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CLOSING THE RING - An Alliance Films Release
On DVD: January 27th, 2009
Rated Canada 14A for sexual content, violence and nudity
Running time: 117 minutes
Sir Richard Attenborough (dir.)
Shirley MacLaine as Ethel Ann
Christopher Plummer as Jack
Mischa Barton as Young Ethel Ann
Stephen Amell as Teddy Gordon
Neve Campbell as Marie
Pete Postlethwaite as Mr. Quinlan
Brenda Fricker as Eleanor
Gregory Smith as Young Jack
David Alpay as Chuck
Martin McCann as Jimmy Reilley
Our reviews below:
Closing The Ring Review By John C.
***1/2 (out of 4)
Closing The Ring takes place over fifty-years. It takes place in 1991 in Branagan Michigan where Ethel Ann, (Shirley MacLaine), has just buried her husband and in Belfast, Northern Ireland where the young and naive Jimmy Reily, (Martin McCann) and old-man Mr. Quinlan, (Pete Postlethwaite), have found an old ring buried in the hillside. The film switches back and forth between 1991 and 1941, almost seamlessly as we realize how everyone is connected and how much impact the past can have on it’s future. I really liked how everything gets tied together at the end, so for this reason alone Closing The Ring is intelligent entertainment mixing in drama, romance and even some humor. The cinematography of Ireland, by Roger Pratt, is beautiful. Closing The Ring probably won’t be that easy to find, But is definitely worth checking out.
The DVD includes the film’s theatrical trailer and an interesting twelve-minute making-of featurette.
Closing The Ring Review By Erin V.
***1/2 (out of 4)
Closing The Ring is an extremely underrated film. This movie had much more than I had expected. The depth of the storyline is amazing as everything from the past is seen by the end as a direct cause of something in the present.
The movie opens in 1991 - fifty years after three American soldiers went to fight in WWII. In the present, 1991, Ethel Ann, (played in 1991 by Shirley MacLaine, and in 1941 by Mischa Barton), has just buried her husband who fought in the war fifty years prior. Meanwhile, young Jimmy Reilley, (Martin McCann), is on a hill in Belfast, Ireland, where he meets Mr. Quinlan, (Pete Postlethwaite), who is digging up a B-17 war plane that crashed fifty years ago. There, Jimmy finds a wedding ring, and decides to track down it’s owners.
The movie continues to cut back and forth between 1941 and 1991 and the level that these story lines match up is extraordinary. A lot of people may have found this movie confusing at times, and I am sure that you would get a lot more out of it on the second viewing. I enjoyed the background score that played throughout the movie, which was composed by Jeff Danna. Overall, Closing The Ring is a well made movie that is definitely worth watching especially around Remembrance/(Veteran’s) Day.
The disc also includes a 12 minute making of featurette called Love, Loss & Life: The Making Of Closing The Ring, and the theatrical trailer, which are both worth watching.
Closing The Ring Review By Nicole
*** (out of 4)
Closing The Ring is a wartime romance that spars over 50 years. The movie begins in the United States, in the year 1991. A funeral for a man named Chuck is being held in a small church, while his widow Ethel Ann sits outside. Meanwhile, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, an older man, Mr. Quinlan, and a young man Jimmy, are digging on a hill, searching for any remains of a lane that had crashed 50 years prior. The movie than flashes backward to 1941, and back again, showing how the characters’ lives are so intrinsically connected. In the end, everyone’s lives come together, like a ring.
The story in this film is amazing. The scenery is beautiful, and the score is just as lovely. The violence in this film is surprisingly minimal, considering that this is a wartime film. However, when violence is shown it is heart breaking, but really brings the story together. Nudity is also seen in 2 scenes, and is gratuitous, but is brief, and not the main focus of the film. Over all, this is a lovely movie about how every person is connected.
The bonus features include a 12 minute making of feature, and the trailer. The making of feature is good, but it would have been nice to have more bonus features. This is one movie that you will definitely want to own.
