aec.lkso34036.2 11/11/08 New
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A doomed woman discovers her creative spirit during a final fling with life in this independent drama. Melody Wilder (Saffron Burrows) is already having a bad day when she visits her doctor about a troubling lump in her throat -- her boyfriend has left her, and she's lost her job. However, this news pales in comparison to what her doctor (Janeane Garofalo) has to say: the lump is an inoperable cancer, and Melody has only a short time to live. Throwing caution to the wind, Melody rents a huge, luxurious apartment and furnishes it in high style, putting her purchases on a handful of credit cards she won't be around to pay off. Melody also permits herself affairs with a few of the deliverymen who have become regular visitors to her loft, but she spends most her days alone, enjoying the trappings of wealth as she ponders what little future she has left. One day, Melody makes an impulse purchase, a red electric guitar that looks like one she wanted as a girl. While Melody isn't schooled on the instrument, she begins teaching herself to work out chord patterns and melody lines, and in the last chapter of her life discovers a way to give voice to the pain and confusion she's buried within her. Written by veteran underground filmmaker Amos Poe, The Guitar was the first feature film from director Amy Redford. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Review Text If David Mansfield even tried to resist the offer to score director Amy Redford's film The Guitar, he can't have tried very hard. After all, in addition to being a noted screen composer, Mansfield is also a multi-instrumentalist with a focus on stringed instruments, and by its very title the picture offered him the opportunity to break out his favorite axes. The plot of the movie is not well suggested by its title, however. The Guitar is part of that favorite Hollywood genre, the one-month-to-live film. In this case, the lead character, who, of course reacts to her fatal diagnosis by going on a spree, also returns to her childhood desire to learn to play the electric guitar. That gives Mansfield the excuse to lay out his effects pedals and perform a master's class in the sounds it's possible to wring out of a guitar. After a handful of pop tunes, including Jonny Savarino's easy listening number "Glancing Lovers," and some glam rock from David Bowie/Iggy Pop sound-alikes the Everyothers, Mansfield sets to work on a series of short cues that find him making ambient sounds à la Robert Fripp and Brian Eno ("Thoughts of Suicide"), fingerpicking lightly and making harmonics ("Shopping"), hitting dirty power chords ("Flashback 3"), turning to country-folk ("Nice Dress" and "Hard Way," the latter featuring Peter Case in a Woody Guthrie impersonation), playing alternative rock ("Alt. Shopping"), and evoking the sound of Neil Young & Crazy Horse ("Phantom Band"), among other things. He also contributes some rudimentary learning-to-play-guitar cues to substitute for actress Saffron Burrows' onscreen efforts. This is not the most complicated or subtle film score, but it does demonstrate some of the wide range of sounds a guitar can produce. ~ William Ruhlmann

Product Details

Release Date
Starz/Anchor Bay
MPAA Rating
R -- Restricted
1 hour, 33 minutes
  • Dolby Digital w/ sub-woofer channel
  • Dolby Digital w/ 4 channels of sound from a 2-channel stereo mix. DS -- Dolby Surround (4.0)
  • USA & territories, Canada
  • English
Video Features
  • cc
Number of Discs

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