Eating Raoul Blu-ray Review
“Eating Raoul” is a fun cult comedy.
The plot: Paul and Mary Bland are a stuffy, working class couple who want nothing more than to open their restaurant. Unfortunately, this down on their luck couple is very low on cash. After they accidentally murder a swinger pervert and take his money, however, a profitable new opportunity presents itself. The two decide to continue their killing spree by murdering wealthy perverts and taking their money and possessions in order to raise money for the restaurant. It seems like a perfect scheme for them until a thief (Raoul) finds them out. The couple reluctantly decides to work with Raoul as he offers to get them even more money by disposing of the bodies and selling the deceased folks’ cars. Can the three work together? Will they be caught and arrested? Will the couple’s partnership with Raoul collapse? You’ll just have to see for yourself.
Co-writer/director Paul Bartel’s black comedy has long been a cult favorite and it’s not difficult to see why. It’s hard not to be amused by this amusing, oddball, satire about L.A., eroticism, capitalism and murder. It may sound weird and inaccessible on paper, but the movie is told in a way that is almost “Looney Tunes” esque. It’s all very tongue in cheek. Sure, it may not be too surprising and it ends how you’d predict, but it’s still an entertaining way to spend 83 minutes if you are an open minded viewer looking for something a little less Hollywood.
I know Criterion is always putting out amazing work after amazing work, but “Eating Raoul,” which is presented in 1.78:1 1080p, might be one of their most impressive looking titles to date. Having previously seen this film on a crummy old VHS copy, I couldn’t believe how much this movie had been cleaned up. The colors are so stunning that the film could pass for a recent release.
As for the Mono track, it’s a little too soft for my taste. I should warn you that may need to crank up the sound levels a bit for an adequate audio level.
* “Eating Raoul” trailer.
* A booklet (in a restaurant menu form) featuring an essay by film critic David Ehrenstein.
* “Gag Reel”- Title says it all.
* “Archival Interview”- An interview with Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov. The two are asked questions about themes, careers, etc.
* “Cooking Up Raoul”- A 2012 documentary featuring interviews with cast members Mary Woronov, Robert Beltran and Edie McClurg. The trio talk about friendship, Paul Bartel, casting, “Death Race 2000,” “Eating Raoul,” behind-the-scenes stories, and so on. A very well put together docu. Well worth watching for fans of the film.
* “Naughty Nurse”- A short B&W erotic comedy film by Paul Bartel about a nurse, a doctor, and a cop. Can’t say this one made much of an impression.
* Commentary by Alan Toomayan, Robert Schulenberg, and Richard Blackburn. An enjoyable track in which the 3 point out fun tidbits, cameos by cast members, chat about set design, etc. Worth a listen.
*”The Secret Cinema”- Another Paul Bartel directed short film. The one is about a woman named Jane whose life is secretly being filmed. While the concept is nothing new in this day and age, it’s an interesting “The Truman Show”/reality show esque idea that was ahead of its time. There’s also an “About The Movie” audio interview with Robert Schulenberg.
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