187
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Review by Chuck Arrington | posted April 30, 2000
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
187 Synopsis:

187 the police code for murder/homicide is the title of a social commentary on the state of America's public schools starring Samuel L. Jackson Teaching can be hazardous to your health. When teacher, Trevor Garfield (Jackson) is viciously attacked & almost killed in a New York School he re-emerges in Hollywood, California 15 months later. Recuperated physically, he still bears the mental scars of a man betrayed by the very students he was attempting to help. Now a substitute teacher, he ends up in one of the worst schools in the system. When a particularly violent student turns up at the morgue & another at the hospital, missing an appendage, it would appear that justice is finally being done. But by whom? Faced with callous teachers & "the inmates running the prison" What's a teacher to do? When schools become battlegrounds, there will never be any winners. Everyone loses in 187…everyone.

Video:

The video is a very clean anamorphic transfer that is so richly atmospheric in it's presentation that it really enhances the feel of the film. Most notably, the beginning of the film is largely shot through blue filters that lend a sense of foreboding & doom to what you know will eventually lead to someone's demise. After really looking at the print I did not see any artifacting or pixellation. The colors were very subdued but that was the intent of the filmmaker as opposed to colorization error.

Audio:

The 5.1 platform is something like overkill in that the real force of the movie is in its dialogue rather than the effects used to create a sense of dread. There is a great deal of surround use & the sub while sparingly used is more than adequate when it's put to use. The best part of the audio however, is the commentary provided by Samuel L. Jackson, Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez, Director Kevin Reynolds & the Writer Scott Yagemann. The "chorus" of information provided by all involved lends an air of levity to an incredibly draining & absolutely intense film. Watching the film without the commentary & with it provide two totally different viewing experiences. Great commentaries by all involved. Most notably, Jackson's & Reynolds insights are probably the best out of the bunch but each member of the group has a different spin to lend to the film's creative impetus.

Extras:

Aside from the commentary there is a trailer for the film. And" That's all Folks!"

Overall:

187 is not an easy film to watch. It is not your typical Hollywood fantasy film. Just so you know, there is no happy ending to this story. Obviously a reflection of the current state of affairs in the American Public School system, 187 is a terrifying dissection of the daily pains some teachers deal with every day. In any event, 187 will make you think about the world in which you live & the lack of consideration we have become so comfortable with. Definitely recommended.



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