Steven Soderbergh’s film Out of Sight tells the story of a man named Jack Foley (E.R.’s George Clooney) and his ability to rob banks. As the film opens up, we see Jack as he cunningly convinces the bank clerk that his partner is speaking to the bank manager and will blow off his head if Jack gives the word. Turns out that this is the exact opposite and Jack almost gets away had his car not flooded. As Jack is doing his time in jail, we immediately learn that he is going to escape soon, actually that nig…t. The escape goes off cleanly until Jack and his driver named Buddy Bragg (Mission Impossible’s Ving Rhames) nab a federal marshal named Karen Sisco (The Cell’s Jennifer Lopez), putting her and Jack in the trunk of her car together. It’s here that Jack and Karen, while talking, become attracted to each other.
As a federal marshal and law officer, Karen is obviously suppose to arrest Jack. But this can’t happen yet otherwise the film would only be 20 minutes long. Here is where Soderbergh succeeds at a high level. He gives us a lot of flashbacks, one in particular to Jack’s days in prison. Jack meets a man named Glenn, who seems to be a kind of odd character who doesn’t necessarily seem to full in the upper portion of his head. We also meet a group of three men named Snoopy Miller, the violent part of the group, Kenneth, his partner and White Boy Rob, his big, bulky bodyguard who constantly stands up for Snoopy. While all this is occurring inside the prison, Soderbergh switches back and forth between the ongoing ‘relationship’ between Karen and Jack.
Speaking of Karen and Jack, the acting by Clooney and Lopez is excellent. One of the true highlights in my book was the sequence in the restaurant where they met. It reminded me a lot of the sequence where Al Pacino and Robert De Niro’s characters met in the Michael Mann film Heat. In both sequences we had characters who knew what there job told them to and characters that would stop at nothing to accomplish a goal. Also in common would be the fine acting. In this situation, Clooney is equally as good as Lopez here. He is calm, cunning, cool, and continuously collected always knowing how to act and control himself. Lopez, on the other hand, may have delivered her best performance here since the film The Cell. Her acting is spot on, never failing to deliver the pure emotion of being caught in between her profession and her heart.
Director Soderbergh, who has recently done quite a few great films, delivers another success here. He films each scene with skill revealing little details. I especially liked the connection after Jack left his security job, walked outside, threw off his tie, and proceeded to walk into the bank he robbed at the beginning of the film. It shows that Soderbergh carefully thought out how the story would be told.
It took me quite some time to finally sit and down see Out of Sight, but I fully admit I should have seen the film a long time ago. A top-notch film!
Presented in a 1080p, VC1 Encoded, 1:85:1 widescreen aspect ratio, Out of Sight actually looks pretty good for a film that is 7-8 years old. Add in the fact that Soderbergh originally mastered this title for the original SD-DVD release in a high-definition (1080i), and you get quite the fine transfer.
Set in the city of Miami, the film boasts some spectacular full-range colors. Every scene, outside scenes at least, had a nice sense of completion in each color. Blacks were full and rich while colors like reds, greens, and the bright Miami skyline were all just as good. The fine use of color also gave the film a sense of higher detail as items like flesh tones on the actor’s faces were nearly perfect, with only a few scenes of blemish and pixilation. Take a look at Chapter 24 simply labeled ‘Detroit’ for a fine example. In this case the use of the color blue creating a nice tinting type effect to show the coldness of not only the city of Detroit (time wise in the film), but also what the men were doing.
Items like grain and edge enhancement were present in a few sequences, such as in the opening sequence where Jack robs a bank. I also did notice a bit of grain in some of the Detroit sequences. Otherwise from that, grain was never overly present to a point where it affected the transfer. Chalk up another great transfer from the folks at Universal.
Featuring the standard English Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 with optional Francais or Espanol audio tracks, the provided audio track is rather impressive.
Due to this being a dialogue-heavy film, Out of Sight still has a few noteworthy, subtle effects. First off, bass is rather quiet during most of the scenes. It never overly pounds except in a majority of the film’s use of songs. I didn’t find this to be annoying, but a bit more overall bass response would have been nice. Still, when the bass does hit during this music selections, the bass is rich, clear and strong filling the room with a nice overall feel of being in a music hall.
Speaking of feeling like being in music hall, the film’s surrounds were placed in a fine manner. I particularly enjoyed the initial prison sequences. Dynamic Range was in full usage here via the little effects like inmates talking, guards yelling and constant chattering, all which were placed well never causing an increase or decrease in the volume.
The real star of this audio track, as mentioned above, is the score and music by David Holmes. Really dominating the film, the music is well placed adding a more realistic feel to each and every scene. This is truly were the rumored TrueHD audio track would have sounded nice. I was quite impressed with Out of Sight on the audio front. While not boasting an incredibly dynamic, super-loud track, it proved that even the quieter, dialogue heavy films can still sound impressive.
- Audio Commentary with Director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Frank: Here Soderbergh speaks to us about the deletion of scenes and how audiences/producers reacted to the first original cut of the film, especially the original trunk sequence. He also gives us a bit of information on the sets of the films and the various locales. Worth a listen if you enjoyed the film, otherwise you won’t find much here.
- Inside Out of Sight: Here we get quite the interesting take on the making of the film. A majority of the cast and crew speak on topics like what it was like making the film, working with each other and how they felt about Steve Soderbergh. A lot of the speaking that is done is accomplished via cast interviews that felt like more of a press package than real cast interviews.
- Deleted Scenes: Here we get 22 minutes of deleted scenes that are, again, should be listed as extended scenes. We get an extended original sequence in the trunk between Karen and Jack, A conversation between Snoopy and Glenn, A sequence between Karen and her father, A scene between Karen and Adele, a scene between Jack and an inmate, an extended sequence in the car between Snoopy, Glenn, White Boy Rob and a few others in Detroit, a deleted scene between Karen and her boss at a crime scene, a deleted scene between Jack and his friend in a jail cell after his release, a short sequence in the security job Jack was going to work at, a scene in a hotel room between Jack and his friend about bank robberies, and finally an extended scene before the final robbery. Some of the scenes were interesting like the scenes between Karen and her boss/father, but most didn’t do much for me.
Out of Sight reminded me a lot of The Score in that both films had a man trying to get out of the game, but wanting to do one last score. While Out of Sight wasn’t quite as good of a film as The Score, the solid acting by Clooney and especially Lopez (proving that she was once a good actress) really help this film. The rather impressive video and audio also add a bit here. The only unfortunate thing here is the lack of special features. Still, with an MSRP of only $29.98 and an Amazon price of only $19.99, this becomes a recommended title.
One side note: I do recall at one point that Universal announced that they would include a Dolby TrueHD audio track on this disc. Unfortunately this never came to fruition, which is frustrating. I sometimes wonder why Universal is choosing to excluding TrueHD tracks from their releases, especially with the recent announcement that two upcoming titles in ‘Accepted’ and ‘Miami Vice’ won’t include the TrueHD tracks. Talk about annoying.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary with Director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Frank
- Inside Out of Sight
- Deleted Scenes