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50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on the best-selling novel by Alessandro Baricco, Silk is a visually stunning epic spanning two continents. Hervé Joncour's (Michael Pitt) devotion to his beautiful bride (Keira Knightley) is tested by increasingly, dangerous trade missions in search of silkworms for his towns survival. From his journeys to Japan, Hervé brings great wealth for his village, but with each return to the Far East he becomes torn by the temptation of a local warlords sensuous concubine and his love for Hèléne.

Set in the 19th century, when Japan was closed to the West, Silk offers an unusual love story revolving around Herve (Michael Pitt), wife Helene (Keira Knightley) and the young unnamed beauty to whom he has never shared a conversation (played by Sei Ashina). With the small fortune he has made from smuggling silkworm eggs from Japan, Herve purchases a grand home in France with a nice parcel of land that is suitable for Helene's dream garden. But when the silkworms die, Herve is commissioned to return to Japan to buy more eggs so the townspeople can resume their lucrative silk-manufacturing business. There, Herve once again sees the Japanese baron's concubine who stares at him with longing but remains silent. While he is soaking in a bath, she hands him a note written in Japanese that he later learns reads, "Come back or I will die." Filled with good intentions, Silk doesn't carry enough dramatic weight to garner much viewer interest. That Pitt is American, Knightley is British, and neither attempts a French accent is forgivable. But there is little chemistry shared by any of the leads, who are undeniably gorgeous but in an impassionate and cold way. Pitt's mournful delivery and the clunky dialogue don't help matters much. Staring at their lush garden full of flowers in bloom, Helene says, "You said this is where we'd grow old. Are we old?" Near the end of the film, Herve receives another letter written in Japanese that talks at length about love, faith, and the need to go on. The sender of the letter may surprise some viewers, but the ending is more implausible than a revelation. Based on the novel of the same name by Alessandro Baricco, Silk essentially is little more than a movie of the week disguised as an arthouse film. --Jae-Ha Kim

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Pitt, Keira Knightley, Kôji Yakusho, Sei Ashina, Tony Vogel
  • Directors: François Girard
  • Writers: Michael Golding, François Girard, Alessandro Baricco
  • Producers: Akira Ishii, Alessandro Baricco, Barbara Willis Sweete, Cam Galano
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 26, 2008
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00104J4IO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,107 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Silk" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Brian E. Erland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 30, 2008
Format: DVD
The '07 romance `Silk' is one of the most visually stunning films in recent memory which in and of itself is enough reason for one to give this movie a viewing. Unfortunately once you move beyond the lush, sumptuous landscape and the hopelessly romantic soundtrack you come face to face with a slow, plodding storyline that even the most lovelorn amongst us would have trouble staying with.

Keira Knightley is the vision of loveliness her audience has come to expect but love interest Michael Pitt is way over his head, failing to display the emotional depth and angst required for this role. With a more established, polished actor in this role who knows, maybe this could've been a love story for the ages?
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Baking Enthusiast VINE VOICE on June 19, 2008
Format: DVD
Like many well-intentioned adaptations, "Silk" fails in its horrible execution. We supposedly have an adventurous silk trader, Herve Joncour (Michael Pitt), who undertakes the perilous journey from France to Japan in the mid-1800s in search of blight-free silkworm eggs that would ensure his village's prosperity in the silk industry. Married to a fetching wife and, from all accounts, in love with her, our intrepid traveler becomes obsessed with a Japanese concubine in his first trek to Yamagata. On the pretext that Japan's silkworm eggs are worth the frequent traveler miles, Herve returns to Japan to obtain yet another glimpse of his amour. We are obliged to accept that the largely lethargic Pitt traverses these thousands of miles (3 times!) by carriage, rail, ship, caravan and horseback, when it looks like he can't even get across town without being toppled by a strong breeze. Straining to evoke a Dr. Zhivago-like epic, it only succeeds at looking ludicrous. Permanently sporting a pout like a child scolded for playing with worms, Pitt mumbles in a monotone with one wooden facial expression all throughout, in perfect accompaniment to his sleep-deprived droning voiceover narration for the film's painful 110 minutes. As badly miscast and as anemic as Pitt's acting is, it is equaled, agonizingly enough, by the same lifeless performance of Keira Knightley as Herve's wife Helene. Mostly relegated to bidding Herve a spiritless goodbye whenever he departs and a spiritless hello whenever he returns, one wonders if the absence of affect and chemistry with the two was a joke on the audience that they secretly delighted in.

It may have been possible to forgive such lackluster acting if there was a story to behold.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Pithe on December 14, 2008
Format: DVD
It's been years since I read the Alessandro Barrico novella this film was based off, but what I do remember is its slight weight - the book is 91 pages long, the pages being not much bigger than your average Japanese paperback and a good many of them only half-inscribed. The book is minimalist and quite heavily stylised in its language. Translating such a book onto celluloid would be a tough ask for anyone.

'Silk', like its namesake, certainly looks the part. The entire film has been beautifully shot, and landscapes that depict the main character, Herve's, crossing of Eurasia are particularly breathtaking. Costumes, sets, every visual has been executed with an eye to even the smallest detail. 'Silk' is sumptuous to look upon. Unfortunately, that's about all the film has to recommend itself.

Plotwise, the film narrative follows the book adequately. Herve Joncour (Michael Pitt), on leave from the French Army in 1862, returns to the small French village where his father is mayor and falls in love with the local school teacher, Helene (Keira Knightley); he's promised a helping hand in marrying her by the entrepreneur, Baldabiou (Alfred Molina), if he agrees to fetch silkworm eggs to replenish the town's disease-ridden stocks. Herve of course agrees, gets to marry Helene, and soon enough is on his way to Japan, where he becomes infatuated with the village headman's beautiful, silent concubine. The rest of the film is concerned with the results of this infatuation over the course of the next decade or so. Coming as it does from such a skeletal book, stretching the film out to two hours was a mistake.
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 27, 2008
Format: DVD
For those who fell under the spell of Alessandro Baricco's novel SILK, a meditation about love, desire, and conflict, this cinematic transformation adapted as a screenplay and directed by François Girard will not disappoint: reservations about making Baricco's poetry visual are for the most part put to rest. The resulting film, SILK, is supported by a sensitive cast, wondrous cinematography by Alain Dostie, a haunting musical score by Ryuichi Sakamoto, and is an appropriate extension of the beauty of Baricco's short novel.

Set in France in 1862, Hervé Joncour (Michael Pitt) is following his family tradition of military duty until a somewhat mysterious man named Baldabiou (Alfred Molina) approaches Hervé's father Mayor Joncour (Kenneth Welsh) with an idea to increase the tiny French town's revenues by capitalizing on the manufacture of silk. He talks the town council into fortifying his project and in a short time Baldabiou has several silk mills running. A problem arises when an infection attacks the silkworm eggs and threatens to destroy the business. Baldabiou convinces Hervé to travel to Africa to buy silkworm eggs to solve the dwindling supply. Hervé, meanwhile, has met and fallen in love with the beautiful Hélène (Keira Knightley) who is loving enough to encourage Hervé's travel to Africa for the eggs, a trip Hervé makes and returns with eggs that make the town's mills thrive, allowing the prospering relationship between Hervé and Hélène to result in marriage and hopes for a happy future.
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