Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 6th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1990
Director: Christopher Morahan
Writer: John Collee
Cast: Paul McGann, Amanda Donohoe, Frederick Treves, Tom Wilkinson, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Jimmy Yuill, Mark Lewis Jones
DVD Release Date: January 7th, 2014
Approximate Running Times: 105 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Encoding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: A hospital orderly assumes the identity of a recently deceased doctor.
At the core of this film is a story about assuming someone else’s identity. And though some of the events that appear in this film may have seemed farfetched at the time of its release, the rise of identity theft in recent years makes what unfolds onscreen all the more tangible.
Narrative wise what starts off as a film about a man who has yet to let go of woman who has since left him for someone else, quickly transforms into a film about reshaping ones persona into the person who has all the things you want in life. This transformation can also be felt in the tone of this film. The first half has you sympathizing with the protagonist, while the second half puts his true nature on full display and thus exposing his for the monster he has become.
With that being said, just how much you get out of this film lies squarely on the shoulders of this film’s leading man Paul McGann (‘Doctor Who’) in the role of Matthew Harris whom assumes the identity of Dr. Simon Hennessey. This is a character drive film and anyone excepting a lot of flash should look elsewhere. Fortunately McGann gives an extraordinary performance that is utterly convincing. With his two most memorable moments being scenes that involve deaths that he is involved in. Overall Paper Mask is a slow moving melodrama that ultimately evolves into riveting thriller that wraps things up with a truly satisfying finale.
Scorpion Releasing presents Paper Mask in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films intended aspect ratio. For this release a brand new HD release was created and it is safe to say that this is the best this film has looked to date on home video. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, details look crisp and there are no issues with compression. Overall the source used for this transfer is in very good shape.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. There are no issues with background noise, everything sounds balanced and dialog always comes through clearly.
Extras for this release include trailers for Paper Mask, Go Tell the Spartans, Saint Jack, The Girl Hunters, Wombling Free and The Octagon. Overall Paper Mask gets a strong audio / video presentation from Scorpion Releasing.