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Going Places (Blu-ray Review)

Going Places aka Les Valseuses (The Testicles) is one of Kino’s latest offerings in the realm of classic films, this being a classice French film in the sense of it being one of the highest grossing films of 1974, and the film that propelled Gerard Depardieu to stardom. I am a lover of all things French and it was a no brainer tackling this Blu-ray for review. I love French cinema, so we will see if Going Places stands up to scrutiny. You know, this is a thirty seven year old film, so it may suck, right? Sorry, that was me being sarcastic for those that don’t like “old” films. With that little jab out of the way let’s see how it goes with Going Places on Blu-ray. Entrez! 

 

Film 

Going Places is a 1974 French film that was released as Les Valseuses which is a vulgar way of saying testicles. Jean-Claude (Gerard Depardieu) and Pierrot (Patrick Dewaere) are best friends, misfits, and overall scumbags. They spend their days causing trouble with no regard for anything or anyone. They grope women, steal cars, get into fights, and have random sexual escapades with random women – at times taking turns having sex with the same woman. Yes, that was redundant on purpose.

Early on during one of their capers they come across the beautiful Marie-Ange (Miou-Miou) and she joins them for a brief time as their “third wheel.” She, of course, has issues of her own to get through. She cannot achieve an orgasm with either of them. Yes, the guys give it their all, but to no avail. They later ditch her and set sail for nowhere in particular meeting interesting people along their journey.

The strange and ironic thing about Going Places is that it’s one of these films that portray the protagonists as the bad guys and we, as the audience, have to hang with them until they either find redemption or get killed while trying to find redemption. It’s a slippery slope, because I rarely like those type of movies with that particular device. Now the reason why I enjoyed Going Places was due to the heavyweight acting by everyone involved. Gerard Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere rock and it was entertaining to watch them get into all sorts of adventures. Adventures meaning trouble.

Going Places also has a great sense of self aware comedic timing. Moments of quiet stillness are often interrupted by moments of complete chaos. Jean-Claude and Pierrot will be walking along on an empty road, see a couple of guys riding some bikes and then the film cuts to the boys riding the bikes that they were previously admiring while the owners chase them down with large sticks. Stuff like this happens all throughout the film and it was a breath of fresh air, because there are lots of heavy duty metaphors sprinkled throughout the film. The comedic timing helped in offsetting that.

There are many instances where the film reminded me somewhat of Y Tu Mama Tambien, but with criminals. Jean-Claude and Pierrot take what they want, do what they want, and say what they want. Yes, they’re vulgar, but devastatingly charming. There are many beautiful women around and they have no problem in bedding them almost right away. That’s another thing I found quite unique. There’s a bit of that “free love” mentality, but just a bit rougher. Most of the women in Going Places don’t really put up that much resistance to the guy’s advances. I’m also not saying that the women are being raped or anything, but these guys have mad skills!

Going Places is definitely worth watching as it’s one of the first “road to discovery” type of flicks. You will notice that many of the contemporary road flicks have borrowed from Going Places. Gerard Depardieu, Patrick Dewaere, and Miou-Miou all deliver standout performances.

Video  

According to the specifications on the back of the case Going Places is NOT presented in 1.85:1 widescreen – it’s presented in 1.66:1 widescreen. With that out of the way, let’s us see how the print does. For an almost forty year old film Going Places looks pretty darn good. Grain is visible, but not intrusive or overbearing. Contrast is boosted just a tad, but the French countryside looks amazing. I want to live there. There are a couple of scenes that do have a few speckles and/or dirt present. One instance of dirt is present at the lower center of the screen for about 2 long minutes during an extended take of a scene. It’s sort of obvious that the transfer was not meticulously supervised or cleaned up like it should have. Other than that, the film looks better than average.

Audio 

Going Places is presented in DTS-HD MA Mono. Yes, it’s the “dreaded” 1 channel mono track that certain groups of enthusiasts dread. You know what, though? They need to get over it, because it actually sounds pretty good. Again, this is a forty year old film and maintaining the original sound elements is what it’s all about. This is a lossless mono track too. Dialogue is uber clear and audible. The film is in French with English subtitles. Yes, you will not get audio playback from any of the other channels unless you artificially tweak your settings, but why would you want to do that? Let the center channel do it’s thing. You’ll enjoy it more.

Special Features 

Yeah, we only get a trailer which is pretty hilarious and a stills gallery. That’s it. If the the trailer weren’t so hilarious I would have awarded Going Places the coveted goose egg for special features, but it barely edged in there.

  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Stills Gallery

Final Thoughts 

Going Places is a road movie in the tradition of Motorcycle Diaries, and Y Tu Mama Tambien, but the road in Going Places doesn’t necessarily lead anywhere. It’s a pretty damn entertaining film nonetheless and the French countryside looks amazing in high definition. It’s a shame that more supplements were not included in the package, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

 

 

 

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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