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Hedwig And The Angry Inch Criterion Blu-ray Review

Hedwig.jpg

“Hedwig And The Angry Inch” gets a new home video release courtesy of Criterion.

Based on the stage show of the same name, “Hedwig And The Angry Inch” is a 2001 cult musical about a transgender singer from East Berlin (Hedwig/Hansel) who was screwed over by a former lover/rock star Tommy Gnosis. Now, Hedwig is forced to play dumpy restaurants with her own band all while Tommy is raking in the dough. Will Hedwig be able to turn her life around or will her life spiral out of control?

John Cameron Mitchell (who performs triple duties here as the writer, director, and star) and Stephen Trask (who did the music) have crafted a decidedly unique musical. It’s not really comparable to anything else in the genre. The narrative structure of ‘Hedwig’ particularly stands out due to its unusual integration of flashbacks, animations, and sometimes fantastical and surrealistic moments. Admittedly, it does feel a bit too unwieldy and perhaps overly ambitious as a whole, but the ingenuity and ahead of its time exploration of subjects like gender identity, love, pain and art go a long way.

Given that this is a musical, the music is, of course, a big reason for the musical’s enduring appeal. Songs like “Angry Inch,” “Wig In A Box,” and “The Origin Of Love” are more than just catchy tunes as they prove to be poignant not only to the character of Hedwig but to the themes of the story.

The screen presence of John Cameron Mitchell also essentially makes the film what it is. Without his performance, dedication, and vision, the film could have easily faltered., but that’s not the case as he is the heart and soul of the entire project.

Presentation:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The 4K digital restoration appears fuzzy but this transfer is certainly sharper than past releases.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The 5.1 DTS track gives the audio more depth than ever before.

Extras:
* A booklet featuring credits, photos, illustrations, an essay by film critic Stephanie Zacharek, and excerpts from “Plato’s Symposium” and “The Gospel of Thomas.”
* “Hedwig And The Angry Inch” trailer
* 12 minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary.
* “A Hedwig Reunion”- A newly recorded extra that contains interviews with cast and crew members (including John Cameron Mitchell). The extra chronicles the project’s inception, the journey to the big screen and its legacy.
* “The Music Of Hedwig”- Another new extra. This one is an interview between music critic David Fricke and Stephen Trask. Conversations range from the band Cheater (which Trask is a member of) to Trask’s work on ‘Hedwig.’
* “Anatomy Of A Scene”- A Sundance Channel extra that examines the making of the Adam and Eve sequence.
* “Whether You Like It Or Not: The Story Of Hedwig”- A 2003 documentary about the history of ‘Hedwig’ from stage to screen. Interviews with cast and crew members are included.
* “From The Archives”- Separate extras in which John Cameron Mitchell, Arianne Phillips, and Mike Potter dig through archival material and talk about them.
* A 2001 commentary by John Cameron Mitchell and Frank G. DeMarco.

June 25, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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