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Shape of Things

The Shape of Things

3.0 4
Director: Neil LaBute

Cast: Gretchen Mol, Paul Rudd, Rachel Weisz


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Neil LaBute's adaptation of his stage play The Shape of Things comes to DVD with a widescreen anamorphic transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1, while a French soundtrack has been recorded in Dolby Digital Surround. English, French, and Spanish subtitles are


Neil LaBute's adaptation of his stage play The Shape of Things comes to DVD with a widescreen anamorphic transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1, while a French soundtrack has been recorded in Dolby Digital Surround. English, French, and Spanish subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include a commentary track recorded by LaBute and lead actor Paul Rudd. The two have an easy camaraderie that is engaging and are obviously proud of the work they did on the film, so much so that they occasionally lash out at specific reviewers and what they wrote about the movie. A short featurette in which LaBute discusses how the project moved from the stage to the screen has been included, as has a short, but funny, promotional film entitled "Welcome to Mercy College." The theatrical trailer rounds out this strong release from Universal.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Those who respond to Neil LaBute's distinct voice will savor all of the meaty dialogue in the exchanges between the four characters in The Shape of Things. Having performed the play together on-stage, all of the actors are very comfortable with LaBute's style. The foursome's ease with the characters and the dialogue is evident, helping sell some of the more implausible passages in the story. LaBute has grown steadily as a director. While In the Company of Men felt like the first film that it was, The Shape of Things shows that LaBute understands when to move the camera and how to edit for maximum effectiveness. The static camera that dominated his earliest films seemed to indicate unease with the process of making film images. His confidence both behind the camera and in editing has grown to the point that now, when he keeps the camera in place for an extended period, one senses a purpose for the decision. Because he wants nothing to get in the way of the words, he treats the actors well in the frame. He respects his performers, and they respond by finding reservoirs of repellency which they might not have otherwise tapped. Rachel Weisz is riveting as the manipulative Evelyn, whose motivation provides the type of concluding emotional whammy that LaBute favors. Paul Rudd communicates the emotional and psychological toll Adam's ugly-duckling transformation takes on him, while never abandoning the character's essential goodness (or dorkiness). Although this film is about surfaces and image, the final exchange between Evelyn and Adam hinges emotionally on words -- not just the dialogue the characters exchange, but on words the characters have shared that are kept secret from the audience. That the emotional thrust of the film comes down to the spoken word is proof that LaBute is at heart a playwright. He has learned the shape and the form of filmmaking, but he is a person who responds first and foremost to language. For this reason alone, The Shape of Things is quintessential Neil LaBute.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
LaBute has that rarest of attributes, a distinctive voice. You know one of his scenes at once. His dialogue is the dialogue overheard in trendy mid-scale restaurants, with the words peeled back to suggest the venom beneath.
Chicago Reader - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Neil LaBute delivers his most interesting and powerful film to date, though it's also his most unpleasant and disturbing.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Focus Features
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Closed Caption; Feature commentary with director Neil LaBute and Paul Rudd; "The Shape of Things from stage to screen" featurette ; "Welcome to Mercy College" promotional film; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gretchen Mol Jenny
Paul Rudd Adam
Rachel Weisz Evelyn
Frederick Weller Philip

Technical Credits
Neil LaBute Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Tim Bevan Executive Producer
James L. Carter Cinematographer
Elvis Costello Score Composer
Eric Fellner Executive Producer
Christopher Lawrence Art Director
Christopher Lawrence Art Director
Gail Mutrux Producer
Lynette Myers Costumes/Costume Designer,Production Designer
Joel Plotch Editor
John Monk Saunders Asst. Director
Philip Steuer Producer
Sondra Thorpe Set Decoration/Design
Jonathan Watson Asst. Director
Fiona Weir Casting
Rachel Weisz Producer
Richard E. Yawn Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles [2:12]
2. Over the Line [7:55]
3. Asking & Receiving [5:04]
4. Philip & Jenny [3:04]
5. Pornography or Statement? [5:28]
6. Uncharted Waters [4:47]
7. Smile for the Camera [4:22]
8. Jenny's Concern [4:47]
9. Cuter by the Day [7:14]
10. Scars [2:02]
11. No Big Thing [4:27]
12. Getting Even [7:20]
13. Anything You Want [8:36]
14. Unofficially Broken Up [2:20]
15. Evelyn's Thesis Project [3:31]
16. It's All Subjective [11:00]
17. That One Time... [6:11]
18. End Titles [2:40]


Customer Reviews

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The Shape of Things 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well- where shall I begin? The main problem with this movie is that, despite claims to the contrary, it comes off like it's still a play. The scenes lack life and shed the periphery. There's also an absence of anything to provide continuity, such as musical segues between acts. There are pregnant silences along the way that presumambly would have been filled with the responses from a live audience in a theater, but since it's not in a theater, the silence remains- and the result is embarrassing boredom. The secondary problem is that we are lured into what we think is a light romantic comedy- oh, but it's not! It gets dark and then darker. That is not to say that the whole film is a catastrophe. There is indeed development occurring which catches your curiosity. The dialogue is spiced up by witty lines and the scenes have a few laughable moments. Yet, this smacks of the stark stillness of a David Mamet production without the quality. I see that another reviewer provided a spoiler on the ending- I'll avoid that- but the conclusion does provide a bit of a jolt. It's getting there, the tedious, laborious journey toward the end, that wears us down. Good performances by Rudd, and one by a ill-utilized Gretchen Mol. Weisz is also good but a little too intense. Would the character have been this way in real life? Perhaps- but the brashness is not necessary to make the point. Leave this alone if you need stimulation. It's interesting, but not worth the time you'll spend waiting for the zinger. Besides- who wants to be tricked?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading the synopsis for this movie, I thought that it would be something entirely different than what it was. I was really dissappointed by this movie, and in the end I started to fast forward, just to be done with it. This movie is not about male-female relationships, as the synopsis implies, but rather about how much a demented female can change a man, all for the sake of a twisted, cruel joke, that she thinks is an 'art' project. Another huge problem with this movie, is the fact that at many points in the movie, the dialog goes on and on, but at the same time goes nowhere. All in all, the movie was painful to watch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this movie, I think it brings up things that arent touched on everyday. Who you are and what makes a person what they are....You really question yourself, and it should be required viewing for humanity. Really.
HandsomeTenor More than 1 year ago
I completely disagree with the other reviews. I thought this film was wonderfully true to the source material and the other posted reviews just reflect our collective societal attitute of "louder, faster, funnier...NOW!!!" This is not one of those movies, nor is it one of those plays. All anyone has to do to see the truth in the subject matter is watch one of the early seasons of the Biggest Loser where one contestant lost so much weight, started to slowly view herself as attractive, subtley changing from a down-trodden, self-hating person to an egomaniacal jerk. It happens. Perhaps this movie is a trifle too boring for some, the subject matter too uncomfortable for others; but, if you're in the mood for a little drama and a film that might just spark conversation other than "Dude! Did you see Gerard Butler's abs in 300??" then check this one out. It might just be enlightening.