Director:  Dario Argento

Starring: Max Von Sydow, Stefano Dionisi, Chiara Caselli

Most fans and admirers agree that Argento’s 2001 giallo, about a insomniac detective (Max Von Sydow) brought out of retirement to re-open the investigation of a serial killer – nicknamed The Dwarf - who has apparently begun killing again after being presumed dead for seventeen years, has marked a distinct improvement following the dull Stendhal Syndrome (1996) and his frankly misguided adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera (1998).

The anamorphically-enhanced 1.78:1 picture on M.I.A.’s disc is generally very good, especially when compared to some previous Argento offerings. There are, however, one or two significant shortcomings: although the film has a 5.1 mix, it’s delivered at 224kbps, half the bit rate recommended by Dolby. The disc only contains the dubbed English soundtrack: the original Italian soundtrack is not offered as an alternative. (The Italian disc from Medusa offers Italian DTS and Dolby Digital mixes, and an English 5.1 mix). It should be noted that Von Sydow delivered his performance in English, and this is naturally retained on the English mix. 

M.I.A. have redeemed themselves somewhat with the generous array of extra features on offer, including a subtitled behind the scenes featurette (15m), an Italian trailer, and a photo’ gallery. The second disc contains the excellent documentary Dario Argento – An Eye For Horror, which provides a good overview of the director’s career, including clips from many of his films and interviews with Asia Argento, Daria Nicolodi and George Romero. The addition of the documentary– available in the US on a disc of its own – significantly increases this package’s value for money rating, and could almost be considered the main attraction (with Sleepless as the bonus movie). The US release is a widely derided pan-and-scan transfer with no significant extras.








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