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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Rush
Rush
MGM // R // December 3, 2002
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted December 19, 2002 | 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:

A terrific directorial debut from producer Lili Fini Zanuck, "Rush" offers solid performances from Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jason Patrick, who portray narcotics officers going too far undercover in a small Texas town. While the picture didn't do particularly well theatrically, it gained greater appreciation once it reached home video. Patric, who can be a fantastic actor when he's matched with the right part, plays the veteran officer (who looks kind of like Dennis Miller's character in "The Net") who takes the rookie (Leigh) under his wing, as - with most of these kinds of films - he sees something in her, which is nicely portrayed in an early scene as he bets that she'll outrun a couple of other recuits on the local track.

The remarkably gritty picture paints a dark portait of the undercover world, where the only "assist" comes from the other person - there is no calling in backup. Jason Leigh's character is not unusual in the genre - the naive character who wants to make a difference but doesn't know how far she'll have to go (including doing the drugs she and Patric's character are trying to take off the streets) - but her portrayal of the character's life spinning out of control is remarkably powerful. Interestingly enough, the film is based upon the book by Kim Wozencraft, whose real-life experiences provided the story. Patric's performance is almost equally impressive, as he portrays a cop passing into addiction in a remarkably convincing manner.

Technically, the film is stellar. Kenneth MacMillan's cinematography adds realistic and powerful grit to the visuals of the movie without making the film too visually drab. Eric Clapton's bluesy score also adds to the atmosphere of the picture perfectly. Production, costume and set design is also first-rate, portraying the dark side of a small town expertly. While bleak and most certainly grim, Zanuck's direction keeps the scent of danger present, with the possibility of blown cover and eventual full-on addiction just around the corner.

It's unfortunate that Zanuck hasn't continued directing, as she clearly shows talent at bringing great performances out of solid actors - both leads here should have been considered for awards notice for this tense and occasionally frightening drama.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Rush" is presented by MGM/UA in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality is generally pretty solid, if not spectacular. The gritty look of the picture is captured well here, keeping the tone of the visuals without losing detail. Sharpness and definition are generally good, as the picture offers fine clarity, even in most - but not all - of the darker scenes.

Flaws in the image are only briefly noticed - a speck pops up here and there on the print used and there is some light edge enhancement occasionally present. Other than that, things appeared fine, as no pixelation or other artifacts were spotted. The film's color palette is certainly subdued and almost desaturated, save for the somewhat warmer colors in some of the bar scenes. Black level appeared solid, while flesh tones looked accurate. A very nice transfer.

SOUND: "Rush" is presented by MGM/UA with a newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation. The soundtrack is actually pretty enjoyable for a film that's largely dialogue-driven. The bluesy score benefits the most from the newly remastered presentation, sounding particularly lively and filling the room with ease. Other than that, there's really not a whole lot else for the surrounds to do, aside from a bit of subtle ambience here and there. Dialogue remained crisp and clear throughout the presentation.

EXTRAS: This is a commentary from director Lili Fini Zanuck. The commentary is pretty enjoyable, as the director goes over many topics, including technical details, casting and production issues, not to mention several aspects that she would have done differently had she gotten a second chance. Also included are a short featurette, the film's trailer and Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" music vid.

Final Thoughts: A tense and well-acted drama about two undercover officers battling addiction, "Rush" is a little-seen gem that deserves more attention now that it's been released by MGM in fine fashion on this DVD. The DVD offers good audio/video quality and some fine supplements for a low $14.98 price tag.

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