Silk DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee Pattee
DVD released by Tartan Video
I have one question for you. If there really are ghosts, why do they always have clothes on? – Victim
Written and directed by Chao-Pin Su
2006, Region 1 (NTSC), 108 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on June 12th, 2007
Chen Chang as Tung
Yosuke Eguchi as Hashimoto
Karena Lam as Wei
Barbie Hsu as Su
Po-lin Chen as Ren
Chun-Ning Chang as Mei
A group of scientists trying to harness the mystery of anti-gravity invent the Menger Sponge — a strange material that, among other things, when mixed with water and sprayed into the eyes, makes ghosts visible.
Using this technology, Hashimoto (Yosuke Eguchi) — the head of the project — and his group manage to capture a ghost, thinking its energy will somehow help them break the anti-gravity barrier.
Confounded by the mystery of the ghost, a young boy, Hashimoto recruits Tung (Chen Chang – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) into the group. While not a scientist, Tung is incredibly alert to his surroundings, picking up things that everyone else misses. Plus, he can read lips. That skill is extremely important, as the boy has been talking on occasion, but silently.
Thus begins the quest to unravel the mystery of the boy's death.
Oh, did I mention that whenever the kid notices someone staring at him, he flips out and kills them? Yeah, that's going to make things a tad difficult.
In Thank You for Smoking, there's a great scene in which Nick (Aaron Eckhart) questions Jeff (Rob Lowe) about the problems with smoking a cigarette in space. Nick asks, "But wouldn't they blow up in an all-oxygen environment?" to which Jeff replies, "Probably. But it's an easy fix. One line of dialogue. 'Thank God we invented the... you know, whatever device.'"
I thought of that scene many times while watching Silk because, damn, that Menger Sponge can do just about everything. Can't see the ghost? Squirt some of that Menger in your eye! Wanna take a picture of the ghost, apply some of that Menger on the film! Want to get the ghost's attention? Coat your bullets with that Menger! That'll do it! That dadgum Menger would probably cure cancer, eventually. It seems the entire purpose of the Menger Sponge (aside from everything else) was to be some sort of catch-all for tricky situations.
Yeah, writer and director Chao-Pin Su got a little lazy at times with the story, especially since he had an easy out with the Sponge of sponges, but, man, the movie barely suffers from it.
As goofy as the actual premise is, Silk manages to not only be a serious movie, but there are also some incredibly fantastic and suspenseful scenes in the mix. In one scene, thick with tension, Tung comes face to face with the ghost, and must, under no circumstances, look this boy in the eye. The shot, the acting, the entire scene came together perfectly, and I didn't realize I was holding my breath until I let it out when it was over. And, when it was over, I wanted to rewind it and watch it again, but I didn't, because I wanted to see what happened next. Silk is pretty damn engrossing, and while it seems Su went to the well a tiny bit too often, he more than makes up for it with shots like the one mentioned.
Another slight problem with the story is with the character, Tung (played with wonderful coolness by Chen Chang). I can get that the man can see the feathers on a bird. I can get he can see things that most people will miss. What I can't get is how he can get into a car and follow a thin piece of silk for miles. This cat was picking up on things Superman with his Super Vision would have a hard time focusing on.
But, here's the kicker: It's easily overlooked. Because, once again, the movie is so compelling that it makes it easy for you to send your sense of disbelief out on errands for an hour and forty minutes or so.
The acting in Silk is very solid across the board, with Chen Chang leading the attack. The moment he comes on screen, you start rooting for him. His quiet tough-guy demeanor is incredibly likeable, and you know he's going to get the job done. He will solve this mystery.
Yosuke Eguchi does a great job with his Hashimoto, as well. While his character seems likeable, Eguchi plays it so there is something you just can't trust about him. As well he should. It was a very fine line Eguchi danced, because you can't like him too much or too little, as he has something going on in his head that you don't find out about until the end of the film. No worry, kids, that's not really a spoiler, because you aren't trusting him too much, anyway.
Even though it suffers from some minor… okay, major plot holes, if you are willing to take some things at face value, you are going to have a hell of a time with the flick.
Video and Audio:
Silk's anamorphic 2.35:1 presentation is solid across the board. Colors are sharp and clear with no noticeable blemishes. No complaints on this.
Its Mandarin DTS track is free of problems as well. Bass kicks when necessary, and sides and rears are used appropriately. I never had to reach for the remote to adjust the volume.
Mandarin 5.1, 2.0 and English and Spanish subtitles are also offered.
- Audio Commentary by Director and Cast
- The Making of Silk
- Alternate Ending
- Deleted Scenes
- Original Theatrical Trailer
"The Making of Silk" is one big advertisement that runs a half of an hour, as opposed to the 30 seconds it should. There are interviews interlaced with movie clips. Nothing gained here, so you can safely skip it.
Of the film's ending and the alternate ending, I prefer the latter, as it goes into a little more on what happened to one of the characters. Telling you more would be a spoiler, so make sure you watch it after you've seen the movie. Like that needs to be said.
Of the five deleted scenes, there is probably only one that would have worked in the movie, and of that one, only half of it. Half of the scene introduces a romantic element that is much better off not in the film, but the other half centers around Hashimoto's illness, and it would have helped his character's motivations just a little more.
The outtakes aren't so much outtakes in the "he or she flubbed their line" sense, but rather different takes of three different scenes. Easily skippable.
Sure, Silk has a few problems story-wise, but it's really, really hard for me not to like the movie because it's put together so well. And, hell, I didn't see one long-haired girl ghost in the mix. That's gotta say something for it there. Easily worth a rental, and possibly a purchase after that.
(Equipment includes a Mitsubishi WS-48613 48” HDTV, OPPO DV-970HD DVD player and Onkyo HTS-770 Home Theater System and, in some cases, a Sony 27” WEGA TV and a Sony DVP-NS50P DVD player.)
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