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Rent [Blu-ray]

4.3 out of 5 stars 724 customer reviews

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Product Description

Set in New York City's gritty East Village, the revolutionary rock opera RENT tells the story of a group of bohemians struggling to live and pay their rent. "Measuring their lives in love," these starving artists strive for success and acceptance while enduring the obstacles of poverty, illness and the AIDS epidemic. RENT is based on Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical, one of the longest running shows on Broadway. The raw and riveting musical stars Rosario Dawson, Taye Diggs, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp and Tracie Thoms and is directed by Chris Columbus.

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Rent, the show that in 1996 gave voice to a Broadway generation, has finally become an energetic, passionate, and touching movie musical. Based loosely on Puccini's La Bohème, it focuses on the year in the life of a group of friends in New York's East Village--"bohemians" who live carefree lives of art, music, sex, and drugs. Well, carefree until Mark, an aspiring filmmaker (Anthony Rapp), and Roger, an aspiring songwriter (Adam Pascal), find out they owe a year's rent to Benny (Taye Diggs), a former friend who had promised them free residence when he married the landlord's daughter. Roger has also attracted the attention of his downstairs neighbor, Mimi (Rosario Dawson), while Mark's former girlfriend, Maureen (Idina Menzel), has found a new romance in a lawyer named Joanne (Tracie Thoms). Philosophy professor Tom (Jesse L. Martin) finds his soul mate in drag queen Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia). But because this is the late-'80s, the threat of AIDS is always present. The remarkable thing about Rent the movie is that nearly 10 years after the show debuted on Broadway, six of the eight principals return in the roles they originated. They're a bit older than would be ideal for their characters, but they do have the advantage of having learned the show directly from creator Jonathan Larson (who died of an aortic aneurysm while the show was in previews), plus they started young--we're not exactly talking Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford here. Alongside a polished performance like Rapp's--sometimes observer-commentator, sometimes participant in two of the score's showstoppers, "The Tango Maureen" and "La Vie Boheme"--the two new additions (Thoms in place of Fredi Walker, Dawson in place of the edgier Daphne Rubin-Vega) slip comfortably into the ensemble; the pivotal Dawson makes a seductive case as Mimi when she tempts Roger in the mesmerizing "Light My Candle" or burns up the stage of the Catscratch Club in "Out Tonight." Moviegoers who have an aversion to people who break into song while walking down the street probably won't have their minds changed by Rent (even if they are singing rock songs), and the gritty subject matter and lack of big-name stars make it unlikely to cross over to general audiences the way Chicago did. But fans of musicals should find "Seasons of Love" as stirring as ever, and the show's passionate admirers--the "Rentheads"--probably couldn't have wished for a more sympathetic director than Rent fan Chris Columbus, or a more faithful representation of the show they love. --David Horiuchi

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rosario Dawson, Taye Diggs, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp
  • Directors: Chris Columbus
  • Writers: Jonathan Larson, Stephen Chbosky
  • Producers: Chris Columbus, Robert De Niro, Michael Barnathan, Jane Rosenthal
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: Cantonese, Chinese, English, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 11, 2007
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (724 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000WGYMAQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,270 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rent [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on November 26, 2005
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I saw the movie in a beautiful theater in downtown San Francisco on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and was surprised to find so few people in the movie theater--maybe 75 of us, and the theater could have fit 500. I wonder if some of the lukewarm reviews haven't influenced people's decisions to go to RENT. Hope not, for I'm here to tell you, this movie is dynamite and IMHO much, much better than the play. For one thing, in the movie you can hear every word, even with the increased rock instrumentation, for hundreds of sound experts have worked their magic and made sure that even people underwater could hear every single syllable; whereas on stage, it depended from night to night what percentage of the lyrics were going to be coming across the temperamental sound system of the Nederlander (NYC).

I did miss Daphne Rubin-Vega who was incomparably sexy and chilling as Mimi, but I never believed her being in love, and Rosario Dawson looked like she was just 'playing' at being bad and underneath she was ready to fall in love as soon as she saw Roger through the window. Her scenes of addiction are captured in the movie effectively, in a rpaid montage that might disconcert some rentheads but will, I think, be easily understood by those new to the show.

Yes, some of the actors looked older than 20 somethings. But we forget that most of those who died of AIDS in the 1989-90 period were actually in their 30s. What's the big deal? To me, Angel's fate is all the more sad because he seemed to be healthy for so long and then, all of a sudden, well, any more would bring me into spoiler territory.

Idina Menzel is not as over the top as she is on stage, but there's still plenty of fire power there, and she's bigger than anything in the movies since the heyday of Betty Hutton!
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I was born to love "Rent." Having grown up listening to my mother's record of "La Boheme" playing as she did her housework, I anxiously anticipated seeing the Broadway production when I was in New York in 1999. Although, it was superb, the movie version was so much more enjoyable to me, mainly because the words to the beautiful songs were clear and much more understandable. I realize Broadway is a one-shot deal and a movie can have countless takes on a scene, so I'm not putting down the play I loved in any way, just saying the movie was an easier and more enjoyable viewing experience.

From the spectacular opening scene where the full cast sings the beautiful "Seasons of Love," the stage is set for a glorious celebration of life, living it to the fullest, and enjoying every moment. Yes, there is heartbreak on the screen and many moist eyes in the theater, but this is mainly a joyful story of friendship, love, and reaching out to your fellow man.

The acting is superb, lovingly done by actors who obviously relate to their roles in a profound way. Wilson Jermaine excels as Angel, especially in the show-stopping "Today 4 U." Adam Pascal and Rosario Dawson are believable as the romantic leads and Jesse L. Martin will astound his "Law and Order" fans with his rich singing voice and dancing ability. All the cast is marvelous, the show is electric with its high-energy singing and dancing, and overall, the best movie I have seen in a long, long time. I will definitely get the DVD the day it is available.
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Format: DVD
The reviewer who has it dead-on right in these pages is the one who calls out the fact that Jonathan Larson conceived 'Rent' as more opera (using 'La Boheme' as inspiration), not a musical. And what that means is the the connecting dialogue is sung in stage-voice, not chatted as dialogue. So, to see Jesse L. Martin forced to speak dialogue like "I rewired the ATM at the Food Emporium" when you know it's killing him not to sing it and it's equally killing every Rent fan to hear him constrained to simply mouthing the words...well, it's a major flaw because it deals major blows to the flow and energy of Larson's work.

Other concerns:

* The first-half of the play is re-staged pretty much shot-by-shot. Then, bizarrely (given the fidelity in the first half), the second half veers wildly from the original. Director Columbus wastes too much time staging "Take Me or Leave Me" in a way not intended. Fun, no doubt, but the additional 5 - 10 minutes he tacks on here could have been used to keep the deleted scenes intact.

* The deleted scenes aren't trvial matters - 'Rent' is a hard story to follow for the unitiated. Each one of those scenes could have helped explain the the storyline.

* Surely one of the reasons to prop up "Take Me or Leave Me" was to get more Idina Menzel in there. [Menzel (the original Elephaba in "Wicked" and the original Maureen here) has ascended to Broadway royalty, so who can blame Columbus?] But, if so, why leave out 'Happy New Year?' which features a goodly amount of Maureen?

* The deleted scenes end up de-emphasizing Anthony Rapp's Mark, which is unfortunate because he's the voice and connective thread in the play. Leaving out his '3D IMAX of my mind...that's poetic...
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