The Yards

The Yards

DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of The Yards

Behind The Scenes are choppy cuts from the Cast and Crew Interviews, mainly puffing the movie and its director, James Gray. Mark Wahlberg says how great it is to work with these guys: "They make me look good."

Charlize Theron goes on about Gray being a tough taskmaster, which is what she needs/likes and how wonderful it is to be here. James Caan, the old pro, praises Gray as "very impressive, very obsessive." Ellen Burstyn does the same for the younger actors, especially Wahlberg. Gray says, "Every movie is a wild animal that is going to get away from you."

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On Location uses a fast cut technique to disguise the fact that there isn't much on offer. Scenes from a celebratory dinner in a gymnasium give an impression of how slow and tedious moviemaking can be. Also, there are shots in "the yards", with technicians hanging about. Although the set-ups have been used in Behind The Scenes and, in many cases, repeat what we have already looked at, On Location gives a strong impression of how many people are required back-of-camera and just how much equipment is required.

Somewhere, in the middle of all this, actors are attempting and, in most cases, succeeding, to produce truthful, emotionally understated performances. Admiration for them increases.

Cast and Crew Interviews repeat quotes from Behind The Scenes, adding a little, although nothing controversial. Everyone is so nice about everyone else that you don't learn enough about them to make judgements, except that Gray is smart, Caan a good ol' boy, Burstyn focused, Theron serious, Phoenix heavy and Whalberg less than forthcoming.

Director's Commentary: it's worth buying the DVD for this. Gray talks you through the film, scene by scene. He is honest and intelligent and explains so much about collaboration and surprise. Plot is not as important to him ("It's not what will happen, but why it happens") as detail ("Accidental moments of human behaviour"). He stresses the importance of mood ("Movies are about the pauses between the dialogue") and admits to stealing ideas from other films, usually Italian from the Sixties.

Reviewed on: 20 Aug 2001
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The Yards packshot
A murder cover up set against the backdrop of corruption on the New York Subway.
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Product Code: VFC 26545

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Director

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