The Stendhal Syndrome – Review (Blue Underground LE Blu-ray)
Stendhal syndrome, Stendhal’s syndrome, hyperkulturemia, or Florence syndrome is a psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art. Source: Wikipedia
Dario Argento has a long line of stellar films under his belt, and even the ones that aren’t amazing still have many redeeming qualities to them. The Stendhal Syndrome falls somewhere between the two, with an interesting plot and the beautiful Asia Argento heading up the film. It has a few twists and turns, but seasoned horror fans and fans of Argento will most likely guess where the movie is headed long before the end rolls around.
It might surprise you to hear that The Stendhal Syndrome is not a Giallo, which is usually what most of Argento’s films fall into. The film does have murder front in centre, with Asia investigating the raping and killing of several women, but we get to find out the identity of the killer pretty much right away. So, the point of the flick isn’t to guess who is doing the murdering, but figuring out how everything is going to go down for our main heroine.
Unfortunately, the film has a few faults. Dario Argento for some reason chose to incorporate some rather awful and unnecessary CGI into the film. It stands out like a sore thumb when compared to the rest of the movie, which looks gorgeous thanks to all the Italy locations and breathtaking artwork. Finally, the biggest the issue is the ending. As already mentioned, its rather easy to figure out what is going to happen and once you do figure it out, you want to see what will happen next, but the movie doesn’t provide that, instead the credits roll.
Nevertheless, The Stendhal Syndrome still piqued my interest vastly, and the two-hour runtime flew by thanks to excellent performances, gorgeous set pieces, and stellar directing from Dario Argento.
Blue Underground has gone above and beyond with the 3-disc Limited Edition Blu-ray release of The Stendhal Syndrome. When the film doesn’t show signs of compression (much like Amsterdamned, the Blu-ray, unfortunately, has some compression problems, but a recall has been provided), the video comes through crystal clear, offering a fantastic look at the set pieces of Italy and the artwork throughout the film. With Blue Underground fixing the compression issues, the video will be near perfect.
It’s not often a Blu-ray offers you six audio tracks, but The Stendhal Syndrome has just that. At first, I had no idea what to pick, but I ended up choosing the 7.1 DTS-HD, which was beautifully clear sounding and made use of the rear channels. I also bounced back and forth between English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX and Italian EX, which although louder, didn’t sound as faithful to what I felt the 7.1 DTS-HD track provided.
If you want to know everything there is to know about The Stendhal Syndrome movie than this Blu-ray release has absolutely everything you could want in the form of special features. Not only do you get all the older 2007 featurettes on a sperate DVD, but you also get an additional DVD with a ton of new features, along with the main Blu-ray providing an audio commentary, and new interviews (Asia Argento still looks hot as ever). Let’s be honest here, I still haven’t made it all the way through the features, but I had to get this review up and live before the end of the year.
The Stendhal Syndrome is a beautiful voyage into art and death. Blue Underground nails this Limited Edition Blu-ray release out of the park (after compression fixes of course), and fans will definitely want to snatch up this masterpiece release.
Disc 1 Extras:
NEW Audio Commentary with Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse
Three Shades Of Asia – NEW Interview with Star Asia Argento
Prisoner Of Art – NEW Interview with Co-Writer Franco Ferrini
Sharp As A Razor – NEW Interview with Special Makeup Artist Franco Casagni