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Forty Shades of Blue (2005)

Dina Korzun , Rip Torn , Ira Sachs  |  R |  DVD
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dina Korzun, Rip Torn, Darren E. Burrows, Andrew Lawrence Henderson, Elizabeth Morton
  • Directors: Ira Sachs
  • Writers: Ira Sachs, Michael Rohatyn
  • Producers: Adam Hohenberg, DTeflon, Diane von Fürstenberg, Donald Rosenfeld, Geoff Stier
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Millennium
  • DVD Release Date: June 13, 2006
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EPFCK4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,514 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Forty Shades of Blue" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by director Ira Sachs
  • Behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Interview with co-writer Michael Rohatyn
  • Alternate and deleted scenes
  • Get It While You Can,  a short film by Ira Sachs
  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

In Forty Shades of Blue, writer/director Ira Sachs takes three archetypes--temperamental artist, trophy wife, and brooding writer--and turns them into real people. Alan (Rip Torn, The Larry Sanders Show), producer of numerous R&B hits, is a Memphis legend in the Sam Phillips mold. On a trip to Russia a few years ago, he met the much younger Laura (Dina Korzun, Last Resort), who became his common-law wife. They had a child. It should be a good life, except fidelity is not part of Alan's vocabulary. Michael (Darren Burrows, Northern Exposure), adult son from one of his many previous marriages, is an English teacher and aspiring author. When Michael travels from LA for a rare visit, he quickly realizes it's easier to talk to Laura than to his own father--or even his own wife, who decides to join him later. The more Alan, who perceives himself as a man of action, ignores Laura and belittles the introspective Michael, however, the closer they become. But how much of their attraction is based on lust and how much is based on a mutual desire to get back at the larger-than-life hitmaker for his misdeeds? Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, Forty Shades of Blue may sound like soap opera, but in the patient, attentive hands of Sachs (The Delta), it never plays like it. Alan, Michael, and Laura are neither heroes nor villains; just three lonely people trapped in self-contained worlds of their own creation. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Wealthy music producer Alan James (Rip Torn) lives with his beautiful Russian girlfriend Laura (Dina Korzun), thirty years younger than him, whom he met while he was in Russia on business. They have a three-year-old son. Alan is a music legend, having produced black music during the 60's and 70's, the golden era of Memphis Soul. They live an affluent life in a sprawling mansion on the banks of the Mississippi in Memphis, Tennessee. But, although she is comfortable, Laura feels lonely and isolated. Alan has an estranged adult son from a previous marriage, Michael (Darren E. Burrows), a literature professor, who is married and lives with his wife in Los Angeles. Michael and his father have a complicated relationship that is marred by disappointment, hampered by jealousy, and fueled by anger. When Michael returns home to Memphis for the first time in many years, although he had at first disapproved of his father's young girlfriend, a painful and dangerous love affair develops between him and Laura, his contemporary. As this forbidden and incestuous passion deepens in the bedrooms and bars of modern Memphis, Laura comes to an illuminating self-confrontation that will change her soul and her life forever. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A giant that walks among us." July 1, 2006
By A Customer
Subtle, nuanced and totally internalized, Ira Sachs' gorgeously evocative Forty Shades of Blue might be a bit too restrained for most audiences. It's a striking and terribly lonely character study of people aching to connect, and a truly delicate story of conflicted and damaged people, all faced with difficult choices.

Rip Torn - who last year probably should have received an Oscar nomination - stars as Alan James, a boozed out, aging Memphis writer/musician and record producer who is having a party in his honor. Alan is a bit of a philanderer and a bit of an egotist. We first meet him just as he is abandoning his gorgeous Russian trophy girlfriend, Laura (Dina Korzun) so he can fool around with another woman in a hotel room.

Laura is well aware of Alan's wayward ways and his penchant for adultery, but as a Russian bride, she's also cognizant of the fact that Alan can give her a life she could only have dreamed of back in Russia. She puts up with his raging, his infidelities, and his temper tantrums because she loves him - she's also full of gratitude - and also because they share a three year old son.

For his part, Alan deeply loves Laura, but his passion is tempered by deep-seated insecurities - he can give her the material, but perhaps not the sexual or spiritual. This is made even more palpable when Alan's handsome English teacher son, Michael (Darren E. Burrows) visits from California.

Michael has problems of his own. Stuck in an unhappy marriage with a newly pregnant wife, he is immediately attracted to Laura; part out of loneliness and probably because he sees in her a similar kind of vulnerability.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars generally interesting drama January 1, 2007
"Forty Shades of Blue" features Rip Torn as an acerbic, hard-drinking music producer in Memphis who, though greatly beloved by his fans and the people in the industry, is viewed somewhat differently by those who know him best. Despite his advanced age, he has a gorgeous live-in girlfriend, Laura (Dina Korzun), whom he met while on a business trip to Russia and, even though they seem to be reasonably devoted to one another and their relationship, Laura is becoming increasing morose as a result of his constant philandering. When Alan's married son, Michael (Darren E. Burrows) - who has reasons of his own for resenting the man - comes from California for a visit, he and Laura enter into a secret love affair that forces her to finally question her commitment to Alan and to perhaps cut the chords - both obligatory and emotional - that bind her to him.

Although the script does an effective job capturing the tensions simmering just beneath the surface of the story, the plot itself seems too conventional and too underdeveloped to engage the viewer completely. Still the characters are complex enough and the performances sufficiently layered to at least hold our interest throughout. Torn is particularly good at creating a character whose amiability and likeability on the surface mask a callousness and mean-spiritedness below.

This is a subtle, if not exactly gripping, study of the compromises we make - and the choices we come to regret - in our effort to avoid loneliness and to find meaning and happiness in life.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now THIS is a movie September 3, 2006
This is the best movie I've seen in a long, long time. Rip Torn is perfect for this role; and the actress playing his wife is as well. If you like character studies, the finest cinematography around, the best script writing, excellent directing and feeling like you are a "fly on the wall" in the finest drama you have ever seen---buy this film. It never lets up, it never overdoes, it just gives you exactly what you need. And all without anyone blowing anyone elses brains out!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 110 Minutes of Boredom August 5, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video
This could have been a good film but fell flat. Even the marketers couldn't quite get a description right. It is not about a "Russian bride" or "trophy wife." It is about a woman from Russia, who meets her older husband while he's on a business trip there while she is working as a translator ("Russian brides" specifically look for men; she may as well have been from anywhere, including the US). There is also nothing to show that she's a trophy wife; she is young and beautiful, but he clearly loves her very much.

This is a well-acted and well-filmed movie about the dynamics between a father and son, and a man and women; a love triangle. However, despite the potential, the script is boring; it never quite congeals into something that has a cohesive plot. Given the low-quality of the material they had to work with everybody besides the screenwriter did well, but they could not overcome the boat anchor of a script they were given to work with.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this film. May 15, 2007
By LTBerg
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I love how the story unfolds, the beautiful flawed characters, the simplicity of the performances, every single one. I could feel the strain in the married couple's interactions, as well as hope and perhaps surrender. Rip Torn is fun to watch in this film as well as others, but I was completely blown away by Darren Burrow's performance. (My mind was like, holy cow, that guy played Ed Chigliak in the Northern Exposure series.) Even without the comparison, his performance, restrained and so completely authentic, is over the top, fantastic. The entire film just hits an authentic chord.
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