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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Scenes of the Crime
Scenes of the Crime
Columbia/Tri-Star // R // September 30, 2003
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jason Bovberg | posted October 1, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?

This film coulda been a contender. Until about the halfway point of Scenes of the Crime, I actually found myself engrossed in this crime thriller, imagining myself eventually writing this review and gushing to you, dear reader, about a woefully overlooked gem. Sadly, at a certain point while watching the film's events unfold, I understood that Scenes of the Crime just wasn't going to pay off on its promise.

The film is about Lenny Burroughs (Jon Abrahams), a young man caught between an upright future with his fiancée and the life of secondhand crime that he's been living as a mob driver. Needing money but determined to put the sleaziness behind him, he agrees to one last easy job with Rick (Peter Greene). But the job turns out to be anything but easy—the kidnapping of rival mob boss Jimmy Berg (Jeff Bridges) goes horribly awry, and poor inexperienced Burroughs winds up holding Berg at gunpoint in the back of a van while other high-ranking mob players debate the fate of all involved.

The problem with Scenes of the Crime is that nearly all its plot threads, all of which begin promisingly, lead to nowhere—even the primary one. In particular, a subplot involving Madchen Amick and Morris Chestnut as deli proprietors is ultimately meaningless. (But let me state here that my love for Twin Peaks' Amick is as strong as ever. She is as sexily appealing here as she ever was. Madchen, if you read this review, please contact me at the above address so that we can exchange personal information and eventually become lovers. My wife won't mind. Really! We have one of those agreements about the prospect of hooking up with certain celebrities. She's got George Clooney at the top of her list, and I've got you.) Anyhoo.

R. Lee Ermey is similarly wasted, although at least his subplot comes to a conclusion. Noah Wyle tries valiantly to shrug off the specter of Dr. John Carter by playing a tough guy, but nope, it ain't happening. Bridges turns in a passable performance, but his discomfort toward the end of the film is indicative of the film's late-in-the-game failures.

HOW'S IT LOOK?

Columbia/TriStar presents Scenes of the Crime in an above-average anamorphic-widescreen transfer of the film's original 1.85:1 presentation. This is a fine, stable image, full of fine detail and depth. Blacks are strong and deep, and colors are vivid. But perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay this image is that it's almost completely devoid of artificial sharpening in the form of edge enhancement. I noticed no telltale halos. And I noticed only occasional print flaws such as specks and dirt. Nice job!

HOW'S IT SOUND?

The DVD's Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track provides, again, an above-average presentation. Although this is a somewhat bottom-heavy affair—in this the low end tends to overpower the dialog—it's an active mix, boasting impressive directionality across both the front and the rear. Dialog is clean and accurate. I was also impressed by the way the score inhabits the entire sound field.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE?

All you get are Theatrical Trailers for Scenes of the Crime, Double Vision, Hollywood Homicide, Identity, and SWAT.

WHAT'S LEFT TO SAY?

Scenes of the Crime is an almost-compelling thriller that warrants a rental, if only to enjoy the luminescent Madchen Amick. Image and sound quality are indeed impressive, but supplements are, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent.

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