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    Ian Jane
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  • Nada

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    Released by: Pathfinder Pictures
    Released on: 5/20/2003
    Director: Claude Chabrol
    Cast: Fabio Testi, Lou Castel, Mariangela Melato, Michel Aumont, Lyle Joyce
    Year: 1974
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Nada begins with a group of young anarchists seeking out a terrorism expert needed for their plot to kidnap the US ambassador to France in hope of sparking their desired political revolution. André í‰paulard (Maurice Garrel) rejects the offer and walks away in apparent disgust.

    When the group leader Buenaventura Diaz (Fabio Testi) finds out that the their offer was turned down, he visits Epaulard to ensure the plan isn't going to be compromised by an outsider knowing more then he should. Taking Epaulard by surprise in his apartment, the two realize that they know each other under different, previous aliases from a long time ago when they were both aligned in the same political causes.

    Epaulard indicates that he no longer believes in the cause and or revolution, but Diaz leaves a note detailing the location of where the group will be meeting that night, as well as offering Epaulard a sum of the potential ransom money. Diaz leaves, and there is a somber moment where Epaulard contemplates suicide, but the pictures of his past, tacked to the mirror, catch his attention enough for him to not go through with it, and instead join the group.

    The planning is quickly undertaken with the core group, Diaz, Epaulard, and a few other members, including an eccentric woman named Veronique who is staying in the remote farmhouse which is to be the hideout once they have the kidnapped ambassador.

    One member of the group drops out as the date for the plan approaches, but they continue to proceed with the plan anyway. The kidnapping starts off smoothly but things get messy as the ambassador's bodyguards get involved, the police arrive, and the group is forced to flee amongst unintended bloodshed. From there they go to the farmhouse where they begin contacting the media with their ideological messages as well as indicating that they will be requesting ransom.

    The government and the police get involved and start methodically tracing the events as they deal with internal obstacles and the media's reaction to their methods. Eventually the group is confronted by the police and the lines of justice and procedures are blurred amongst the abandonment of the group in a rain of bullets and teargas. The movie ends in a small series of ironic twists, as the repercussions of the kidnapping end up affecting both the Nada group and the police and government.

    There are many characters and variant story lines that the movie follows in a way that seems intentional; perhaps to not display either side, the Nada group or the government, as the typical 'good' or 'bad' entities. There is a lack of passion in both sides as they undertake acts of terror and revenge, and very little explained motivation for some of the acts themselves.

    This method of telling the story in almost a calm and detached way adds to the overall mood and pacing of the film, and leaves you thinking about different scenes and potential messages the film was trying to make to the audience well after the movie has ended.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Nada is presented in a decent 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are solid though soft in a few scenes, and with the exception of some cigarette burns around the reel changes, print damage is minimal and grain is rarely a problem. There are some slight instances of trailing in a couple of scenes, possibly due to PAL conversion (this is merely speculation) but it's minor and you won't really notice it unless you're looking for it, though it does cause things to look a tad blurry in a couple of spots.

    Viewers are given the choice of watching the film in French, English or Spanish. The French track is the best of the three as far as dubbing quality goes, as all of the actors, with the exception of Fabio Testi, appear to be speaking French. Sound quality is pretty good. Dialogue and sound effects are well mixed and balanced nicely and the score comes through clearly without overshadowing anything. All three tracks are in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.

    A non-anamorphic trailer is included as well as filmographies for key cast and crew members and a modest still gallery.

    The Final Word:

    The Presentation could have been better, but Nada holds up thanks to strong direction, great performances and a plot that keeps you guessing.
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