Everything Is Illuminated

Everything Is Illuminated

4.6 11
Director: Liev Schreiber

Cast: Elijah Wood, Eugene Hutz, Boris Leskin

     
 
A young man takes a strange and unexpectedly funny journey in search of a family heroine he's never known in this screen adaptation of the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer. Jonathan (Elijah Wood) is a lifelong collector of any and all objects pertaining to his family, and he has become obsessed with a woman he's never met. The woman saved the life of his grandfather

Overview

A young man takes a strange and unexpectedly funny journey in search of a family heroine he's never known in this screen adaptation of the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer. Jonathan (Elijah Wood) is a lifelong collector of any and all objects pertaining to his family, and he has become obsessed with a woman he's never met. The woman saved the life of his grandfather during World War II, when the Ukrainian town where he was born was destroyed by Nazi troops. Wanting to know more about the woman, Jonathan flies to the Ukraine, where with the help of a hip-hop obsessed, gold-toothed tour guide and translator named Alex (Eugene Hütz), Alex's grandfather (a chauffeur who has claimed to be blind since his wife's death, played by Boris Leskin), and a dog named Sammy Davis Junior Junior, Jonathan searches for the meaning of the present that lies buried in the past, unexpectedly shedding the same such light on the lives of those around him. Everything Is Illuminated was the first directorial assignment for acclaimed actor Liev Schreiber.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
An obsessive young man (Elijah Wood, almost unrecognizable with slicked-down hair and thick glasses) journeys to Ukraine in an attempt to locate the woman credited with saving his Jewish grandfather from the Nazis during World War II. The trip becomes an offbeat odyssey that gives new meaning to the phrase "culture clash." Talented actor Liev Schreiber couldn't have picked a more complex project for his directorial debut: Illuminated is adapted from an avant-garde novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, a sprawling yarn that covers some 200 years and thumbs its nose at most literary conventions. The film narrows its focus to Jonathan's Ukrainian adventure, which will be amply bizarre for most viewers. For the first hour or so it's a flat-out comedy that pairs buttoned-down Jonathan with irrepressible Alex (Eugene Hutz, frontman of gypsy punk band Gogol Borello), whose fractured English is good for numerous chuckles. The humor, some of it involving a dog named Sammy Davis Jr., is rather broad and makes Wood a straight man for his eccentric costars. But the third act turns sober, even a bit dark, and the abrupt change in tone might be a little off-putting. Nonetheless, this is a daring, provocative film, and if your tastes run to the unusual, you'll find it most appealing.
All Movie Guide
Everything Is Illuminated is a quirky, surprisingly comic drama (serious comedy?) with a smart visual style. It's especially confident considering who's behind the camera: actor Liev Schreiber, debuting as both a screenwriter and a director. Not only does he frame his shots with veteran finesse, but Schreiber also undertakes the difficult task of adapting the largely epistolary novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, excising portions and streamlining the remainder toward the main character's journey through the Ukraine (literally) and his family's past (figuratively). Because the main character -- named Jonathan Safran Foer -- collects all manner of symbolic physical artifacts, sealing them in Ziploc bags, the film takes on a richly colored pop-art aesthetic that lends to its arresting visual sense. Paced by Elijah Wood's reticent performance, which uses his Coke-bottle glasses as an essential prop, the film might be sober throughout if it weren't for the blast of fresh air provided by newcomer Eugene Hütz. Hütz is blessed with just the right combination of Western hip-hop posturing and Eastern European good-natured oafishness, allowing him to steal his every moment onscreen. His Alex is especially delightful in his proclivity for shoehorning English words into unusual contexts, such as asking Jonathan if he had a "premium repose" or preparing him for a "very rigid search." Alex, his eccentric grandfather (Boris Leskin), and Jonathan make a motley cross-cultural and intergenerational trio that propels the absurd set pieces that lie in their path. Just when the film lulls the viewer into a false sense of its light-heartedness, however, it effectively grapples with big issues that lie at the core of European Jews' survivor guilt. Some viewers may question Schreiber's decision to make comedy and tragedy equally dominant elements of his film, but one ends up fully illuminating the other, as it were.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/21/2006
UPC:
0012569593428
Original Release:
2005
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:45:00
Sales rank:
3,054

Special Features

Closed Caption; Additional scenes; Theatrical trailer; Subtitles: English, Français & Españikl

