"I'd hate to have the newspapers stick the words 'La Salle Parish' and 'Transsexual murder' in the same headline."
You know the feeling you get when you're watching a movie, and halfway through it, you still have no idea what in the hell is going on? Well, welcome to 100 minutes of confusion, called "The Badge". The movie starts off in the swamps of Louisiana. Gunshots ring out, and a mysterious woman runs in front of a truck that overturns in an attempt to not run her over. The next day, "she" turns up dead (actually a transsexual), and Sheriff Darl (Billy Bob Thornton) is off to investigate.
The movie then spirals out into a convoluted mess. The transsexual's wife, a stripper named Scarlet (Patricia Arquette), comes to town and looks for answers. Meanwhile, Sheriff Darl has enemies who want him out of his position of power, and frame him for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Obviously, there is something larger at work here, but the movie is such an unorganized mess, that it's easy to miss certain plot points, no matter how obvious they are.
Before I even popped "The Badge" into my DVD player, I didn't know what to expect. Surely a movie consisting of a talented cast including Billy Bob Thornton, Patricia Arquette, and Sela Ward had to be better than average at best, right? After watching the movie, I kind of understood why it didn't have a large release… It does nothing to showcase the acting talents of any of the above three.
Therefore, I really can't say that this was a good movie. It could have been better, especially with a more satisfying ending, and characters that hold your interest throughout the film; but unfortunately it falls short in most departments.
Lion's Gate presents "The Badge" in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1. The color palette for the film consists mainly of murky colors (lots of grays, dull blues, etc), and the DVD does a good job presenting it. Flesh tones are a little dull, but the video throughout is sharp (in some scenes, certain colors really contrast and stick out). There are very few instances of grain and artifacting, so overall, the video on this DVD is pretty good.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Although not the greatest audio I've ever heard from a DVD, it far from being the worst. Gunshots, skateboards, and other effects sound really good. Certain points of dialogue sound muddled, but otherwise, everything sounds pretty clear. I expected a lot less from this movie, but Lion's Gate has surprised me lately by offering very good video/audio on their lesser known recent releases.
A static DVD menu includes the choices: "Play Movie", "Scene Selection", and "Subtitles."
Nada, zip, zilch… Not even a trailer.
This movie is a change from the norm; whether it's a good one or not is left to be determined. In my opinion, the movie is nothing special, but it may appeal to some. The good presentations of audio and video lead to my suggestion that you "Rent It" it first, before deciding whether this merits a purchase or not… with a strong emphasis on the "not."