PictureRevenge comes presented with a glorious widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio High Definition 1080p picture that looks sumptuous. Detail is, for the most part, very good, although a few sequences seem a little unnecessarily soft (mostly they are marred by the candlelight and smoke). There is some grain, but generally an acceptable amount considering the age of the movie, and overall it still looks much better than it has ever looked before on any format. The colour scheme is quite broad and warm, making the most of the sunny, humid Mexico setting and giving us plenty of vivid greens and rich landscapes to soak up. Close facial shots also look excellent, largely giving us the detail of the beads of sweat on the actors' heads and portraying the skin tones with superb accuracy. Blacks are solid, with variable contrast that makes for excellent shadowing during the some sequences and offers up grain and defects in other shots. Still, overall it is a superior presentation for this movie, clearly not as good as the latest High Definition renditions of this or last year's productions, but - as I've stated - better than we've ever seen from this movie before.
SoundThe movie comes complete with an Uncompressed PCM 5.1 track, as well as a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 effort. The former offers up crystal clear dialogue, which dominates the fronts and centre channel. Sound effects vary from the opening sequence's jet fighter screaming around the desert, to the commotion of the parties, the whack of the tennis balls and the resounding thunder of the shotguns. All of them give the surrounds something to do, with all the bass that you could have possibly hoped for. The score has been slightly re-jigged by Scott for this new Director's Cut, with one particular track (during the jeep-sex-scene) seeming completely out of place because it was clearly not even around at the time of the movie's production. The opening scoring still works effectively, as do some of the more sombre moments (retained from the movie's original scoring), but some of it does also sound dated. Again, it also offers something towards the LFE channel, and it is all welcome. Overall it is a superb aural presentation for this movie, and clearly better than we have even heard before. For those who need it, the Dolby Digital 5.1 alternative hits all the right spots, although with nowhere near as much punch or dynamism.
ExtrasThe movie comes complete with a full length Audio Commentary by the Director Tony Scott. It's a brand new Commentary recorded specifically for this Director's Cut release, so there is plenty of discussion on his new vision. A soft-voiced, fairly contemplative narrator, Scott's meanderings are often hard to focus on, but if you stick with it there is plenty of information on the inception of this production, the locations, cast, filming and ultimate studio interference. He offers a few anecdotes (particularly dwelling on his affection for Madeleine Stowe), some insight into his new version of the movie (still not quite justifying its 30-minute-shorter runtime) and discussions on working with the late, great Anthony Hopkins (whose Mexican connections made the production run smoother). A quiet but nonetheless interesting and informative offering.
There is also a Featurette entitled Obsession: The Sex and Violence of Revenge, which takes a quarter of an hour to look at the movie and its colourful production. From getting the rights to the novella it was based upon, to getting a director involved, to the cast they chose, as well as detailed discussion of the sex scenes, it is all very interesting background stuff to absorb, with plenty of behind the scenes stills and recent interview contributions from the cast members involved, as well as the director of course. Although it is quite nice to hear the discussions on why the studios cut the sex down (pressured by the writer's opinion as well), there is no explanation as to why the movie has now been so vastly shortened - other than another brief discussion of streamlining - and I find it hard to believe that the studios insisted on the extra scenes being left in, it seems more likely that Scott, as a fifteen year afterthought, decided to cut them. It's a shame that neither the Commentary nor this Featurette do not delve deeper into the truth behind the changes, nor discuss the implications on the plotting and tone.
VerdictRevenge is a superior thriller, held together by a dark tale of lust, betrayal and vengeance and some decent performances. This new Director's Cut is, in my opinion, an inferior version, with pacing that is too fast, character-building scenes no longer included and actions seemingly less justified. Did Tony Scott really think he could take nearly half an hour out of the movie and make it just as good? Still, the movie is a must have for your collection, in whatever form it is in. At least we get a solid picture and a superior aural accompaniment, with a couple of nice extras to boot. I hope they eventually release the original cut, but in the meantime this is definitely one to pick up.
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