Closing The Ring Review By Maureen
*** (out of 4)
Closing The Ring is a lovely wartime romantic drama loosely based on a true story. The story is told through flashbacks between 1941 and 1991 and across two continents, in Belfast, Northern Ireland and in the Midwestern United States.
We first meet Ethel Ann, (Shirley MacLaine), in the U.S. in 1991 at the funeral of her husband, Chuck. She seems strangely detached and unable to grieve. The story then starts the flashbacks and flashfowards between the two eras and locations. The story moves quickly and the viewer has to pay attention to follow the connections between all the characters. The story does unfold with an ending that is satisfying to the viewer.
I liked the film. I liked the storyline about love and loss and the cinematography. The score is lovely to listen to and the acting genuine and believable. It has a nice lo key feel to it. My only complaint is the one full nude scene of the younger Ethel Ann. It does nothing to movie the story forward and seems to only be there for the sake of having a nude scene.
In terms of seeing this movie on DVD, it works well on the smaller screen and has enough in terms of extras to make it worthwhile. If you like wartime romances you’ll probably like this one. A good love story is always worth watching.
Closing The Ring Review By Tony
**** (out of 4)
At the end of 1941, Teddy (Stephen Amell) secretly married Ethel Ann (Mischa Barton) just before going off to war with his airman buddies Chuck (David Alpay) and [young] Jack (Gregory Smith). Teddy was killed when his plane crashed on Black Mountain overlooking Belfast. When Chuck came back Ethel Ann married him.
Closing the Ring moves back and forth between fictional Branagan Michigan and Belfast in 1991 and in flashbacks to 1941. In the opening 1991 Michigan scene we see Chuck’s daughter (Neve Campbell) and [old] Jack (Christopher Plummer) at his funeral while [old] Ethel Ann (Shirley MacLaine) sits smoking outside the church. Meanwhile young Jimmy (Martin McCann), meets the grumpy retired fireman Quinlan (Pete Postlethwaite) on Black Mountain, and helps him dig up bits of the plane wreck even though his granny Eleanor (Brenda Fricker) had warned him to stay away from there. He finds a gold ring and with Quinlan’s help phones Ethel Ann whose name with Teddy’s is engraved in it. In 1991 Black Mountain was a convenient location from which to set off IRA bombs. When Jimmy’s mountain hikes come under suspicion both from the IRA and RUC police, Quinlan sends him to America to deliver the ring.
I suspect that Closing the Ring may prove to be one of the most underrated and overlooked films of all time. Released in Britain in 2007 it was about a year before it came and went here with dismally mixed reviews, and its DVD release today has gone almost unnoticed. Though admittedly confused at first, over two hours we slowly discover how the lives of all these characters are connected over time and space as they come to grips with old secrets. Trashed by some, I believe this type of flashback narrative structure full of interesting coincidences was no more confusing here and was more plausible than the much more popular Slumdog Millionaire. It is a treat to see consistently excellent work from all the young actors and their older counterparts, brilliantly directed by Richard Attenborough, who at 83 could have been a war veteran himself. Despite the obvious dramatic nature of the stories, there is a lot of humour. For example, though Jimmy is pious and naive, his granny is often reminded by her plainspoken friends of her wartime Past providing much needed immoral support to the Yanks (including Jack).
Produced in Canada and Northern Ireland, the film is beautifully shot, using restored period aircraft from the Hamilton Ontario Wartime Aircraft Museum (plugging my home town). I suppose the brief scenes of partial nudity which put off my colleagues could have been left out. The fine musical score alternates between American and Celtic tunes. The DVD extras include a trailer and 12 minute featurette with the usual glowing comments all around between the actors and director which in this case are totally justified.
Consensus: Closing The Ring is a film that was seriously underrated in North America. It was nominated in 2008 for Best Film, and Best Production Design at the IFTA, (Irish Film and Television Awards) - and deservingly so. Though the storyline may seem complex at first, it is very well made, with solid acting. This movie is definitely worth checking out especially around Remembrance Day. ***1/2 (Out of 4)