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Chelsea Walls (2001)

Paz de la Huerta , Vincent D'Onofrio , Ethan Hawke  |  R |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Paz de la Huerta, Vincent D'Onofrio, Bianca Hunter, Kevin Corrigan, Rosario Dawson
  • Directors: Ethan Hawke
  • Writers: Arthur Rimbaud, Dylan Thomas, Nicole Burdette
  • Producers: Alexis Alexanian, Caroline Kaplan, Christine Vachon, Gary Winick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: August 6, 2002
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000694Z2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,084 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Chelsea Walls" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Kris Kristofferson, Mark Webber, Natasha Richardson, Robert Sean Leonard, Rosario Dawson, Steve Zahn, Uma Thurman, Vincent D'Onofrio - Director: Ethan Hawke The Chelsea Hotel used to be the place to live for New York artists. Mark Twain, Thomas Wolfe, Te

Ethan Hawke directs this starving-artist mood piece set in a famous New York hotel. A loose collection of artists and lonely souls waft in and out of the Chelsea in what is more a slice-of-life mood piece than a drama. The film (shot entirely on digital video) is best recommended for those who still subscribe to the notion that all artists are emotional wrecks with substance-abuse problems and that this is somehow romantic. The characters speak in poetry as often as not. If you are of a poetic bent, you may find this quirk beautiful, but more prosaic souls will find it embarrassing at best. The cast, however, is excellent. Kris Kristofferson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Rosario Dawson, Robert Sean Leonard, and Steve Zahn all do fine work, especially given the difficult dialogue and frequently inadequate natural lighting. Natasha Richardson gives a particularly memorable performance--sadly, her role is all too abbreviated. --Ali Davis

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Like most positive reviews, I'm a bit surprised at the bile being spent on this film when I think it's one of the finest films I've seen all year. When I was in NYC I had to go see the Hotel and someday I plan to spend some time there myself.

The movie is a bit of an experiement - some project group was giving 100K I think for a budget to shoot films on digital video - and so of course, it has some issues, but they work well for this movie - They give the environment some additional character - These people who bitch about lighting are the same ones who bitch about the lighting in Russian Ark and totally miss what is in many ways, a breakthrough in indepenedent Cinema. No longer are filmmakers required to budget for film (which is a major expense) - it can all be saved and edited digitally.

And that's not even going into the story - I fell in love with Rosario Dawson's Character, and totally understood Robert Sean Leonard's character as well (being a part time guitar player from MN myself who feels he's spinning his wheels) - And of course, this is an adaptation of a play, so you're not gonna have the grand sweeping car chases or explosions -

It's a terrible film for those who need their drama served up in portions of sex and violence, but as a study of the artistic condition, it blows me away.

And the music and poetry in the film rock too -

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A creative 'moment to moment' collage January 9, 2005
By Darren
An assortment of highly talented actors paint the canvas of this very creative collage of artistic, tormented and lonely lives, set in NYC's Chelsea Hotel. Don't expect a plot of any narrative coherence but rather a series of vignettes rich in emotions depicting love, loneliness and the simplicity of daily human living.

The dialogue and simple emotional exchange between Kris Kristofferson and Tuesday Weld in one scene is superbly rich. There is also some excellent acting by Vince D'Onofrio and Uma Thurman.

The music by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco really sets the emotional mood for this 'moment to moment' film and some guitar playing and folky music by Robert Sean Leonard is a pleasant surprise. Other noteworthy surprises include a performance by jazz veteran, Little Jimmy Scott (which adds immensely to the collage of diverse personalities and also to the mood of the soundtrack) and a cameo from Issac Hayes in an elevator scene.

