The Good

One of Andy Garcia’s best films.

The Bad

A little slow in parts.

I wonder how a film as rich and good as Modigliani slipped through the cracks? This tale of painter Amedeo Modigliani lassical in it’s telling of the man’s life. He is spurned by the family of the women he loves because he is a Jew. In his work, the one place where he feels he has the most control, he finds himself in competition with the likes of Picasso and Cocteau during one art history’s most important times. Andy Garcia imbues the title character with so much heart and soul, that I don’t know what moved me more? Modigliani’s story or Garcia’s portrayal that seems to have gone heretofore unnoticed because of the crowded movie marketplace.

Features

The “Making Of” Modigliani

While this is a pretty “paint by numbers” account of how the movie was made, it is still worth a glimpse simply because we get to see behind the world of this movie. I honestly had gone into this film not expecting much. I thought it was going to be one of those independent films that puts more emphasis on the images, then on the heart and soul of the performances. I was wrong and watching this “making of” only underlined the process by which those performances were achieved.

Video

Aspect Ratio - 1.78:1. I am not sure what the final budget was on this movie but it looks big. Bolstered by the lush widescreen look, the colors are very solid and hard. They have managed to create this post World War II world on what I can only imagine was a budget that didn’t exceed $20 million dollars. Even that number is probably being generous. The shots of Andy Garcia painting are just inspiring and we as viewers really get inside his head. If you have ever done anything creative for any length of time, this movie will very easily resonate with you.

Audio

Dolby Digital. English. Closed Captioned. This movie sounded fine. I was able to keep the levels on my TV set in about the middle range, but I tend to think that this “small” film could even play well on someone’s home theater system. It isn’t like I found anything that amazing with the sound (this is where they have really focused on the images), but I just thought this movie moved well. It engaged me and at 127 minutes really kept things going.

Package

The front cover features a very nice photo of Andy Garcia. The expression on his face, while plain, really does say a lot. Below him, the character’s of Modigliani and Jeanne (the women he loves) share a special moment in the street. The back of this cover has Modigliani in full thought mode as he paints. There is a description of the movie, a special features list, a cast list and technical specs. Honestly, packaging is very subjective (some movies we feel it should be more, others we think much less), but I think that what they have done here for this movie is just right.

Final Word

Modigliani is a film for everyone. Sure, it looks stodgy and a bit distant, and had I not had to review this film I most likely never would have screened it, but this is one of those movies that is practically perfect. Seeing Modigliani relegated to an almost Salieri-like status, made viewing Andy Garcia’s performance that much more rich. It is amazing this actor has not gotten bigger than he is. That he hasn’t been able to transcend his status. As he is able to play both a leading man and a character actor, and he’s also someone with a somewhat undefined ethnicity (in this movie he was Jew in Night Falls on Manhattan he was Irish), I just think that as someone who is hard to pin down Hollywood doesn’t pin him anywhere.

Modigliani is a very well made, well crafted film that is rich in both it’s look and performances.