Your This Must Be the Place Must Be This Import

Here's one that's been on my list since this site was just an idea I might start up one day: 2011's This Must Be the Place.  It's the first English language film by Paolo Sorrentino, who previously gave us the excellent Il Divo, but is now better known for those Young Pope/ New Pope shows on HBO.  This Must Be the Place is one of those cases where it's really important which edition you get on disc, and yet almost nobody seems to know or write about it.  So here I go.
Sean Penn stars as Cheyenne, a retired goth rock musician living in Ireland, who travels to America to track down the aged SS officer who had tortured his father.  Atom Egoyan kind of half remade it/ ripped off the same premise with Remember in 2015.  And look, Remember wasn't bad, and certainly one of Egoyan's best late period efforts, but this is operating on a much higher level.  Plus Cheyenne is a really different character; different from Christopher Plummer's and different from anybody.  This Must Be the Place is almost more of a road movie with Penn traveling through the states and encountering a wide variety of colorfully photographed people and places, but with a dark, existential end-point as his ultimate goal is potentially murder.  This allows for a killer supporting cast, including Frances McDormand, Harry Dean Stanton, Judd Hirsch, Fritz Weaver and composer David Byrne of Talking Heads who plays himself and interjects a big ol' musical number into the center of the film.
This Must Be the Place was first released on DVD and BD in the UK from a little label called Trinity Home Entertainment in 2012.  Then we got it here in the US on both formats the following year from Anchor Bay/ Starz.  Good news for us, right?  Well, actually no, because the UK BD is actually pretty essential.  It trumps the US blu in pretty much every department, as we'll explore below.  But let's start with perhaps the biggest one: it includes the original, extended cut, which they refer to as the Cannes Film Festival Cut.  It's about eight minutes longer, and also has several alternate scenes, different voice over, etc; which I'll touch on a little bit more when we get to the special features.  But yeah, every other disc around the world just has the theatrical cut.  And if you still want the theatrical cut, that's available on the UK blu, too.  So that's one big win in Trinity's column already.
1) Anchor Bay DVD; 2) Trinity extended BD; 3) Trinity theatrical BD.
Something surprising, by the way, is that Trinity's two cuts also have two distinct transfers, something other online reviews of the UK blu don't even mention (I'd guess they never thought to compare them).  So let's compare them both to the US DVD, which I've also got my hands on.  The US DVD and the UK theatrical cut are both 2.35:1, while the extended cut is 2.39:1.  But even the two 2.35s have different framing.  Its image is kind of pinched, revealing noticeably more on the sides and even a sliver along the top.  The extended cut doesn't have that pinch, but the extra width brings the extra picture on the sides that the US DVD had.  The colors are also distinctly different, too.  I picked the second set of shots because they illustrate it really well: the extended cut has a greenish/ blue hue, while the theatrical is much more yellow and the DVD is sort of compromised in the middle.  The highlights are also brighter on the theatrical cut, which you really see in the first set of shots, where the spotlight on Byrne is almost blown out.  Naturally both BD transfers are sharper and richer in fine detail than the soft DVD.  Comparing the two blus, the theatrical cut seems just a tiny bit sharper, with the differences in contrast making the distinction at first appear more pronounced than it really is when you take a closer look.

Audio-wise, all three versions have their original 5.1 mixes (and you can switch between voice-overs on the theatrical cut of the blu), both in DTS-HD on the BD.  And all three have optional English subtitles.
Stefania Cella interview
For extras, the US discs are completely barebones, not even the trailer.  But Trinity provides some really welcome material.  First of all, they include the extra scenes from the theatrical and extended cuts.  So if you watched the extended cut, you can watch the scenes exclusive to the theatrical cut separately, and vice versa.  Then they include several deleted scenes that aren't in either cut.  Then there are six brief on-camera interviews with the cast and crew, specifically Sorrentino (he's the longest), Byrne, production designer Stefania Cella, and actors Eve Hewson, Judd Hirsch and Kerry Condon.  And here we do get the theatrical trailer.

So import the dang thing.  Trinity Home Entertainment is not a label that's wound up on my radar much over the years, but they really got it right in this case.


  1. Which cut do you suggest for a first time viewing?

    1. Hmm, good question! My first instinct was to go right to the longer, Cannes cut (that's also the one that was released first) and then just check out the theatrical deleted scenes. But that said, it's not like the theatrical cut is an "ooh, they messed it up!!" situation. Both are viable. But this is naturally a slower, easy going kind of movie, so I'd probably stick with the Cannes cut, especially for my first look at it.

      What I appreciate about this disc, though, is that it really lets you get everything out of both cuts even if you just watch one version, though, by giving you the alternate scenes and voice-over for both.