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WSR Detailed DVD Review
Reviewed In Issue 63 (Aug 2002) Of Widescreen Review®
Steven Bauer, Benjamin Bratt, James Brolin, Don Cheadle, Erika Christensen, Clifton Collins, Jr., Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas, Miguel Ferrer, Albert Finney, Topher Grace, Luis Guzman, Amy Irving, Tomas Milian, D. W. Moffett, Dennis Quaid, Peter Riegert Jacob Vargas & Catherine Zeta-Jones
The two-disc Special Edition DVD includes, on Disc One, three commentary tracks: one with director Steven Soderbergh and writer Stephen Gaghan; a track with producers Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, and Laura Bickford, along with consultants Tim Golden and Craig Chretien; while a third one features composer Cliff Martinez (which includes two music cues not used in the final edit of the film). Disc Two includes 25 deleted scenes with optional commentary, fantastic demonstrations in film processing (which reveal how the Mexico scenes got their distinct look), the editing of four scenes, an explanation of dialogue editing, four raw and unedited additional scenes, and an abundance of U.S. Customs trading cards and information about the K-9s used in drug seizures.
DVD General Information
The Criterion Collection
Rated R for pervasive drug content, strong language, violence, and some sexuality.
About the many steps in the thorny chain of drug dealing,
The picture quality appears to be virtually the same as the previous DVD. The anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 DVD exhibits a stylized picture with different appearances between the three main storylines throughout the film. The Mexico scenes are intentionally raw and uninviting. These scenes have a desaturated, harshly contrasted quality, and are revealing of film grain and artifacts. To achieve the look, the filmmakers overexposed the film and shot through a tobacco filter, giving the picture a sweltering, somewhat monochromatic appearance. In the scenes in Washington D.C., colors have a blue cast that gives the picture a cold feel. Yet in the third storyline of the film, in San Diego, the picture is slightly softer, but colors are more accurately balanced, with accurate fleshtones, rich hues and deep blacks. Blue filters are used at times. Overall, images are sharp and nicely detailed, with fine details revealed in clothing and facial features. While some minor pixelization is noticed, there is no obtrusive edge enhancement. Considering the intentionally stylized qualities of the picture, images are quite solid and appear to nicely represent the visual creativity of Steven Soderbergh (who photographed the film under a pseudonym). (Suzanne Hodges)
I read WSR for the articles—honest. Terry Paullin's industry insight is refreshing and lively. The lack of comparisons of which home theatre-in-a-box is best or which sub $200 DVD player is best leaves more room for in-depth product and movie reviews. Most importantly, though, I read WSR for the caricature of Gary Reber morphed on to the movie featured on the cover in the Editor's Couch page. Pierce Brosnan had better watch out!