Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 4/12/00
Out of Sight
Edition - 1998 (1999) - Universal
review by Brad Pilcher of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
123 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:11:26, at the
start of chapter 32), Amaray keep case packaging, audio commentary
by director Steven Soderbergh and writer Scott Frank, Inside
Out of Sight documentary, deleted scenes, music
highlights, theatrical trailer, film-themed menu screens, scene
access (52 chapters for the movie, 14 chapters for the documentary),
languages: English (DD 5.1) & French and Spanish (DD 2.0),
subtitles: English and Spanish
"Oh, man, if I
wasn't stoned, there is no way you would have talked me into this!"
Sometimes, a movie comes along that is so good, on so many points,
it's hard to know where to begin talking about it.
Out of Sight is that kind of
movie, and having it as a Collector's Edition DVD makes it just that
much better. It has the witty dialogue and top-shelf humor. The
acting is a notch above the rest. The film is beautifully
photographed, while the editing and cinematography combine, as a
whole, to be incredibly effective. All of that is on the film side.
The DVD side is equally as impressive, featuring a solid anamorphic
transfer and a plethora of quality extras.
Let us start with the story itself. We open with some interesting
editing. It involves randomly (or not so randomly) freezing the
frame for a few seconds at a time. George Clooney, as our lead
character (Jack Foley), enters a generic bank. He's unarmed, but
he's got this amazing trick where he snaps his finger over a Zippo
and the thing lights up. How does he do that!? In any event, he
calmly robs the bank by contriving a smooth story for the teller. He
seems like the coolest cat... until his car won't start.
Zoom ahead to prison. Clooney enacts his own prison break, again
with all the style and flair of a career criminal. This time,
however, he ends up in the trunk with a kidnapped U.S. Marshall, in
the body of Jennifer Lopez. Their brief conversation in those
cramped confines ignites an undeniable attraction between the two,
and a convoluted movie later, they must find out if they can
overcome the two sides of the law they're on.
The story structure is chopped up, jumping around with no care of
chronological order. Some artistic inclusions (distinct prison
uniforms, for example) and effectual editing make the film work...
and work it does! George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames and
Don Cheadle all turn in quality performances, which further enhances
an intuitive and fast-paced script. Bringing these elements of
editing, acting and cinematography together, is the result of a
quality directing job from Steven Soderbergh. It's actually hard to
give too much praise to the man. It's easy when you have a good
story or a credible cast of actors. When you've got almost
everything going for you, it becomes difficult to pinpoint where the
director should be praised and where his cast and crew are more
deserving. In this case, everybody deserves tons of praise.
The DVD itself is as top-notch as the film. The anamorphic video is
impeccable. Grain is completely absent. Artifacting is not an issue.
Black levels are very good. The only complaint to be had here, is
that there is a hint of color oversaturation. But it's light, and I
was really looking for something here, so you may never notice.
However, if you notice a sort of overly bright daylight, don't tweak
your video settings. The director purposely overexposed some shots
to a degree, in order to flush out the light. These are mostly done
in the Miami scenes, and it's definitely deliberate. The Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio is very robust, providing a good spacial feel and
plenty of bang for your bullet (note that a separate DTS 5.1
version, sans extras, is also available).
The disc really wins by a couple of touchdowns on the strength of
its extras. Let's begin with the series of deleted scenes. They are
provided in a big long reel, with no breakdown. In other words, you
can't select just one, which is the only unfortunate aspect with
these. They aren't particularly amazing, but they provide some
insights. The film in no way suffers from their deletion, but it's
very nice to have them there for consideration. The feature
commentary by Soderbergh and Scott Frank (the screenwriter) is
perfectly in keeping with the high quality of the disc. They don't
hesitate to dive right in here, literally going into their insights
from the about the third sentence. And they don't let up either,
throughout the movie adding layer upon layer of intuition with a
glib, conversational style. As I said before, the film itself is
incredible on its own. Add in this commentary and it becomes a DVD
classic. A theatrical trailer and a series of music highlights round
There is one more extra to discuss, however, and it's the best one
in my opinion - the Inside Out of Sight
documentary on the film. Few documentaries seen on DVD are this
well-done and this in-depth. Not only is it broken down with
chapters and given its own menu, but the documentary itself is
really insightful. We get interviews with just about everybody
involved, and they bring a fuller understanding of the process to
the viewer. A film this good deserves this kind of peek behind the
curtains, and we definitely get a full-on backstage tour.
What we have here is a film (and a DVD) that fully lives up to its
name. It is, quite simply, out of sight. Is it worth a purchase?
Even at its full retail price, this disc is worth purchasing, so do
not hesitate. If you're in prison, break out, run to your local
store and buy this disc. You may want to head to an off-shore island
at that point... but be sure to buy this movie first.