THE PLOT THUS FAR

Christian Camargo (Dexter) makes his directorial debut with the star-studded DAYS AND NIGHTS, a comedically tender interpretation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. Movie star Elizabeth (Allison Janney, Tammy) takes her paramour Peter to her lakeside estate to visit her family during Memorial Day weekend. There they meet up with Elizabeth’s ailing brother (William Hurt, A History of Violence), her artist son (Ben Whishaw, Skyfall), his ethereal muse (Juliet Rylance, Sinister), the family doctor (Jean Reno Léon: The Professional), the estate’s custodian (Russell Means, The Last of the Mohicans), its careless caretaker (Michael Nyqvist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and his wife (Cherry Jones, 24), their temperamental daughter (Katie Holmes, The Giver), and her long suffering ornithologist husband (Mark Rylance, The Other Boleyn Girl) who’s the keeper of the sacred land where a bald eagle is trying to raise its young. Over the course of the holiday weekend, a disastrous turn of events leads the family from dysfunction to heartbreak and, ultimately, salvation in this tragicomic examination of the volatile and fragile nature of love.

WHAT WE THOUGHT

“Days and Nights” is a fun effort to adapt Chekhov. That being said “The Seagull” and “The Cherry Orchard” are always the first two options that Hollywood trots out for adaptations. Malle gave us an interesting take on “Uncle Vanya”, so I know that it can be done. The cast here is interesting, but nobody offers up anything that interesting with the material. But, why did I still like it?

While I love Chekhov adaptations, the flexibility with the material often undoes most of the films. Director Camargo makes his debut with this film and he chooses the use the strengths of his actors to draw out the strength of the text. If you’re familiar with the original work, then you know how it ends. Chekhov never lets anything go to waste and the director plays to that. Still, it’s funny…funny for Chekhov.

The DVD comes with no special features. The A/V Quality is strong enough. The standard definition transfer pops for what it is. The same goes for the Dolby 5.1 track. In the end, I’d recommend a rental.

RELEASE DATE: 01/27/2015

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