Out Of Sight (DTS)
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 18, 2001
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My Original Review From June, 1998:
Elmore Leonard has had his novels adapted to the screen quite a bit recently, and yet none have been completely or really near successful in bringing his work exactly to the big screen. Of all of them, "Out Of Sight" definitely gets the closest.

Quentin Tarantino's adaptation, "Jackie Brown", was a mess, "Get Shorty" grew on me after a few viewings, but I still felt that it was simply broad Hollywood comedy and not that interesting.

But "Out Of Sight" is different. The dialogue flows much better. The actors simply look like they're having fun. Especially George Clooney, who hasn't quite hit it off at the box office yet. Clooney plays Jack Foley, famed bank robber, who's just broken out of jail. Karen Sisco, played by Jennifer Lopez, is the Federal Marshal on his trail. But during their meetings along the way, the two begin to fall for each other; this could have been handled dumbly, but it's the way that Steven Soderberg, the director, plays with the film's structure, with time looping in and around itself, and little things like freeze frames, that make the time in this film almost more perfect, and the structure, much more fun.

It's also the way the film is shot and edited, comedy here is timed almost a hundred percent perfectly. And the comedy is smarter and funnier than almost anything I've seen since Barry Levinson's "Wag The Dog".

The supporting players all have wonderful lives of their own; Ving Rhames as Clooney's sidekick is excellent; he makes the most of an already well written supporting role. Don Cheadle as the bad guy of the film is both wickedly funny(especially during one talk about how he has "vertically integrated" himself into the world of crime) and scary. Steve Zahn, as a wasted crook, is hilarious.

Timing is everything here; the comedy is so sharp that it's unfortunate that it doesn't quite mesh in the final scene, where everyone involved tries to rob the house of a former jail mate who's quite rich, played by Albert Brooks. What works is how the final scenes are layed out, with people going back and forth between the teams searching the house, and in one of the scenes grosser moments, a bad guy learns why they put the safety on guns. The movie begins to get serious towards the end, but it doesn't quite go over the edge, it somewhat sits on the fence. Small complaint, though, for an otherwise excellent film.

Jennifer Lopez is excellent here as the federal marshal who has to do her job to find Clooney's Foley character, but can't keep her heart from getting in the way. She makes this a great female role. She's tough, smart, and she brings a lot of character to the role. It's a fantastic performance. Clooney, thankfully, has dropped his "head down, eyes up" way of performing and finally, he gives a performance that's honestly quite excellent. None of the actors in this film gives a performance that isn't far above average.

"Out Of Sight" isn't quite perfect, and there are moments where it falters in tone, becoming a little violent in the midst of crime comedy. The dialogue here works so well though, that any small fault in tone can be forgiven. Excellent performances all around in "Out Of Sight", and actors that are perfect in their roles. It's a joy to watch actors have this much fun with such great dialogue.And the humor here is almost too good. Leonard writes books about criminals who aren't quite perfect in the way they think; they're always fascinating in what they say to each other. Here we don't feel like we have characters built into a movie. We feel like we're coming in on their daily lives, like they've had lives of their own before these events ever happened, and that's refreshing.

"Out Of Sight", although not quite perfect, is easily one of the very best films of the year, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was still on my top 10 list at year's end.


VIDEO: I've always loved the look of "Out Of Sight", with its bold, well-saturated colors for the early scenes, and the cold tones of the later half of the movie. The color palette translates well here, looking crisp and vibrant, with no bleeding. Images are sharp and crisp, with good detail as well. Flesh tones are fine, and black level is solid.

No distracting artifacts plague the picture, and the viewing experience is a very entertaining, clean one that looks very "film-like".

SOUND: The main focus of the movie remains the funky, wonderful score and that sounds excellent on the DTS version. The score sounds dynamic and clean, managing to wrap around the viewer with excellent clarity for the majority of the film. Beyond that though, "Out Of Sight" is simply dialogue-driven, and with that task, it succeeds. There isn't anything agressive about the audio, but it is a very pleasing presentation in terms of quality.

MENUS:: Very basic main menus with no animation or anything additional.

EXTRAS:: There are no extras with this release. The Collector's Edition, on the other hand, has a great commentary from director Steven Soderberg, along with a number of other elements.

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