HBO/1999/117m/FS 1.33

      Vendetta is reminiscent of many other films about injustice, corruption and mob rule, yet it is often compelling. In 1890's New Orleans, many Italian workers have been imported to supplement the cheap labor disrupted by the abolition of slavery. As the local Italians begin to take a financial foothold in the city, local powers deal with the threat by any means necessary. That includes framing a group of innocent immigrants to inflame the public against the threat of the foreigners. Innocent romance is added to the mix successfully, though the light touch is left in the background as the mob comes to the fore.
      The local period color is effective, accomplished no doubt on a limited budget. Production Designer David Chapman deserves credit, but director Meyer seems to make the most of everything in this production. Meyer's rhythms are effective and the film build good tension without cheap camera tricks or false script leads. John Altman's music feels right, capturing a hint of Italy combined with the new world.

Fine production design on a modest budget. İHBO

     Veteran director Nicholas Meyer makes the most of his resources. Pacing and movement between various aspects of the production is skillfully manipulated. Meyer works well with his entire production team, getting the best from his performers.
     The actors are very effective. New face Allesandro Colla  as young immigrant Gaspare Marchesi brings innocence and enthusiasm to his role. Joaquim De Almeida, playing Italian entrepreneur Joseph Macheca,  is becoming an expert at bringing dignity to his parts. Christopher Walken is effectively cold and ruthless as power broker James Houston and Bruce Davison is quietly powerful in playing the pivotal role of defense attorney Thomas Semmes, while Clancy Brown is a strong presence as Police Chief Hennessy.

     A hint of cross-color suggests that the DVD may have been made from a composite source, which makes no sense, but it was there. The image is sharp throughout with strong and accurate colors. Framing looks comfortable at 1.33, but the sweep of the local market could have been captured with more excitement in widescreen. Shadow detail is excellent and the DVD is displayed with plenty of pop. The 2-channel sound is clear and dialogue easy to understand. A sprinkling of white subtitles are provided to translate some of the Italian.  

 Why do Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Pat O'Brien and Goldie Hawn fall into a select group of actors? Find out more by clicking the  Hollywood on the Sidelines symbol.

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