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Schizopolis (The Criterion Collection)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Fletcher Munson has a doppelgänger in dentist Dr. Jeffrey Korchek. In his only starring performance to date, acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich, Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven) inhabits both roles: Munson, onanistic corporate drone and speechwriter for New Age guru T. Azimuth Schwitters, and the swinging Korchek, Muzak enthusiast and lover to Munson’s disenchanted wife. Meanwhile, mad exterminator and part-time celebrity prima donna Elmo Oxygen seduces local housewives in secret code and plots against Schwitters. Placing the onus squarely on the viewer ("If you don’t understand this film, it’s your fault and not ours"), writer/director/editor/cameraman Soderbergh presents a deranged comedy of confused identity, doublespeak, and white-knuckled corporate intrigue, confirming his status as one of America’s most daring and unpredictable filmmakers.

Additional Features

If you're looking for the inside scoop on Steven Soderbergh's zany "home movie" comedy, don't listen to the filmmaker's commentary track. Soderbergh interviews himself--well, not himself, but some doppelganger named Steven Soderbergh who has made films, but is also the greatest egotist in the history of cinema. For those who found the movie thin on the funny stuff, you will find more good laughs from the commentary, starting right at the beginning when Soderbergh explains that the film was conceived as a project for David Lean. The other commentary track, by Soderbergh's loyal crew, does a better job of taking this strange project seriously, albeit that's a relative term. --Doug Thomas

Special Features

  • Two audio commentaries: Steven Soderbergh interviewed by Steven Soderbergh; producer John Hardy, actor and casting director David Jensen, production sound mixer Paul Ledford, and actor Michael Malone
  • Maximun Busy Muscle: never-before-seen deleted scenes
  • New essay by Village Voice critic Dennis Lim

Product Details

  • Actors: Scott Allen (II), Betsy Brantley, Silas Cooper, C.C. Courtney, Ann Dalrymple
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2003
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000BUZKS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,263 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Schizopolis (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is far and away the most unique and original movie I have ever seen. There is no close second place. Steven Soderbergh wrote, starred in, and directed this little-known masterpiece, and I am now a loyal fan. The caution on the box perhaps best summarizes the film: "Warning: All attempts at synopsizing the film have ended in failure and hospitalization." This is truth in advertising if I have ever seen it. Think of "Schizopolis" as a narcissistic, paranoid blend of equal parts "Head," "1984," "Monty Python's Flying Circus," and "Unarius."

The film is absolutely impossible to categorize. It occurs in three principal acts, but they are all circular and the plots entangle themselves in the end in an almost Seinfeldesque manner. Steven Soderbergh stars as both Fletcher Munson and Dr. Jeffrey Korchek. Munson is a curiously self-absorbed speechwriter for New Age guru (and founder of "Eventualism") T. Azimuth Schwitters, while Korchek, a dentist with a Muzak fixation dominates act two by having an affair with Munson's disenchanted wife from act one. Throughout all this, local exterminator (and celebrity) Elmo Oxygen uses very unconventional pillow talk to seduce housewives while plotting against Schwitters. Eddie Jemison, noteworthy as "Nameless Numberhead Man," is the perfect comic foil for Munson.

Although you will need to watch this movie several times to even scratch the surface of the nuances it contains, several themes are apparent, most notably the satirical approach to contemporary society which is infused throughout the film in many ways, most notably in the dialogue. When Munson greets his wife after work he says "Generic greeting," to which she replies "Generic greeting returned.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jed Shlackman VINE VOICE on September 21, 2005
Format: DVD
This is a low budget film from Steven Soderbergh that uses ingenuity and absurdity and lots of clever satire to keep the viewer off balance and coming back to see the film again to try and "get it." Soderbergh is the writer, director, and lead actor in the film. He plays an office worker who gets called on to write a speech for a self-help guru who is the figurehead of a philosophy called "Eventualism." He also plays (in act 2 of the movie) a libidinous dentist who is having an affair with the wife of the character he plays in act 1. Meanwhile, a deranged guy with a pest control suit and car is staging some daring videos involving acts of sex and violence - and he aims to film his attempt to kill the self help guru in act 3. In act 3 the Soderbergh character is often filmed speaking in foreign languages while other characters speak English and respond as if there's nothing unusual about the foreign speech (French & Italian may come in handy here!). Soderbergh introduces the film in a short sequence at the beginning and at the end he answers questions from a supposed theater audience - except you don't hear the questions. There are a variety of bizarre sequences and non-sequiturs in the film, and it's hard to figure out what the point of it all is.

Then, on the DVD Soderbergh interviews himself in a very amusing satirical "director's commentary" where he speaks as a pretentious, narcissistic "artist" who sees himself at the center of the social and cultural universe. Which may be the point of the characters in the film itself... and even the little news clip interruption where the news show announces some common lady from New Mexico has been appointed to make all decisions and judgments about things in America. So you could say its a scattered comedy tied together by themes of schizophrenia and narcissism. You may either love it or hate it depending upon your view, as you are the center of your own field of perception.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. McMahon on September 11, 2006
Format: DVD
I'm still not sure what I think about this movie from a purely critical standpoint, but I respect it immensely. I have watched it more times than I care to admit, but in a way it has pulled off. This movie makes you think, and with each viewing you shave off another layer of confusion. I'm still confused about many things, but I can't find any review here that actually understands many aspects of what this movie is. It is a satire that shoots in all directions at all angles. There is satire on small things and large things, and often both in the same scene. For instance, Elmo's character symbolizes the media. Watch the progression of his character and his actions and the effects of them and keep in mind that the assasination attempt at the end is filmed. Look at the little news segments and look for the satire within them. Everything has a place in this movie, and I do find it entertaining to find out what they mean. You can't watch this movie expecting entertainment in the form that is presented in a regular movie. The entertainment here comes from the solving of the puzzle, and finding the reason for the happenings. Rewatch the movie and think of it as a sort of four dimensional jigsaw *snicker* puzzle that ruthlessly assaults all things ingenuine and confusing, whether they be personal or empirical, in this world we live in. Also, once you watch the movie with an understanding of the story revolving around Munster's wife you will find it is actually quite affecting. There is much much more to this story than first meets the eye, especially when you look at the doppelganger thing as not literal and the... mind takeover thingy (I don't know the words for it, but if you have watched the movie you know what I'm talking about)...Read more ›
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Schizopolis (The Criterion Collection)
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