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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Reversal Of Fortune
Reversal Of Fortune
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted February 7, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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The Movie:

"Reversal Of Fortune" revolves around the story of Claus Von Bulow, a member of high society who was convicted of attempting to murder his wife, Sunny, with injections of insulin. After an opening that tells us what could have happened, we get into trying to find out what really happened as Claus hires Alan Dershowitz to defend him in appeal.

The screenplay is from Nicholas Kazan, who works from the book by Dershowitz. Claus even makes bad insulin jokes to judge the reaction of those who surround him. Iron's performance is marvelously chilling, a calm man who rarely shows all of his cards - keeping his feelings and thoughts secret. Much of the film bounces between present day and flashbacks; a character drama and a legal one. Transitions between these varying worlds are nicely handled, and information is given out at just the right rate to keep us curious and engaged.

Close plays Sunny well also, a depressed soul who was greatly unhappy with her marriage to Claus; her cold narration from her coma hangs over the film, leading the audience through to try to learn the truth, even if the film only presents all the details but not the final analysis. Although a quote on the back of the DVD box calls "Reversal" a "...black comedy", it's not really as much of a comedy as a drama that uses dark humor to keep the tone from becoming too heavy.

Overall, the film offers excellent performances, mainly from Irons, but also from Ron Silver as Dershowitz and others.


The DVD

VIDEO: Warner Brothers presents "Reversal" in a generally very nice anamorphic transfer in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Although sharpness and detail are quite good, there are a couple of scenes throughout the movie where slight softness creeps in; the minor grain often present also keeps the image from looking as crisp as one might hope.

Although pixelation is kept to a few very brief traces, shimmering is annoying at times, although appears in isolated incidents rather than consistently throughout the movie. Print flaws are sometimes noticed, although with a movie that's now 10 years old, there's not too much to complain about here - a handful of slight marks during the opening credits and the rare speckle or scratch during the running time.

Colors look largely natural and accurate, with a somewhat subdued color palette for the most part, but occasional scenes that boast brighter, more vibrant colors. This is respectable work from Warner Brothers considering the age of the film, but it's not as smooth overall as it could have been.

SOUND: "Reversal" is presented in Dolby 2.0, but there's extremely little going on in the film's audio. Almost completely a dialogue-driven experience, the score slightly adds its presence now and then throughout the movie. Dialogue seemed a tiny bit soft now and then, but generally was easily heard and clear.

MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, although the score plays behind the main menu, which features film-themed images.

EXTRAS:

Commentary: This is a commentary from director Barbet Schroeder and screenwriter Nicholas Kazan. This is a very interesting commentary that unfortunately does have a handful of slight pauses of silence throughout. Still, the two do provide some fascinating tidbits about the process of telling the story as well as working with the actors when they do talk. Much of the discussion though, revolves around how to make the true story behind Dershowitz's book and make it into a movie that made the tale more dramatic, but still trying to keep at least somewhat accurate to the reality behind it all. It was obviously a difficult task, and we get a great deal of information about it all throughout. Although it's maybe not a track that many will come back to to listen to again, I think for fans of the movie, it's certainly worth a listen.

Also: Theatrical trailer; awards & cast/crew text notes.

Final Thoughts:

Positive: The movie is excellent, and Kazan and Schroeder provide a fine audio commentary.

Negative: Image quality is good, but not quite as consistently smooth and enjoyable as I would expect. Sound quality is not remarkable, but the material doesn't really make for an active audio experience.

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