Bobby Deerfield – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

The ’70s was good time for Al Pacino. He got his first big role in The Godfather then went on to star in Serpico, The Godfather, Part II and Dog Day Afternoon. Then he went on to round out his 70’s career with Bobby Deerfield. Director Sydney Pollack was also in a good place coming off of Three Days Of The Condor. So how is it this amazing director and phenomenal actor churned out such a strange, forgettable film?

To call Bobby Deerfield a bad film would be to do it a disservice as it is not entirely bad, but I can’t outright call it good either. It floats somewhere in the purgatory of “eh” films.

Al Pacino plays the titular character, a famous and accomplished racecar driver. After a fellow driver dies in a car accident, Deerfield is freaked out because he drives the same car and wants to find out what went wrong. It’s a strong set up. His searching leads him from Paris to a hospital in Germany to talk to another fellow racer who had an accident. There he meets a very strange German women and starts an odd affair with her. The rest of the film focuses on their peculiar relationship and has little to do with racing.

I think the big problem here is the expectation presented by the packaging. The cover offers a fiery car wreck and the back describes the film as an “action-packed romance” well they got one part right. However with less that five minutes of actual racing happening in the two-hour film it is far less than action-packed. Perhaps it is this false advertising that lead me to be so disappointed by the film.

However not all is bad here. As one might expect, Pacino’s performance is great. It is a good role for Pacino and he plays it very subtle which is not something he’s known for and it’s very nice to see. It’s a shame this magnificent performance isn’t in a better film.

As I said the relationship between Deerfield and the German woman is an odd one and the telling of it is odd as well. The film meanders along never really seeming to have a point and never really trying to make one. I suppose there is a time and place for a film like this but when you’re expecting racecars it comes as quite a shock.

The film is presented in widescreen 2.35:1 and Dolby Digital Mono. The film looks pretty good, the soundtrack doesn’t always work.

Behind-The-Scenes look at 88 Minutes: This is a short little promotion for Pacino’s new film coming out in April. It’s pretty successful, as I now want to see it.

Al Pacino is one of the greatest actors of our time with a catalog of films that any actor could dream of, however Bobby Deerfield is not one of those. If you are a big enough fan that you want to see this sublime performance then by all means check it out, if not then stick with what you no is good.

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MGM presents Bobby Deerfield. Directed by Sydney Pollack. Starring Al Pacino. Written by Alvin Sargent. Running time: 124 minutes. Originally released in 1977. Rated PG (however it does contain nudity). Released on DVD: March 11 2008. Available at Amazon.com.

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