Bounce: Behind The Velvet Rope
Wellspring // Unrated // $24.98 // March 25, 2002
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted April 10, 2003
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Graphical Version
The Movie:

Bare-bones in its style, "Bounce: Behind the Velvet Rope" still manages to provide an interesting perspective on its subject - bouncers at various nightclubs. The several bouncers profiled throught this 71-minute documentary all share the same opinion - they are their to provide service, they are there to be friendly and, occasionally, they have to do what they have to do. Their opinions and actions are not always positive and sometimes are worrying - one seems to indicate to his young son that fighting is okay, for example. Still, the documentary isn't judgemental.

We find out, from this New York City workers, that the job doesn't pay much at all, but yet, they still keep coming back - mainly for the reason that the job is an adrenaline rush. The job is a lot of sitting around and a lot of chattering that can turn sour in a moment - the bouncers talk about how they have to be ready to snap and take care of business if someone gets out-of-hand. There's a lot of analysis by the bouncers - who are quite articulate - on just why people feel like they have to have too many drinks and start trouble, as well as how pointless it is.

The most entertaining aspect of the documentary comes later in the feature, as we hear some of the ridiculous excuses that people try to come up with to get into some of the more famous clubs in the city ("I"m a friend of so-and-so's friend"). There's also some discussion of the perks (women, women and...women.), and even some footage of a "bouncer school".

"Bounce" may be a bit thin even at 71 minutes (some footage seems there to pad out the running time; 60 minutes or a little less would be a bit better.) and it's technically limited and obviously low-budget. However, it does tell us more about the experiences of these workers and should give most viewers an appreciation for how these workers keep the peace.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Bounce" is presented by Wellspring in 1.33:1 full-frame, the documentary's original aspect ratio. The picture looks to have been shot on video, and, as a result, the quality varies a fair amount through the show. Sharpness and detail are generally fairly good, although the brighter daylight scenes offer better clarity and definition than the darker scenes in the clubs. Grain seems to be an intentional element of the footage, and the film's color palette is sort of all-over-the-place, but the doc's low-key look is generally well presented here.

SOUND: "Bounce" offers a stereo soundtrack that remains a basic dialogue-driven presentation throughout, aside from some instances of score. Some of the interview segments are slightly out-of-sync, but reportedly, the film's soundtrack has always suffered from this problem.

EXTRAS: The DVD includes a commentary from director Steven Cantor and producer Daniel Laikind. The two offer a pretty light, engaging track, talking about how they sought out bouncers for the project, and how the film gained notice and popularity on the festival circuit. A trailer and director's bio are also included.

Final Thoughts: While technically not great, "Bounce" moves along well and provides an interesting look at a subject rarely given much focus. The DVD offers audio/video quality that presents the material about as well as it'll look, and throws in a couple of supplements. Worth a rent.



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