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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.40:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
    Jet Lag (Rental)
    Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 82 mins . M15+ . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    The French have always been known to have a unique flavour of comedy. If they think this is funny then it really shows how warped that flavour is. There is very little to laugh at in this film, par for one or two richly comic and lifelike moments, with the remainder of the film strongly focused on a romantic relationship drama.

    At times the dialogue gets a little tedious, giving passage for this reviewer to pick out who Juliette Binoche looks like. And 82 minutes is a short running time to figure that out too. OK, so picture Julia Roberts on one side. And Rachel Griffiths on the other. Now grab them together, merge them into one (very sci-fi, eh?) and what do you get – Juliette Binoche, or in other words somebody truly stunningly beautiful – and coming from this guy, that’s saying something. So with such a stunning female lead, you would expect a spunky Frenchman to take the reins as the male lead. Well Jean Reno is on the list somewhere, just a little lower down than where he was actually placed. Maybe it’s just scenes from The Professional coming back as a typecast, but it just doesn’t seem quite right. Now Audrey Tautou and Mathieu Kassovitz in Amélie had great chemistry. These two seem to be missing those fireworks. Either that or one of the moody people in the airport sat on those needed fireworks uncomfortably – oh wait, that’s just the air strike making them so evil.

    So, back to the duration, with the content covered, however meaningful and unique, any longer would have been a pain in the rear end, and no, not because of the fireworks either. 80 minutes is just enough for these characters to develop, open, blossom and let the audience in, even if some of the dialogue seems out of place and somewhat ludicrous.

    Anyway, the air traffic controllers have decided to strike in France during the holidays, causing utter chaos at the airports. After flushing a mobile phone down the toilet, and who can blame her with the size of these things nowadays, Rose (Juliette Binoche) bumps into workaholic Felix (Jean Reno) and politely asks to borrow his mobile phone – away from the toilet, of course. However, Rose’s life is a little complicated and dangerous, with a powerful boyfriend who she’s too scared to leave and this air strike the only thing holding her back from a new life in Acapulco. But trouble strikes as Rose’s boyfriend arrives at the airport. Wanting to pass on a message to Rose, Felix finds the pair at the cafeteria where Rose’s boyfriend gets nasty, causing Rose to run off and leaving Felix stuck in the middle of it. However, it is his presence that stops her from returning to the captured past and gives her the courage to stay on the path to her new life. Delays continue to occur, and Felix is given a hotel room at the airport Hilton and, in order to rescue Rose from an uncomfortable night on some stylish yet ultimately steel chairs at the airport, offers her the other bed in the hotel room. This is where the film starts to take off, as the two look deeper, right past the surface and find something unique and rewarding.

      Video
      Audio
      Extras
    Contract

    Buena Vista are up to their usual standards with another supreme visual treat on offer, boasting bright visuals and a crystal clear picture that really needs little introduction. Grain, artefacts and visual nasties are all absent, and shadows, when required, are presented strongly without overrunning the picture. Two subtitle tracks accompany the film, both English, which are legible to read throughout, yet quite different from the English spoken dialogue. One slight flaw though, at one point the subtitles are a little delayed, resulting in a quick flick of one set of subtitles, quite obviously making it impossible to read. With this reviewer unable to understand fluent French, with “c'est la vie”, “bonjour” and “croissant” the extend of this guy’s understanding, the accuracy of the subtitle translation is not clearly known, yet the dialogue is simple-ish to follow if you’re up to date with your thesaurus.

    Two Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks have been included, one in French and the other in English. Given Jet Lag’s origins, the French track is the prime listening option as synch is spot on due to it being the native language of the film. The English track, while serviceable, is quite disturbing at the Americanisms of changing words around to make it understandable for those who only drink “soda”. Also of note, it appears as if the crew responsible for the English track have worked at trying to match lip synch with appropriate pauses and the like. While this is admired, for this reviewer it doesn’t matter as the only way to watch a foreign film is with its original foreign-language soundtrack. So anyway, surround activity is quite busy, but only full of ambient effects rather than direct effects. Eric Serra’s (The Fifth Element) score, while not terribly memorable, is ultimately bright and up-tempo, lifting the mood of the film well and adding an innovative sound to what would ordinarily be a score of weeping strings. Serra’s score fills the soundstage primarily from the rear channels, sweeping in with warmth and rich fidelity, creating a beautifully warm soundtrack that suitable fits to the film’s progression.

    A simple anamorphically-enhanced menu set is all that exists in the way of extra features as scene selections don’t count. Well, for that matter, neither do menus... Ooh, but wait, there’s also a 1.33:1 language selection menu upon start up – so how’s that for variation?

    This definitely isn’t the comedy that the synopsis on the slick describes, yet a rather wordy romantic drama that has some nice elements, but at times made this reviewer feel like he had been hit over the head with the boredom stick. Buena Vista’s transfer is superb, with the utter lack of extras a little disappointing, but not surprising given the rental treatment. Fans of foreign cinema who don’t mind films that wander from the straight and narrow should give Jet Lag a shot next time you’re at the video store.


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  •   And I quote...
    "The French have always been known to have a unique flavour of comedy. If they think this is funny then it really shows how warped that flavour is."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS530
    • TV:
          Sharp SX76NF8 76cm Widescreen
    • Receiver:
          Sony HT-SL5
    • Speakers:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony SS-CNP2
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SA-WMSP3
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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