Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 5th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 2007
Director: Dario Argento
Writers: Jace Anderson, Dario Argento, Walter Fasano, Adam Gierasch, Simona Simonetti
Cast: Asia Argento, Cristian Solimeno, Adam James, Moran Atias, Valeria Cavalli, Philippe Leroy, Daria Nicolodi, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, Udo Kier, Robert Madison, Jun Ichikawa
DVD released: April 21st, 2008
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Optimum
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £15.99
Synopsis: When an ancient urn is discovered in a cemetery in Rome the contents in the urn help set forth a series of events leading up to the end of the world.
Mother of Tears is the third installment in a trilogy of films directed by Dario Argento with the first two installments Suspiria in 1977 and Inferno three years later in 1980. Twenty seven years in the making Mother of Tears has some large shoes to fill as it is constantly going to be compared to Suspiria and Inferno and their ever present legacy that follows them. Mother of Tears also carries the heavy burden of pleasing fans who desperately want Dario Argento to return to the style that graces his golden era of films (Deep Red through Opera).
The plot for Mother of Tears like its predecessors (Suspiria and Inferno) is simplistic almost to a fault. Some of the more supernatural moments are not that effective as they come off half baked. The characters are never really defined which makes caring for them impossible. The pacing is very effective with rarely a scene that drags or feels out of place. Dario Argento’s direction shows signs of his unique artistic style. The death scenes are crude, bloody and the most brutal since Opera. The special effects which are once again handled by Sergio Stivaletti are not that convincing and they come off as looking cheap. The films score was composed by Claudio Simonetti who’s scores with Goblin or by himself have helped define many of Dario Argento’s films. My favorite musical motif in Mother of Tears is the music that plays while Sarah Mandy is being chased on the train.
The cast for Mother of Tears features many performers who have worked with Dario Argento on previous films. In the lead role of Sarah Mandy is Dario’s daughter Asia who has previously worked with her father three times before (Trauma, The Stendhal Syndrome and Phantom of the Opera). Asia’s performance while good it is her weakest performance out of the four films she has done with her father. Three supporting performances of note are Udo Kier as Padre Johannes, Philippe Leroy as Guglielmo De Witt and Daria Nicolodi as Elisa Mandy. Despite only having secondary roles all three performers are very strong in their perspective roles. One of the more memorable performances is that of Jun Ichikawa as Katerina the leader of Goth looking witches. Overall the performances vary in quality with most of the cast convincingly pulling off the characters they play.
Is Mother of Tears as good or better then its predecessors Suspiria & Inferno ? I would have to say no and not because it lacks the style or carnage that we have come to expect from Dario Argento. Each film in a series of films should be equal or better then the last or you risk the chance of alienating the core audience. The expectations for Mother of Tears were set so high that no matter what Dario Argento decided to do style and story wise it would have been a letdown to his core audience. The one thing that hurts Mother of Tears more than anything else is its anticlimactic ending. It is disappointing that a film that had as long as Mother of Tears to formulate in its creators mind would end up as disjointed and unresolved. While there will be many detractors of this film out there who will be preaching that Dario Argento has lost it. The end result as flawed as it is still one the goriest and entertaining horror films that has been released in a very long time.
Mother of Tears is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. The image looks sharp and colors look nicely saturated. There are no issues with compression, artifacts or blurring of the image.
This release comes with two audio options a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Dolby Digital stereo mix both in English. Both audio mixes sounds clear, clean, evenly balanced and dynamic. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix sounds more robust of the two audio mixes.
The only extra include with this release an English language trailer. The lack of extras is very disappointing especially since this film took twenty seven years to make. Optimum gives Mother of Tears a solid audio/video presentation. If you don’t care about extra content then this release is more than suitable and for those who would like to know more about the film I would suggest waiting for a more definitive release of Mother of Tears.