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Out of Sight (4K Ultra HD)
Steven Soderbergh's adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel is my favorite collaboration between the director and George Clooney. This snappy crime comedy features excellent performances by Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Dennis Farina and Albert Brooks, and is one of the director's most accessible and entertaining movies. Adapted for the screen by Scott Frank, Out of Sight takes liberties with its source material, but Soderbergh's film is full of energy and interesting characters. Clooney is career bank robber Jack Foley, who winds up in federal prison when his getaway car fails to start. United States Marshal Karen Sisco (Lopez) happens to arrive at the prison as Foley escapes, with the help of friend Buddy Bragg (Rhames). She ends up in the trunk of a Ford Thunderbird with a chatty Foley but is ultimately released when the friends ride off into the sunset. More intrigued than angry, Sisco returns to work unsure what to make of the strange encounter.
Although Out of Sight marks Soderbergh's first dip into mainstream filmmaking, it still favors witty dialogue and character development over action. The film unfolds masterfully, with its director never pandering to an audience he knows is intelligent enough to catch onto the story. The opening sequence, in which the audience quickly realizes Foley is not a traditional businessman, is excellent; as is the trunk sequence with Clooney and Lopez. The pair share fantastic chemistry, and I always enjoy Soderbergh weaving in movie references to Three Days of the Condor and Network, the latter of which Foley misquotes to Sisco's amusement. It quickly becomes evident that the film is not exactly chastising its main characters for living a life of crime. There are good criminals and bad ones, though; with Foley sliding into the good category and former prison mate Maurice Miller (Cheadle) landing on the other end of the spectrum.
After busting out of prison, Foley, Bragg and flakey associate Glenn Michaels (Steve Zahn) plan to steal uncut diamonds from Richard Ripley (Albert Brooks), a businessman who Foley protected during his stint in prison for white-collar crime. Michaels spills the beans to Miller, a dumb career thug, who assembles his own crew to rob Ripley at his Detroit mansion. As dueling plans unravel, Sisco finds herself attracted to Foley, with whom she keeps sharing chance meetings. She is not exactly turning a blind eye, but she is skirting with professional misconduct. The narrative is interesting and entertaining, but Out of Sight really excels in its entertaining characters on both sides of the aisle. Much of the movie is spent following these characters around while they banter and complete pedestrian tasks, yet the film is nothing short of compelling.
Leonard certainly knows pulp crime fiction, and Soderbergh is an excellent choice to adapt the material. The film blunts immorality with likable characters and humor, and that Out of Sight becomes an unexpected, non-traditional romantic comedy is also impressive. Few people negate Clooney's talent, but anyone who sleeps on Lopez as an actress has not seen this film or her stronger projects like The Cell and Hustlers. Lopez can act, and she has a wry charm that pairs well with Clooney's bravado. A film that benefits from repeat viewings, Out of Sight offers witty tension, electric banter and bursts of gripping violence and suspense. An excellent film that weaves through many genres, Out of Sight is very highly recommended.
THE 4K ULTRA HD:
Kino keeps kicking ass in the 4K catalogue department, and gives Out of Sight a beautiful 1.85:1/2160p/HEVC/H.265 transfer with HDR10 and Dolby Vision that is approved by cinematographer Elliot Davis. This transfer is a clear improvement over previous home-video variants, and offers a beautifully filmic presentation. The fine layer of grain is nicely resolved, and the image looks great in motion. Fine-object detail and texture are abundant, and wide shots are clear and deep. This 4K image offers rock-solid black levels and highlights, and the HDR pass widens the color gamut for this stylishly shot film. I noticed no issues with print damage or digital tinkering.
You can experience the film in either 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio or 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional English SDH subtitles. Most of the action is delivered from the center channel, but the surround mix offers a nice uptick in ambient and action effects panning. The score is presented well, and all elements are mixed appropriately.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
This two-disc set includes the 4K disc and a Blu-ray. Both are packed in a black case that is wrapped with a slipcover. The only extra on the 4K disc is an Audio Commentary by Steven Soderbergh and Scott Frank. The Blu-ray includes more recycled extras: Inside Out of Sight (25:02/SD), a vintage making-of; Deleted Scenes (22:14/SD); and Trailers (3:13 total/HD).
A thoroughly entertaining crime caper, Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight offers strong performances from George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez and skirts multiple genres with ease. Looking better than ever in 4K Ultra HD, this package is Highly Recommended.
William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.