directed by Errol Morris
USA 1997


Morris weaves their dreams together with music and images, into a meditation. To watch the movie is to reflect that no matter how hard we work, our lives are but a passing show. Maybe Rodney Brooks, the robot scientist from MIT, has the right idea: We should develop intelligent robots that can repair themselves and send them out into the universe as our proxies. Instead of a few incredibly expensive manned space missions, why not send up thousands of robots that are fast, cheap and out of control--and trust that some of them will work? Consider the life work of George Mendonca, who is a topiary gardener, and must sometimes reflect that he has spent 50 years or more practicing an art that most people cannot even name. What is a topiary? A shrub that has been trained, clipped and trimmed in such a way that it looks like a giraffe, or a bear or a geometric shape. That is not in the nature of shrubs, and Mendonca, who is in his 70s, reflects that a good storm could blow his garden away, and that the moment he stops clipping, nature will go to work undoing his art. There is a beautiful slow-motion shot of him in the rain, at night, walking past his creations as if he, too, were a topiary waiting to be overcome by nature.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert's Review at the Chicago Sun-Times HERE


Theatrical Release: September 7th, 1997

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DVD Review: Sony - Region 1 - NTSC

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Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:22:40

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.78 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date: September 24th, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 28



Sony have done a very fine job on Errol Morris' sublime "Fast, Cheap & Out of Control". As the movie is often switching between film stocks and various source materials, the quality is quite jumpy, but intentionally so. We get very satisfying, accurate colors, excellent sharpness and detail and flawless contrast.

The 2.0 soundtrack makes every spoken line perfectly audible and gives Caleb Sampson's great musical score full range to amaze our senses.

You guessed it, there are no extras on this disc. But what you get here is Errol Morris' greatest work, one of the most profoundly moving and inspiring films made in recent years, on a flawless DVD. What more could one possibly want.

 - Stan Czarnecki


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