Friday, January 26, 2007

The Devil Wears Prada - DVD Review

Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada

Your eyes do not deceive you, I really am reviewing The Devil Wears Prada today. It may have the word 'devil' in its title but this is no distant cousin to The Devil's Rejects, The Devil Rides Out or The Devil's Backbone, it is indeed the recent fashion industry movie adapted from the best selling novel by Lauren Weisberger.

The film follows the career of Andrea (Anne Hathaway) after she somehow manages to blag a job as 2nd assistant to Miranda Priestley (Meryl Streep), the editor-in-chief of Runway magazine - despite having no fashion sense of her own. Keeping to a tried-and-tested formula, the first half of the film focuses on Andrea learning the ropes and the relationships with her new colleagues, and in particular the snooty 1st assistant Emily (Emily Blunt). As Andrea smartens up her act and becomes more successful her personal life duly suffers, and the second half of the film shifts to the choice she has to make between her boyfriend Nate (Zach Grenier - now famous as the star of Entourage) and the new charmer on the block, Christian (Simon Baker - last seen battling zombies in Land Of The Dead), alongside a power struggle within Runway magazine itself.

Let's be honest, the story is fairly predictable, but it's well told with a respectful if amusing look at the fashion industry - in fact the screenwriter has balanced the tone just right; it's pitched closer to the po-faced satire Pret A Porter than the slapstick of Zoolander. The main reason to watch the film though is for the performances, and for Meryl Streep in particular. Her take on 'dragon lady' Miranda is all cool and calm, business-like and efficient, yet oddly seducing and hides a vulnerable side - it's a performance which has already earned the star a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nomination, and is richly deserved. Anne Hathaway is very likeable too, and whilst she might wear thrift shop clothes to begin with she's certainly no Ugly Betty! Emily Blunt plays the bitchy English girl perfectly and has surely been studying Jennifer Saunders' role in Absolutely Fabulous, as she's got her scornful delivery down to a fine art.

Another thing I liked about the film is the soundtrack; right from the use of KT Tunstall's Suddenly I See over the opening credits, the choice of upbeat songs throughout is spot on. The pacing and direction from David Frankel is fine too, making some good use of montage scenes to convey the progress of Andrea's character in the job. Overall The Devil Wears Prada doesn't break any new ground but it is more than just another 'chick flick' and proves to be an entertaining watch which blokes can enjoy too!

The Devil Wears Prada is released on DVD in the UK on 5th February.

The DVD includes the following special features:
  • Commentary by Director David Frankel plus the film's Producer, Costume Designer, Screenwriter, Editor and Director of Photography
  • 5 Featurettes - The Trip to The Big Screen, NYC and Fashion, Fashion Visionary Patricia Field, Getting Valentino, Boss from Hell
  • 16 Deleted Scenes with optional commentary from Director David Frankel and Editor Mark Livolsi
  • Gag Reel
  • Theatrical Trailer
You can read my original movie haiku for the film here.

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