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My Own Private Idaho [Blu-ray]
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- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language : English
- Product Dimensions : 1.78 x 19.05 x 13.72 cm; 167.83 Grams
- Item model number : 2537
- Director : Gus Van Sant
- Media Format : NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen, DTS Surround Sound, Collector's Edition
- Run time : 1 hour and 44 minutes
- Release date : Oct. 6 2015
- Actors : River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, James Russo, William Richert, Rodney Harvey
- Subtitles: : English
- Studio : Video Service Corp.
- ASIN : B011SDC186
- Country of origin : USA
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,966 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
- Customer Reviews:
Gus Van Sant's often-beautiful 1991 film stars River Phoenix as a narcoleptic, Seattle male prostitute and Keanu Reeves as the rich friend who agrees to help him find his mother. After a solid hour or so of the two traveling on this quest through Idaho and Italy, Van Sant throws a wrench into the works by conjuring a gay version of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I, with Reeves's character as Prince Hal and filmmaker William Richert (who directed Phoenix in the 1988 Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon) as a variation on Falstaff. The experiment is interesting to watch, but you can't help wondering what on earth happened to the movie. Still, the film has a cult status one can't argue with, and Phoenix gives a tragic performance that stays in the memory. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to the VHStape edition.
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This blu-ray set comes with a 68 page booklet with essays by Amy Taubin, JT Leroy, Lance Loud, and reprinted interviews with Van Sant, Phoenix, and Keenu Reeves. This is a new, restored 4K digital transfer.This disc has audio commentary with the director and some features, including the making of the film, an interview with film scholar Paul Arthur, a conversation between the producer Laurie Parker and River Phoenix's sister Rain, deleted scenes and an audio conversation between JT Leroy and Jonathan Caouette.
Top reviews from other countries
I watched it 20 years ago (loved it), and i watched the dvd version again recently, and even after all those years this movie still mesmerises me. One aspect of 'My Own Private Idaho" that I thought was interesting was its use of Shakespeare's Henry IV (I think, but i could be wrong), with Keanu Reeves taking the role of the dissolute Prince Hal, who at the end of the film rejects his prostitute friends to emerge like 'the sun, as if from behind clouds' in order to properly inherit his father's kingdom. Reeves cruel rejection obviously destroys the character played by River Phoenix.
Outstanding film! River Phoenix was an extra-ordinary actor. Having watched the campsite scene again in My Own Private Idaho, I noticed Phoenix's body-language, and his improvisation acting skills and intonation, and i realised that he (Phoenix) was one of the greatest actors in the history of motion pictures. And there are certain scenes in Running On Empty in which he steps completely outside the box (to use a contemporary cliche).
Gus Van Sant is supposed to have fallen in love with him. Don't know if that's true or not, but in Van Sants book (available on this site) one character falls in love with another character who plays a rent Boy in a movie.
Director Gus Van Sant’s indie drama My Own Private Idaho (1991) is a creative modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Henry V through the lens of two male prostitutes Seattle, Portland, Idaho, and Rome. I think My Own Private Idaho will not touch all viewers because of the Shakespearean vernacular, but if you can play along with the play like aspect of the dialogue, Van Sant offers you a beautiful romance of unrequited love and desperate men. It’s an indie drama as if David Lynch had directed it, but with Gus Van Sant’s more indie sensibilities.
Gus Van Sant’s indie direction sees My Own Private Idaho as a quiet mediation on desperate gay men coping with poverty, desperation, and the hidden love they may feel for each other. Van Sant takes Shakespeare for the added dramatic flair, but his own vision as a creative director is more appealing to me. He uses the dirty, dingy realistic 1990’s style of indie art house films to superb effect. The layers of ruffled clothes on dejected men looking for a lover, a mother, and home hit hard. Van Sant’s writing is nuanced as he creates a dramatic tale of love, rejection, and desperation with indie ease. His contemplative script meets his expressive direction for a wholly unique viewing experience.
Curtiss Clayton’s hard edits to images parallel to the relevant characters on screen is brilliant. The way he cuts from the drama to dream sequences and memories of River Phoenix’s hazy mind is really cool and quite provocative. Everything is shot, by cinematographers: John J. Campbell and Eric Alan Edwards, like a documentary or a close quarters indie drama, keeping near the actor's faces at all times. Bill Stafford’s score is a combination of alternative, indie, country, and folk rock for highly emotional musical sequences. My Own Private Idaho has many silent moments of reflection elevated by the moving music.
River Phoenix is phenomenally touching as a narcoleptic male prostitute named Mike Waters. His pained eyes reveal an inner anguish for River’s character Mike. Phoenix matched Mike’s sadness and turmoil with a lethargic dazed persona to genuinely affect the audience’s emotions. His dreamy Mike reaches out to you for mercy, yet you cannot give him any. You feel sympathy for his forlorn figure, but also deeply empathize with his aimless existence wandering around searching for his mother and a purpose. My Own Private Idaho is arguably Phoenix’s best role on film. River Phoenix is outstanding bearing his soul to Keanu during the campfire sequence and heartbreaking when he realizes he cannot be with Reeves.
Keanu Reeves, on the other hand, is a warm and fun loving prostitute friend to Phoenix named Scott Favor. His lively personality and likable character make him the perfect foil and ideal companion for Phoenix. They have a romantic, natural chemistry and entertain every second they are on screen together. My Own Private Idaho may be River Phoenix’s best acting, but it surely is Keanu Reeve’s finest hour as an actor. He plays a guy that has sex with men for money only, but who also loves women with a passion well. His rejection of Phoenix is heartbreaking. You can tell Phoenix and Reeves were real friends.
I immensely enjoyed Udo Kier’s side character as the kinky German Hans! He’s funny, likable, and strange as only Kier can be on film. James Russo has a small supporting role as Phoenix’s potential father Richard. He’s harsh, yet astonishingly honest. William Richert kills it as the Falstaff type character Bob. His brusque robber of lies and folly is highly entertaining. Similarly, Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers is crazy as the homeless miscreant Budd. I loved Chiara Caselli as Keanu Reeves’ Romanian love interest! She’s sincere and lovely as an earnest girl trying to get by in Italy. Even Jim Caviezel gets a cameo as an airline clerk!
In short, Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho is a charming Shakespearean adaptation with all the odd 1990’s flair you can handle. The romance drama portions are devastating and the comedic moments are truly out there. There is no other film quite like My Own Private Idaho. It will stay with me.
My Own Private Idaho was the result of three projects coming together. The first was a modern adaptation of Henry IV called Howling At The Moon, which was about street kids in Portland and was told entirely in William Shakespearean verse. The second was called In A Blue Funk, and was about two Spanish cousins, living on the streets of Las Vegas, who decide to go to Spain after seeing their last name on a Spanish map and wanting to find out about themselves and their family. The third was actually titled My Own Private Idaho and was about an early version of the Mike character as a hustler who gets picked up by a German auto parts salesman and "kept" at his house. Gus Van Sant had trouble finishing the scripts, so he merged them together into the finished form.
It is a must own!