Hard-bitten crime thriller with a moral: make an ex-con feel like an ex-con, and he'll be back to his old tricks with a stocking and a jemmy before you can say recidivist. Hoffman is the troubled Max, just released from San Quentin; Walsh is the sadistic parole officer; Busey is another old lag whose incompetence brings the central criminal plot to a halt; Russell is a young secretary who attempts to find Max a steady job. The film's conclusion meanders into conventional heist-gone-wrong territory, but the first act, in which Max fails to re-enter normal society, is a fresh and brilliant study of urban alienation.
Hoffman, spivvy and moustached for maximum seediness, is an ex-con on parole who can't go straight, adrift like a midnight bellboy in lowlife LA. One yearns for a routine cops and robbers story, but Grosbard lingers with illusory impartiality over the technical details of the parole system, the problems of finding accommodation and work, and the nastiness of the backyard pool-and-barbecue life-style of riche America. Not for a moment are you allowed to suspect that hoodlums might be smart or attractive, or that crime pays. It's such a relief when Hoffman finally drives off into his bleak future, and this fiction of fact reaches its non-conclusion.
Despite some signs of muddle and uncertainty (Ulu Grosbard replaced Dustin Hoffman as director during the shooting), this is a surprisingly strong picture about a convict (Hoffman) on parole in LA learning what the supposedly "normal" world is all about. Based on Edward Bunker's novel No Beast So Fierce and adapted by several hands, this gains one's respect largely through its secondary cast--Theresa Russell, Gary Busey, Harry Dean Stanton, M. Emmet Walsh, and Rita Taggart--although Hoffman has his moments as well (1978).
Theatrical Release: January 18th, 2003 - Tokyo
DVD Review: Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 5.95 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), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
|Subtitles||English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, None|
by Dustin Hoffman and Ulu Grosbard
Short story - this is a fabulous film, great transfer, wonderful commentary and ridiculously low price. I can't understand why it took so long to make it to DVD.
To get specific on the image - it looks excellent - no manipulations, minor digital artifacts, super clean. A tight to the frame, dual-layered anamorphic, progressive transfer. There are optional subtitles (set to flog, with region codes, in South America and Korea) and there is a French DUB optional to the clear and consistent original English audio.
The commentary is a good one. Hoffman and Grosbard recall quite a lot from the production of almost 30 years ago. There is also a 22 minute featurette on the novel - its inception and target audience. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer. Overall a strong recommendation - a great film, adeptly digitally presented by Warner. Buy!