Robert Redford is a small-time con man who swindles a runner working for big-time gangster Robert Shaw. When Redford’s partner is killed in retribution, Redford swears revenge, and hooks up with Paul Newman, a veteran at the con game who has fallen on hard times. They put together a veritable army of operators, determined to bring Shaw to his knees in the ultimate con.
A delight when it was first released in 1973, the film is no less a delight now. To call it a masterpiece may be a…bit of a stretch, but as entertainment, this is Hollywood product at its very, very best. Rich in period costumes and settings, richer still in quirky character bits, this is pure multiple-viewing pleasure.
You have your DTS, and you have your 5.1. All very nice, but not, strictly speaking, particularly necessary. There isn’t much difference between the two, largely because they don’t have a heck of a lot to do. There is some surround sound, but it is quite low-key, and easily passes unnoticed. On the other hand, all the voices stay where they should, and the sound is nice and clear.
The first few minutes are extremely soft, to the point that the film looks rather like an impressionist painting. There are also a few instances of artifacting around the edges of figures. The picture subsequently improves, becoming much sharper. Throughout, the colours are very strong, as are the contrasts and blacks. The grain level varies with the sharpness, but is generally not a problem.
No extras on Disc 1, and Disc 2 has an hour-long documentary and some decent production notes. The doc is a good one, with plenty of contributions from Redford and Newman (and others) looking back at the making of the film, but it hardly deserves a separate disc on its own. The menu’s main screen is animated and scored.
For a two-disc set in a deluxe case, this release’s extras are rather thin on the ground. But the movie is so good that one cannot complain too much.
Special Features List
- “The Art of the Sting” Documentary
- Production Notes