Rushmore Blu-ray Review

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Max Fisher Presents...

by Casimir Harlow Oct 24, 2018 at 7:55 AM

  • Movies review

    Rushmore Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £17.99

    Rushmore Film Review

    Wes Anderson's sophomore gem, Rushmore, is a witty, eccentric and energetic little piece that redefined Bill Murray's latter career and launched Anderson's.

    After the rough-around-the-edges Bottle Rocket, Anderson and co-writer Owen Wilson went back to a story they had been working on for years, borne from their own experiences of high school. Determining that they should bring these school snapshots to life in a hyper-realistic fashion - a style which would later inform every subsequent production - they created the fantastic world of Max Fisher.

    The story involves Max's life at school where he shows absolute apathy towards his studies but a boundless energy towards forming numerous clubs. Max wants nothing more than to succeed at Rushmore but doesn't actually want to do any academic work. He soon becomes drawn to a young, newly widowed teacher, who he falls for and attempts to woo. In the meantime, he catches the eye of rich industrialist Mr Blume, who sees in him the energy that he wishes his own sons possessed. Taking Max under his wing, things get complicated when Blume falls for the same woman.

    Anderson's alternative coming-of-age film, is a tremendous little movie, peppered with electric moments and rich, refined humour.

    For those who can get on board with Anderson's whimsical, alternate-humour universe, Rushmore is a delightful movie, with a real beating heart and soul to its flawed characters. A young Jason Schwartzman takes the lead as Max, a strange little creature who treads a fine line between unpleasant arrogance and intoxicating energy and who just about manages to keep the audience on board despite the increasingly crazed behaviour of a boy-in-love. Highlights include the school amateur dramatic's interpretation of Serpico, whilst Anderson himself nods to a number of other films in rather strange and unusual ways (the subtle Heat reference is superb, whilst Max quotes The Godfather, references Apocalypse Now and Top Gun and Anderson himself paves the way for the upcoming Life Aquatic).

    Murray enjoys a return to form and this was his introduction to modern independent cinema. He went on to make Lost in Translation just a few years later but has stuck with Anderson for many of the films that have defined the latter end of his career. He's note-perfect as the wayward industrialist, whose disdain for his own life and love for a younger woman only sends him further off the rails. Olivia Williams makes for a perfect love interest and the two are great.

    Anderson's alternative version of a coming-of-age film is a tremendous second movie from the auteur, peppered with electric moments and rich, refined humour. For Anderson fans who haven't dipped into his early career, it comes highly recommended.

    Rushmore Blu-ray Picture

    Rushmore Rushmore Blu-ray Picture
    Criterion brings Rushmore to UK Blu-ray, complete with an impressive 1080p/AVC-encoded, high definition video presentation, framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen. There is a feeling of deja vu about it, however, given that Criterion brought the very same disc to the US back in 2011. Thankfully, it still looks excellent.

    Criterion brought the very same disc to the US back in 2011. Thankfully, it still looks excellent.

    Making the most of Anderson's distinctively framed shots and rich environments, there's a great deal of welcome detail in this presentation, bringing nuances and background textures to impressive life. A couple of the close-up shots of the main characters showcase some pore-centric observations, particularly when Murray finds the bees. It's still a little bit soft around the edges but that's the shooting style and it nevertheless looks very good indeed, with a lavish, rich, colour palette that enjoys a broad spectrum of vibrant tones.

    Rushmore Blu-ray Sound

    Rushmore Rushmore Blu-ray Sound
    The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, also a holdover from the earlier 2011 Criterion disc, is a strong and energetic effort, affording the zesty movie some solid surround activity and there's another fun score from longterm Anderson collaborator, Mark Mothersbaugh (never better than for The Life Aquatic).

    The audio track is also a strong and energetic effort.

    The witty, quick-fire dialogue is disseminated clearly and coherently throughout, taking priority across the frontal array. The effects are authentically reproduced and are mostly ambient and natural (apart from, perhaps, in the Max Fisher 'productions') which allows for whistling winds, squeaking bike wheels, the thud of falling trees and the din of a multitude of school noises. The score is peppered with some songs from Brit rock bands like The Kinks and provides an excellent backdrop for the proceedings, giving the film its final, fun flavour.

    Rushmore Blu-ray Extras

    Rushmore Rushmore Blu-ray Extras
    The Criterion Collection extras are - as usual, and as per the original US release - excellent and comprehensive, delivering a number of great elements that cover all the bases and give you an even broader 'Max Fisher Presents' experience.

    The extras are excellent and comprehensive.

    First up there's a Director's Commentary with Anderson joined by co-writer Owen Wilson and actor Jason Schwartzman. The quarter-hour Making of Rushmore is a short but decent documentary while the hour-long Charlie Rose interviews with Anderson and Bill Murray are much more substantial, particularly the one with Murray, who talks about his entire career and the state of the film industry.

    There are auditions from a number of key players, a series of posters and designs, plus a comparison between the storyboards and the finished product. Perhaps the funniest addition is the 1999 MTV section, which has the Max Fisher group doing short interpretations of Armageddon, Out of Sight and The Truman Show. The comprehensive set is rounded off by a trailer and a Criterion Booklet.

    Rushmore Blu-ray Verdict

    Rushmore Rushmore Blu-ray Verdict
    Rushmore is a delightful little gem that is well worth checking out.

    Admittedly, Wes Anderson's works are still something of an acquired taste, with those who marvel at the likes of The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Royal Tenenbaums still capable of scratching their head at Bottle Rocket, The Life Aquatic and Isle of Dogs. For those who enjoy the full breadth of his films, Rushmore is a delightful little gem that is well worth checking out.

    Criterion's UK Blu-ray release comes a little late in the day, given that it appears to be a mirror image of Criterion's 2011 US release. Nonetheless, the impressive video and audio still stand up, and the bountiful selection of extras should please all fans. Recommended.

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £17.99

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