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Elijah Wood Jonathan Safran Foer
Eugene Hutz Alex
Boris Leskin Jonathan's Grandfather
Jonathan Safran Foer Leaf Blower
Jana Hrabetová Jonathan's Grandmother
Stepán Samudovský Jonathan's Grandfather Safran
Ljubomir Dezera Young Jonathan
Oleksandr Choroshko Alexander Perchov (Father)
Gil Kazimirov Igor
Zuzana Hodkova Alex's Mother
Sandra Mikki Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.
Robert Chytil Breakdancer
Jaroslava Sochová Woman on Train
Sergej Rjabcev Ukrainian Band
Jurij Lemeshev Ukrainian Band
Pamela Racine Ukrainian Band
Oleksandr Houtz Ukrainian Band
Ludmila Kartouská Ukrainian Band
Igor Latta Old Man at Fair
Eugenin Marandic Fair Goer
Orest Tkachyk Fair Goer
Eliás Bauer Well Digger
Jurij Kokyrc Well Digger
Sergej Kapitan Well Digger
Jaroslav Jurichkanc Well Digger
Igor Savivskij Well Digger
Jan Filipensky Well Digger
Bert Schneider Nazi Officer
Tereza Veselková Augustine
Laryssa Lauret Lista
Lukás Král Young Grandfather (Baruch)
Vera Sindelárová Young Lista
Mouse on Mars Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.
Ted Sperling Conductor

Technical Credits
Liev Schreiber Director,Screenwriter
Oksana Batuik Translator
Nancy Bishop Casting
Paul Cantelon Score Composer
Gary Chester Sound Mixer
Michael Clancy Costumes/Costume Designer
J. John Corbett Animator
Kelley Cribben Associate Producer
Magela Crosignani Camera Operator
Kate Dowd Casting
Petr Forejt Sound Mixer
Mark Geraghty Production Designer
Jude Gorjanc Asst. Director
Susan Jacobs Musical Direction/Supervision
Avy Kaufman Casting
Wolfram Koessel Musical Direction/Supervision
Matthew J. Libatique Cinematographer
Andrew Marcus Editor
Craig McKay Editor
Jan Mensik Asst. Director
Maggie Murphy Asst. Director
Lidiya Nychyk Translator
Kieron Phipps Asst. Director
Victor Quinaz Asst. Director
Ljuba Reznickova Costumes/Costume Designer
Helena Rovna Costumes/Costume Designer
Peter Saraf Producer
Patrice Soptenkova Costumes/Costume Designer
Matthew Stillman Executive Producer
Marc Turtletaub Producer
Martin Vackar Art Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Everything Is Illuminated
1. Credits [4:06]
2. Jonathan's Collection [5:43]
3. Alex and His Family [4:18]
4. Destination Lutsk [4:43]
5. Back-Seat Companions [6:06]
6. More of a Collector [2:51]
7. No Meat, No Meal [3:49]
8. Proximate With Your Grandfather [4:48]
9. Directions and Tips [4:14]
10. N, H and C Words [2:05]
11. Lost [3:01]
12. Coming to Blows [4:21]
13. Grandfather's Thoughts [4:06]
14. Mirror Image [3:08]
15. Perfect Place [3:27]
16. I Am Trachimbrod [3:42]
17. Illumination [5:03]
18. Why Jonathan Collects [4:22]
19. All That Is Left [2:59]
20. Survivor's Story [3:40]
21. Rising From the Dead [5:21]
22. Because of the Ring [4:25]
23. Survivor's Surrender [3:19]
24. The Past Alongside Us [4:43]
25. Illuminated Faces [3:18]
26. Dedication and End Credits [3:32]

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Everything Is Illuminated 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was very moving & I really enjoyed it. However, I just wish I would have read the book first!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film is both hilarious and haunting. I love everything about this movie. I also wish I would have read the book first because now I just can't bring myself to do. I love the movie too much to have anything changed by the book. I recommend this to everyone who likes quality movies. Everything is Illuminated has a permanent place in my Top Favorites. Watch it!
daraisvegan More than 1 year ago
I do recommend watching this film but only AFTER reading the book. The book is absolutely one of the best you'll ever read, and it contains things impossible to put on film. So the movie leaves those plot parts out, and it changes drastically Jonathan Safran Foer's original work...in some ways for the worst. The film is good, but if it wasn't an adaptation, just an original work, it could be considered better. Eugene Hutz is fantastic, and the setting is terrific, but it is in no way as good as the novel!
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