Everything Is Illuminated

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5 out of 5
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on 5/6/2012

I watched this twice, and I honestly never believed I'd see Elijah Wood's character upstaged, but it happened in this movie. The crazy Ukranian (Alex), played by the delightful Eugene Hutz, stole the show with his humor, unique mannerisms and choice of specific English words, adding depth to an already intriquing, emotionally layered film. If not for the humor, this story might've been too heavy. Whether you feel the ending is sad depends upon perspective. Perhaps the grandfather's burdened spirit was finally released after carrying a secret he kept hidden from his family and his own broken heart? This is another movie that has inspired me to read the book. Fantastic! Read More

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Product Overview

A young jewish american man endeavors to find the woman who saved his grandfather during world war II in a ukrainian village, that was ultimately razed by the nazis, with the help of a local who speaks weirdly funny broken english.


Studio Warner
SKU 202153384
UPC 012569593428
UPC 14 00012569593428
Format DVD
Release Date 5/23/2006
Rating Rating
Based On A Novel
Jewish Heritage
Theatrical Release
World War II
Editors Note
Note Acclaimed actor Liev Schrieber (DAYTRIPPERS, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE) makes his directorial debut in this adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's bestselling novel about a young Jewish-American writer of the same name. Mixing equal parts black comedy and poignant drama, the film follows Jonathan (Elijah Wood) as he travels to the Ukraine to solve a family secret. There he meets his barely legitimate tour guides: Alex (Eugene Hutz, member of the folk-punk band Gogol Bordello), a cosmopolitan playboy obsessed with Michael Jackson and other American icons; Alex's grandfather (Boris Leskin), a man worn down by life who seems to be losing his grip on reality; and Sammy Davis, Jr. Jr, the "seeing-eye bitch" dog who comes along for the ride. As Jonathan closes in on his goal--to find the story behind the woman who saved his grandfather during the Holocaust--it becomes clear that Alex's grandfather has a dark secret of his own that needs to be, as the film suggests, illuminated.^EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED lives up to the quirkiness of its source material, and is similar to films like BEING JOHN MALKOVICH or LOST IN TRANSLATION. Filmed on location in Prague, the film features breathtaking landscapes, including a memorable scene in a field of sunflowers. Also notable is the film's soundtrack, which features songs by Gogol Bordello, as well as an outstanding ethnic score by Paul Cantelon. Quirky, funny, sweet, and sad, Schreiber's excellent adaptation provides both closure and hope for survivors of the Holocaust.
Entertainment Weekly "Schreiber's heartfelt project earns points for disciplined ambition....Impressively well lit." -- Grade: B 09/23/2005 p.62
Movieline's Hollywood Life "Schreiber elicits fine performances. Wood works with great subtlety, and Hutz is marvelously engaging..." 09/01/2005 p.98-100
Premiere "[Hutz gives] a performance of great comic instinct and unexpected subtlety....[A] humane, moving road trip." 10/01/2005 p.49-50
USA Today "[T]he story's intrinsic value and imaginative zest remain, as does the book's hilarious dialogue?.The result is a charming and eccentric story of a journey through the back roads of the Ukraine, with a pair of unlikely guides." 09/16/2005 p.6E
Sight and Sound "Hutz's embodiment of 'street' Kiev is a blast....Lifted directly from the book, his mangled English raises the film's biggest laughs..." 12/01/2005 p.54
Uncut 4 stars out of 5 -- "Schreiber's balance of offbeat humour and tragedy is perfectly judged, while Leskin steals the show as the man unlocking terrible secrets from the past." 05/01/2006 p.150
Liev Schreiber
Boris Leskin
Eugene Hutz
Elijah Wood
Cast & Crew
Andrew Marcus - Editor
Elijah Wood - Actor
Eugene Hutz - Actor
Jana Hrabetova - Actor
Jonathan Safran Foer - Based On Novel By
Jonathan Safran Foer - Actor
Liev Schreiber - Screenplay
Liev Schreiber - Director
Matthew Libatique - Cinematographer
Paul Cantelon - Musical Score
Peter Saraf - Producer
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2005
Catalog ID 59342
UPC 00012569593428
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 106 minutes
Color Color
Original Language English
Available Subtitles English, French, Spanish
Available Audio Tracks English [CC], English
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  1.85:1
Venice Film Festival (2005) Liev Schreiber, Winner, Laterna Magica Prize
ReviewSource Los Angeles Times
Review Schreiber takes Foer's sprawling, multilayered, multigenerational beast and hones it into a post-Glasnost buddy picture; a polished nugget of a road movie, focused mainly on Alex and Jonathan's growing sense of identification with each other and with their origins.
Reviewer Carina Chocano
ReviewRating 7
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review Everything is Illuminated is a film that grows in reflection. The first time I saw it, I was hurtling down the tracks of a goofy ethnic comedy when suddenly we entered dark and dangerous territory. I admired the film but did not sufficiently appreciate its arc. I went to see it again at the Toronto Film Festival, feeling that I had missed some notes, had been distracted by Jonathan's eyeglasses and other relative irrelevancements (as Alex might say). The second time, I was more aware of the journey Schreiber was taking us on, and why it is necessary to begin where he begins in order to get where he's going.
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 8
DVD, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.85:1, English, French, Spanish, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Actor Wood,Elijah
Label Warner Home Video
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Claudia Puig, USA Today A movie with wit, warmth and unabashed emotion.
Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly A brave and loving movie.
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal ...the book's humanity and humor shine through.
Michael Rechtshaffen, Hollywood Reporter Schreiber capably adds writer-director to his impressive resume with this winning take on the Jonathan Safran Foer novel.

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Illuminating! on May 06, 2012