Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Michael Caine, Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Northam, Alan Bates, William
Hutt, John Neville, Charlotte Rampling
Director: Norman Jewison
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 119 Minutes
Release Date: April 27, 2004
old, but he's a fox. He knows how to go to ground. If he gets your scent, he'll
Statement is both a strong
character piece and an interestingly constructed chase movie involving a man
who's committed a series of clearly inhuman acts in his past. He's haunted by
his atrocities, and seems as if he's at war with himself as to whether or not he
should succumb to the notion that the web is closing in on him at a rapid pace.
At the same time, he knows no other option but to keep running.
The man is Pierre
Brossard (Michael Caine), a Frenchman who, during World War II, served as a
prime executioner of several French Jews while employed by the Nazi party. He
was soon arrested for his crimes against humanity, only to escape not too soon
afterward. Since his escape, he's been on the lam from any possible authorities
looking to capture him.
Perhaps the more
surprising element of this story, inspired by the pursuit of a real life figure
named Paul Touvier, is who was precisely behind the secrecy of Brossard's
location. As it turns out, a right wing sect of the Catholic Church provided
nothing short of a safe house for Brossard to reside in as he feared that
numerous police units, as well as possible hit men, we're closing in on him.
And truth be told,
both sorts of forces were indeed hot on Brossard's trail. The government has
assigned magistrate Annemarie Levi (Tilda Swinton), and her military liaison,
Colonel Roux (Jeremy Northam) to track down Broussard and bring him in alive to
face his charges in the wake of new murders which he has clearly committed.
recent victim was no less than a hit man working under a covert team with Jewish
ties. The leader of the organization, Pochon (Ciaran Hinds), wants blood for the
crimes committed in years past. He's gone through several men to avenge them,
and doesn't plan to go through any more.
The film is both
skillfully directed by seasoned vet Norman Jewison (The Hurricane, In the Heat of the Night) and written by Ronald
Harwood, the very same screenwriter who adapted The Pianist. This time around Harwood is adapting another WWII
related story, from that of the novel by author Brian Moore.
As for Caine, this
is quite an effective performance of a most complicated character. We're not
supposed to like Brossard at all, but it's worth acknowledging the times he
looks as if he's ready to answer for what he's done. It's an intriguing
performance piece in addition to being a skillfully done chase thriller.
transfer provided by Columbia Tri Star is most acceptable, if not all the way
perfection. An opening and crucial scene, shot in black and white, results in
the only distracting portion of the entire presentation. What follows, however,
is a much glorious and well done transfer, complete with clarity, bright colors,
and a good level of detail. In other words, you'll have to get past the flaws in
the opening scene in order to enjoy the rest of the feature.
The film has its
share of gunfire outbursts, which give the 5.1 mix a usual boost or two. In
fact, the sound does prove strong in other areas, as in music score and dialogue
delivery. Although the level of range isn't really too diverse amongst the
channels, it remains an effective piece of sound, nonetheless.
Not a bad listing
of extras, as we get a commentary track with director Norman Jewison, as well as
two lengthy interview segments; one with Jewison, the second with Michael Caine.
Also featured is a well detailed making of featurette, some deleted scenes, and
a trailer gallery.