Viewed – 18 August 2014 Blu-ray
In the nineties, I remember this being one of my favourite thrillers. A gangster’s mol plots to steal $2 million from her mobster boyfriend after hooking up with the alluring ex-con in the apartment next door, who just so happens to be a lesbian. This atmosphere-heavy and stylish movie was heralded at it’s time for it’s arty approach to a lesbian storyline and it’s cool twisty-turny narrative, helped immeasurably by great turns from it’s three main stars; Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon and Joe Pantoliano.
The 1996 debut movie from The Wackowskis, who went on to craft The Matrix movies amongst others, their obvious skill is aided by superb work from cinematographer Bill Pope who makes the camera as much of a character as the people in the story. At it’s heart this is simply a sexy thriller (with a killer lesbian sex scene), two attractive, albeit stereotyped females (could Gershon’s character be any more clichéd?) and an unhinged mobster straight out of the mobster handbook. That being said the script is full of clever structuring and interesting developments (the plotting of the stealing of the money is shown at the same time as it’s being executed). Although dialogue that perhaps initially sounded cool, now years later comes off rather corny (“I have this image of you – inside of me – like a part of me” – groan). Also Tilly’s Betty Boop voice grates quickly. Thankfully then this is so rich in style and tension, much of that doesn’t matter as I enjoyed watching these girls get one over on the mob. Towards the end, I’d have liked a final twist, as it seemed to conclude too ‘safely’ given the knowing awareness of the rest of the movie. It’s been compared to the more serious works of The Coen Brothers such as Blood Simple, although I’d call it closer to the noir thrillers of John Dahl, as in The Last Seduction. Still one of the cooler movies of the nineties.
The recently released Blu-ray from Arrow video is above average. The movie itself is in good shape. It’s subdued look, mostly consisting of greys and whites doesn’t dazzle in high def but there’s decent clarity during dark scenes and acceptable close up detail. The music and dialogue on the other hand are both delivered affectively in a choice of DTS 5.1 or Dolby 2.0. Extras-wise this is quite impressive, with several featurettes covering interviews with the cast as well as the crew. Most valuable is an audio commentary, again from cast & crew, shedding plenty of light on the production. Concluding this package is reversible sleeve artwork as well as a booklet and the movie on DVD as well. Not too shabby!
(the movie) 3.5 /5
(the Blu-ray) 4 /5