Decoder (1984) (BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEW)

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Decoder (1984) (BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEW)
DIRECTED BY: Muscha
STARRING: FM Einheit, William Rice, Christiane Felscherinow
RATED: UR/REGION O/1:33/1080P/NUMBER OF DISCS 2
AVAILABLE FROM Vinegar Syndrome

FM (FM Einheit of Einstürzende Neubauten) has discovered something incredible in the monotonous ‘muzak’ played through the fast-food restaurant H Burger’s speaker system: the tracks are laced with subliminal messages designed to ensure complacency and consumerism. Experimenting with his discovery, FM soon realizes that by changing the type of music played, he can manifest a whole range of emotional responses and stir up the populace from their consumerist subordination. But as the diners are emotionally awakened, they become more and more prone to rioting and general social unrest, which puts FM in an increasingly dangerous position, especially when the sinister and mysterious organization behind the plot to keep the public complacent takes an interest in finding and stopping him…

Decoder was a movie I wanted to like but I think when all is said and done it just isn’t my type of movie. I can see why some others do enjoy this one as much as they do. It is a clever idea. The movie in case you didn’t know follows a guy who works at a burger place who finds out that you can kind of control people depending on what music is playing (or in this case noise). This helps to fight back against the government. It causes riots and all sorts of good stuff! I personally respect it and recognize this is a product of its time. And to the credit of everyone behind it, it does look nice and make the best of what it had. But in this day and age, I just didn’t personally find anything to latch on with it personally. But you might. And if you do enjoy clever ideas that are well crafted for the screen, then, by all means, give Decoder your own day in court.

Vinegar Syndrome made this a great release like they always do. Like I said above, the movie looks outstanding. The cover is cool and reversible, which is always a plus. And if you check out the list of extras for this one you’ll find cool interviews, a mini-documentary, behind the scenes footage, and the always a must audio commentary. This one is by author and film programmer Kier-La Janisse. At the end of the day, I think Decoder is a good idea, I think it’s well-acted, and I think it looks good. But unfortunately it just kind of bored me more times than not and I wasn’t really feeling it. But if you like more art natured foreign films, then you might feel different.

Extras

– Region Free Blu-ray/DVD combo
– Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 16mm original negative
– “Sound as a Weapon” – a brand new interview with writer/producer Klaus Maeck
– Audio commentary with critic, author and film programmer Kier-La Janisse
– Archival audio interview with Klaus Maeck
– Excerpts from “Pirate Tape” – filmmaker Derek Jarman films William S. Burroughs on set
– Video footage from the 1982 Berlin Riots
– Locations ‘then and now’ comparison
– Stills gallery
– Original trailer
– A mini-documentary on the Italian “Decoder Collective”
– Reversible cover artwork
– English SDH subtitles

QUALITY OF TRANSFER: 97%

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