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City of Your Final Destination, The (Blu-ray Review)

10 Aug, 2010 By: Daniel Xu

Street 8/17/10
Screen Media
Box Office $0.5 million
$24.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for a brief sexual situation with partial nudity.
Stars Anthony Hopkins, Laura Linney, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Omar Metwally, Hiroyuki Sanada.

Director James Ivory’s first film since the death of production partner Ismail Merchant in 2005, The City of Your Final Destination is a fine addition to the Merchant-Ivory canon — and the genre made famous by its traditions of lavish settings and affluent characters.

The film follows academic Omar Razaghi (Omar Metwally) as he receives a grant to write a biography on deceased novelist Jules Gund. Omar’s letter requesting authorization from Gund’s family is rejected, and his strong-willed girlfriend, Deirdre (Alexandra Maria Lara), convinces him to travel to the writer’s estate in Uruguay to change their minds.

At the Uruguayan countryside manor, its quiet and radiant beauty deftly captured by Ivory, Omar meets the writer’s formidable widow, Caroline (Laura Linney), charismatic brother, Adam (Anthony Hopkins), and willowy mistress, Arden (Charlotte Gainsbourg). As Omar treads deeper into the enigmatic bonds between them, he finds himself caught in a complex web of relationships where he can no longer remain an outsider — nor does he want to.

Adapted from the Peter Cameron novel of the same name, the film draws from the novel’s literacy elegance in portraying its characters through polished dialogues and precise mannerisms. Metwally and Gainsbourg are excellent in embracing their delicate roles and their timid romance. Hopkins and Linney both teem with their particular wisdom mirrored in their masterful performances that, even for those not a fan of a slightly melodramatic plot, are still a delight to behold.

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