Ravenous has a bizarre premise and one that makes you wonder why someone saw fit to make a film about, but it still draws powerful performances from the two main leads.
For his part in taking charge of an enemy’s command, Captain John Boyd (Guy Pearce) is forwarded to the isolated military outpost of Fort Spencer, California, hosted by an offbeat bunch of scruffs led by Colonel Hart (Jeffrey Jones) and Major Knox (Stephen Spinella), its other main characters being the headstrong Private Reich (Neal McDonough) and the dippy Private Cleaves (David Arquette).
One day they find a lone man, Colqhoun (Robert Carlyle), with a story to tell about the people he travelled with having to shelter from a harsh storm in a cave, but the storm went on, food ran out and one of the team died of malnourishment. Needs must when the devil drives and the dead man became their next meal.
Without wanting to give too much away, Colqhoun’s story is suspected to be full of holes and with many of the men from Fort Spencer being killed off and Boyd one of the ones left, all eyes fall on him as the guilty party as he has been forced to taste of the wrong flesh and Colqhoun disappears from the scene for a while…
Director Antonia Bird, who also directed Carlyle in Face, a film which co-starred Blur’s Damon Albarn – also the co-composer of the music here, brings to the screen a film which is mildly diverting and worth a look once you get past the ever-so-slow first fifteen minutes, but it’s not one that should be made top of anyone’s list.
It does have one classic line, the speaker of which I won’t name as it’ll spoil one plot point:
I have little complaint with the sound or picture. Framed in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and anamorphic, the quality can be mostly considered excellent bar the odd glitch that most people won’t really notice, probably because their mind is trained to the gory blood all over the place, not to mention the gruesome, but entertaining, final fight scene.
Audio-wise there’s nothing that stands out to any major degree, apart from the occasional use of the score, but any directional effects are impressive and the soundtrack is clean and free of distortion.
The extras consist of a Trailer (2 mins, non-anamorphic 16:9), Picture Galleries for movie stills, costume and set design, 10 Deleted Scenes, with or without commentary but all in non-anamorphic 2.35:1 and muffled sound and 3 Audio Commentaries: one from Antonia Bird & Damon Albarn, another from Carlyle on his own and a third from screenwriter Ted Griffin and actor Jeffrey Jones.
There are 26 chapters which is fine, menus are static and silent and the subtitles come in 11 languages: Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish and English for the hearing impaired.
Running time: 96 minutes
Released: October 22nd 2001
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: 11 languages available
Disc Format: DVD 9
Director: Antonia Bird
Producers: Adam Fields and David Heyman
Screenplay: Ted Griffin
Music: Michael Nyman and Damon Albarn
Captain John Boyd: Guy Pearce
Colqhoun: Robert Carlyle
Private Cleaves: David Arquette
Private Toffler: Jeremy Davies
Colonel Hart: Jeffrey Jones
General Slauson: John Spencer
Major Knox: Stephen Spinella
Private Reich: Neal McDonough
George: Joseph Runningfox
Martha: Bill Brochtrup
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.