The Weather Man

The Weather Man (2005)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Michael Cage, Hope Davis, Gil Bellows
Extras: Featurettes, Theatrical Trailer

I didn't pay a lot of attention to "The Weather Man" when it originally hit theaters but when the DVD arrived a little while ago, I decided to give it a check-up nonetheless, and I am glad I did. It is a thoughtful and heartfelt movie about a man going through an identity crisis.

David Spritz (Nicolas Cage) is the weather man for a small Chicago TV station. Working two hours a day, making good money, he has the ambition become a celebrity weather man for a major network, and when he makes the short list for a huge national morning show, he hopes it will allow him to turn around his life.
After a failed marriage, Spritz is desperately trying to win back his former wife and his two kids. But everything he does seems to backfire somehow, and all his personal failures make him look more like a loser than a man on the fast track to real celebrity. Not even his Pultizer-Price winning father (Michael Caine) seems to have any real sympathy for him any longer. But David knows he has to do something to turn things around and so he keeps trying.

"The Weather Man" is a wonderful character study that is in many ways reminiscent of films such as "About Schmidt." It is not an energetic film. It is developing slowly and gradually as we peel away layer by layer of David's personality to find the real man behind it all. With every misstep his struggle becomes more tangible and we begin to get a glimpse into the abyss that is his life. The film's most meaningful moments come from little actions and reactions of the characters, small tidbits of minimalist dialogue and the movie's atmospheric cinematography, coupled with the emotional music.

Paramount Home Entertainment has prepared a great DVD version of the film, complete with a sparkling anamorphic widescreen transfer that is free of any blemishes. Color reproduction is extremely natural, making it a point to restore the bleak look that the filmmakers often chose to accentuate Spritz's trite life. Skin tones are always natural and with good black levels, the image also has good visual depth and shadows that never lose definition. The picture is very sharp and reveals a high level of detail throughout and is free of edge-enhancement, making it a joy to view.

The release offers up 5.1 channel Dolby Digital tracks in English and French, both of which are of excellent quality. The mix is subtle and natural at all times, adding realism to the story through its subtlety. Dialogues are well integrated and always understandable while the atmospheric score is nicely presented to emphasize the imagery.

The release also contains a selection of featurettes on various aspects of the film, such as the characters, the cast, the production and so forth. They are all very well put together and make for nice supplemental material for this release.

"The Weather Man" is not a film for everyone. It is slow and deliberate, thoughtful and emotional, but it also very comical at times. To me, it was a great escape for its 101 minutes running time, and I can only recommend this film to everyone looking for some slightly untraditional fare.