Review: The City of Your Final Destination DVD

STUDIO: Screen Media | DIRECTOR: James Ivory | CAST: Laura Linney, Anthony Hopkins, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Omar Metwally, Hioyuki Sanada
RELEASE DATE: 8/17/10 | PRICE: DVD $24.98, Blu-ray $29.98
BONUSES: commentary, behind-the-scenes footage
SPECS: PG-13 | 118 min. | Drama | 1.78:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

In the independent film The City of Your Final Destination, based on Peter Cameron’s 2002 novel, a strong cast and gorgeous visuals is not enough to make up for a paper-thin plot, even when the director is James Ivory, the still-living half of the Merchant Ivory dynamic duo (The Remains of the Day, A Room With a View).

With a screenplay by longtime Merchant Ivory collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who has won three Academy Awards for her work with the filmmakers over years, City of Your Final Destination follows Iranian-American student Omar Razaghi (a wooden Omar Metwally) in his quest to publish a biography of Latin American writer Jules Gund. In order to do so, he must gain the permission of Gund’s widow Caroline (Laura Linney), brother Adam (Anthony Hopkins), and mistress Arden (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who all happen to live together on a secluded estate in Uruguay and have denied all requests for a biography to be written. These melancholy three knock around, thinking too much and carrying secrets – until Omar comes along to shake things up. It’s hard to know, and we’re never convinced, why anyone would care about a biography of Jules Gund or what his big secrets might be.

As with previous Merchant Ivory movies, City is beautifully shot (by Spanish cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe), and Linney, Hopkins and Gainsbourg are all pros, but only a highly literary audience will come away from this movie feeling satisfied.

If you’re interested in more, the DVD includes a commentary and behind-the scenes featurette.

 

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About Megan

Megan Quinn is a former contributing editor and movie reviewer for Video Business magazine. She has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri, which she puts to good use raising money for nonprofits in New York. Most importantly, she is Henry’s mom.