises of nature and other people coming through the rear speakers.
Even then, it isn't much. The dialogue is crystal clear and easy to follow along with the subtitles, and is free of pops, cracks, hiss, and high shrills. The music is the best part of this mix, which has some excellent song picks and comes through the speakers nicely. There isn't much bass here, but it when it does happen, it's on the lighter side of things.
The Man in the Car with a Pen and a Camera (HD, 27 Mins.) - Director Joann Sfar sits at his desk and talks openly about making the film in French. This is a great watch, because he will talk about what he did and didn't like about the film with no censorship. He talks about the script, editing, casting, and music of the film and is well worth your time.
The Paintings of Director Joann Sfar (HD, 3 Mins.) - Joann Sfar, being the artist and cartoonist he is, shows some of his paintings he did during the film.
Trailers (HD, 10 Mins.) - A trailer for the film and a few other movies from Magnolia Entertainment.
'The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun' has a great setup and story, with one beautiful and talented actress (Freya Mavor). The trouble is that the film chooses style over trying to tell a good story that is cohesive and that makes sense. With too man weird stylistic choices and decisions, it all just took away from the story at hand. The video and audio presentation are both good and there is one decent extra of the three that are included here. If you're a fan of French cinema and want some thing a little different, Rent this one first.