Directed by David Mamet
USA 1991

 

In David Mamet’s cinema, nothing is as it seems—so you better know what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, the protagonist of Mamet’s nightmarish urban odyssey Homicide, inner-city police detective Bobby Gold (Joe Mantegna), is as bewildered about who he is as who (or what) he’s after. Gold’s investigation, following the murder of an elderly Jewish candy-shop owner, leads him down a path of obscure encounters and clues, to a profound reckoning with his own identity. Filled with Mamet’s trademark verbal play and featuring standout supporting performances from William H. Macy, Ving Rhames, and Rebecca Pidgeon, Homicide is a taut, rich work from a true American original.

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Theatrical Release: August 28th, 1991

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DVD Review: Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine #486 - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:41:12 
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.3 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.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary featuring writer-director David Mamet and actor William H. Macy
• New video program featuring interviews with recurring Mamet actors Steven Goldstein, Ricky Jay, J. J. Johnston, Joe Mantegna, and Jack Wallace (21:27)
• Gag reel (6:14) and TV spots (3:37)
• 20-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Stuart Klawans 

DVD Release Date: September 8th, 2009

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 20

 

Comments:

Another richly bizarre and layered Mamet feature. I had never seen it before and am very glad I was given the opportunity with this dual-layered DVD edition from Criterion.  Mamet's films can run from bizarre circumstances - often feeling contrived - evolving to thought-provoking details that linger in your memory.

The Criterion transfer is anamorphic in the 1.85 aspect ratio and is advertised as 'supervised by editor Barbara Tulliver'.  It doesn't look particularity sharp or detailed. It appears fairly thick in the beginning before settling down to a consistent and often, dark, appearance which we can only surmise is intentional. It appears as though it has no untoward, or virtually unnoticeable, digital manipulation. Colors are all true and the image is very clean without damage or speckles. It produces a fine presentation although appearing less stellar than one might have expected from the Criterion collection.

Audio is 2.0 channel and consistent but unremarkable. There are optional English subtitles.

Supplements-wide we get a newly recorded commentary with director/writer Mamet and actor William H. Macy. They been friends for years and are able to help each other with remembrances about, the 18-year-old, Homicide. The onscreen activity is not always referenced but overall it's great to listen to Mamet throw out chunks of keen information. “Invent Nothing, Deny Nothing” is an anamorphic widescreen featurette that runs 21.5-minutes. it includes segments with Joe Mantegna, Jack Wallace, J.J. Johnston, Ricky Jay, and, 'student', Steven Goldstein supplying their take on David Mamet. They talk with such reverence for their friend and attempt some explanations as to his enigmatic filmmaking (writing and approach to actors) techniques. This is interspersed with clips from Homicide and a couple of other films of which they had collaborated with the director. Included is s rough looking 1.33 'Gag Reel' with missed lines and some of the actors getting silly. It runs just over 6-minutes. We get five inconsequential 1.33 TV spots running for 3.5 minutes. There is a 20-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Stuart Klawans.

Of all the Mamet films I've seen this probably has the most prominent 'stilted' delivery of dialogue - often referred to as 'Mamet-speak'. It blends into the film giving it a very unusual aura. Those familiar with the director's work will probably appreciate this more. It's a fascinating narrative. I expect to watch this again in the next 6-months. For those interested in the director's work - this film, commentary and featurette are of strong value. For those interested we certainly recommend.  

Gary W. Tooze

 



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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine #486 - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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