Director, Ethan Hawke does a fine job of painting from a diverse palette of actors whose emotions richly color these Chelsea Walls.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poem as Film, Film as Poem March 8, 2003
I think if Charles Bukowski, Dylan Thomas, and Fellini collaborated on a piece of writing, it's possible they would have come up with this screenplay. This movie is exciting because it's soooo different from anything I've ever seen. Deliciously non-linear. The substance abuse aspect is a little overdone but that's the destiny of "artist movies". I loved hearing the dialog, and Kristofferson's acting is the best I've ever seen by him. Anything so daring and so unconventional will naturally upset some people (like other reviewers here), but if you ask me that only validates the work. If ever I go to New York City, the Hotel Chelsea will be at the top of my list of places to visit. My favorite lines were by the crazy guy in the elevator, who after claiming to have had a conversation with Dylan Thomas said that ghosts naturally reside in places like the Chelsea because people will listen to them there. The DVD extras contain a couple of quirky interviews, one with director Ethan Hawke and the other with Robert Sean Leonard who plays a deeply troubled folksinger in the film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give it a try November 24, 2002
By A Customer
I'm not going to disagree with people who feel this film is pretentious. If it's not your kind of thing, I can see why you'd feel that way. But I think I can understand and appreciate what Ethan Hawke was trying to do here. The Chelsea hotel in NYC is unique--so many famous writers have lived and worked there that the place should be a literary landmark and tourist attraction. I guess to a certain extent it is, but it's also a squalid pit whose residents are a mixture of disenfranchised people and artists/writers trying to follow in the footsteps of previous Chelsea denizens. It's this contradictory atmosphere that Hawke is trying to capture, and I think he did a good job. True, there's not much of a plot. It's mainly just a glimpse at several people as they struggle with life and whether their creative impulses are fulfilling enough to sustain them in such a marginalized existence. I thought Robert Sean Leonard, Kris Kristofferson, and Rosario Dawson gave particularly moving performances. And there is a plot, in a way--watch the policemen at the beginning of the film; they'll be important at the end. There's no question that the screenplay (written by Nicole Burdette, not Hawke) is somewhat flat and inert, but the acting and directing rise above it. Months after I watched it, I keep thinking about this movie. I'm going to have to rent it again or maybe even buy it. If you don't like unconventional films, I think you can probably already tell that you're not going to like this one. If you like to see different, experimental movies, however, give this one a try and make up your own mind. At the very least, you'll be supporting independent film in this country, which needs all the help it can get.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Skip It
I really like independent films and this film has some well known actors but it was not watchable! I even tried to fast forward past what might have been some bad parts but it... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Angella
3.0 out of 5 stars its interesting
the story of a group of people who live in an apartment complex in Chelsea. I found it a little boring at times but overall its a good movie.
Published 12 months ago by Abby Joan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie to have on
It's a slow, somber movie set in the Hotel Chelsea in New York. Great cast, great music. Don't try to sit with a group of people and watch it for movie night. Read more
Published on October 19, 2010 by J. Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant look at life
This is an awesome movie!! It offers a poignant look at life among some outcast and odd characters who have taken up residence at New York City's Chelsea Hotel. Read more
Published on April 15, 2009 by Fairy Tale
1.0 out of 5 stars La Stupidité absolue!
Heureusement je n'ai pas acheté ce DVD: Je l'ai loué au videoclub de mon quartier. Et ils faut dire que j'ai passé presque deux heures d'ennui total!!! Read more
Published on December 24, 2007 by Jacques
2.0 out of 5 stars Ethan builds Hotel on Baltic Avenue...
There stands a hotel. Not just your typical hotel, and definitely not a hotel that is run by the parent of the "Heiress of Fashion", but one where human culture was created. Read more
Published on July 27, 2007 by A. Gyurisin
5.0 out of 5 stars Compellingly masterful rendering of A Day (or two) in the Life
Read Alex Grayson's articulate and thoughtful review (Jan. 3, 2007) which nails it.

Apparently Chelsea Walls is not for everyone, but if you watch this movie with an... Read more
Published on February 9, 2007 by S. Fishburn
2.0 out of 5 stars fading, fading, gone
This movie is great if you want to go to sleep and you ran out of boring books. Ethan Hawke leans to heavily on Kris Kristofferson's performances not to mention Jeff Tweedy's... Read more
Published on February 5, 2007 by BKX
4.0 out of 5 stars it all depends on how you watch it...
i was really looking forward to this movie. the hotel is intrigueing, the cast looked amazing, and i'm a fan of ethan hawke. however, at first i was turned off by the movie. Read more
Published on November 13, 2004 by Joe Koski
5.0 out of 5 stars If these walls could talk...
Ethan Hawke's Chelsea Walls is an interesting, multi-faceted portrait of life at the infamous Chelsea Hotel in New York city. Read more
Published on May 19, 2003 by "eurotrashgirl"
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