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By James Whittington, Sunday 22nd May 2016
The Ninth Configuration - Blu-ray review
Extras: Audio Commentary by Writer/Director William Peter Blatty and Mark Kermode, Killer Kane featurette - brand new interviews with writer/director/producer William Peter Blatty, actors Stacy Keach, Tom Atkins and Stephen Powers, composer Barry De Vorzon, production designer William Malley and art director J. Dennis, Archive featurette with Mark Kermode, Deleted Scenes and Outtakes.
William Peter Blatty's The Ninth Configuration was originally released in 1980 to an incredibly mixed response. Its mixture of biting satire, brutal horrors of war and of life itself as well as surreal drama and confusing moments of comedy has earned it a standing in the line of cult classics from the era, and rightfully so as itâ€™s a blend of many elements designed to illustrate how a shattered mind works.
Army psychiatrist Colonel Kane is posted to a secluded gothic castle housing a military asylum. With a reserved calm he indulges the inmatesâ€™ delusions, allowing them free rein to express their fantasies. But some are wary of the newcomer and his methods. There may be more to Kane than meets the eye and the insanity escalates towards an explosive revelation.
Based on the book Twinkle, Twinkle, â€śKillerâ€ť Kane (which itself was re-written with more comedic material removed and released as a The Ninth Configuration) the movie is a jaw-dropping journey in to the mind(s) of broken men who have been destroyed by the horrors of war.
Blatty takes his own material and forms it into an unforgettable film that drifts between the mind-set of the men who have been damaged by emotional trauma. The splashes of humour are in stark contrast with the bleakness of the subject matter and the now the famous barroom brawl sequence seems even more raw in this day and age. The acting is superb with Keach giving a considered and (mostly) low-key performance that becomes ever more intense. The rest of the cast float in and out of the story adding just small hints as to why theyâ€™ve ended up in such a dismal and claustrophobic building. Blatty confidently directs, keeping the audience guessing as to just who exactly is sane in this asylum though he does allow the bar room sequence to become a tad too long.
The transfer is very impressive with deep rich colours that lose nothing during the dark, rainy sequences. The sound too is clear and sharp with the dialogue right bang in the middle of the action, and thereâ€™s a lot of it.
The extras on the disc make it an unbeatable release worthy of any Hollywood blockbuster. The movie itself will not be to everyoneâ€™s taste as it takes investment of time to enjoy and appreciate the subtle writing above the bombastic and bizarre set-pieces. If you want to understand the true horrors that life can throw into lives then this s the movie for you.
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