Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 5/1/00
1997 (1999) - New Line
review by Brad Pilcher of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
110 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, full
frame (1.33:1), single-sided, dual-layered, Snapper case packaging,
theatrical trailer, music video for The
Sweetest Thing by Refugee Camp All-Stars, film-themed
menu screens, scene access (25 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1
& 2.0), subtitles: English, Closed Captioned
"Have you been
listening? I'm gonna tell you the point. I'm gonna feed you the
point. The point is... I don't know the point, all right?"
Sometimes with film, beauty works on a multiple of levels.
Love Jones is a film where
those levels are deep and rich, bringing together some beautiful
cinematography, trendy costuming, witty dialogue and undeniable
chemistry. Love Jones stars
Larenz Tate and Nia Long as Darius and Nina, and follows their love
affair. Set against the backdrop of affluent black culture in
Chicago, the film succeeds in making the visual aspect of the film
quite memorable. Where the movie breaks down, though, is in the
narrative, which begins to drag and never quite finds cohesiveness.
The story goes something like this: Nina has just left her
boyfriend when Darius bumps into her at a bar. His mating call is to
go on stage and ad lib a poem for her. The attraction between them
is strong, no matter how much she attempts to deny it. Whether she
wants it or not, she is consumed rather quickly. But when Nina tests
the boundaries of their relationship, a convoluted chain of romantic
events follows. What seems like eons later, we get to the ultimate
conclusion, bringing us full-circle through the tumult.
This film deserves a lot of credit. It is photographed beautifully,
bringing a soft and well-hued visual tone to the screen. The
costuming totally compliments the beautiful persons populating this
story. What we walk away with, is a shadowed cool look that is as
sexy as any film out there. Adding in some top-shelf dialogue, that
is very much with the musical and stylistic flow, helps round out
the film that much more. The on-screen chemistry between Tate and
Long is as undeniable as the attraction of their characters. All of
this is amazing and early on, you're just salivating at where this
film could go.
Soon, however, you find yourself wondering where the film actually
goes. After the early establishment, we get a ho-hum intertwining of
events that just don't pay off as decisively as they should in a
narrative of this sort. The film itself is not unusually long, but
the story isn't tight enough and thus we get sort of lost in the hip
current, forgetting that the story is the key. It's too bad, because
the ending does nothing to really justify the mess these characters
make of their relationships. It's an unfortunate trailing off of an
otherwise astounding film.
Technically, what we have here is a solid disc. The video is very
good looking, benefiting from an anamorphic transfer. The colors in
this film play a heavy role, and the dark shadows and various colors
translate well to DVD. No oversaturation can be found, and the black
levels are just right. There's some light grain here and there, but
that's the only real complaints. The disc's audio is equally solid,
offering a robust mix with strong dialogue presence. This film is
all about the character interaction, and thus the dialogue is
essential. Where no bangs, pops or whizzes are to be found, a strong
dialogue aspect makes this a soundtrack to love.
The extras are not going to blow you away (especially by New Line's
high standards), but what we get on this disc is very good. There's
both a widescreen and full-screen version of the film available, and
the original theatrical trailer is on board. The only stand out
extra is the music video of The Sweetest
Thing (which plays over the end credits). Performed by
the Refugee Camp All-Stars featuring Lauryn Hill, the video looks as
beautiful as the film, and is a commendable addition to a
middleweight disc in the extras category.
You'll fall in love with Love Jones
based simply on the photography and style. You'll probably also
catch yourself wondering what writer/director Theodore Witcher was
thinking. What could have been a terrific commentary on love in the
90s, becomes a convoluted story of two convoluted people. The
gone-astray plot aside, this disc is of sufficient quality that it
will make a solid addition to any collection.