[box cover]

Groove: Special Edition

There's just something about living vicariously. That's the appeal at the heart of Groove, the high-powered, low-budget Sundance sweetheart that got so much buzz when it danced its way into theaters in 2000. A fly-on-the-wall look at San Francisco's rave subculture, Groove got attention because it was something new and different — a glimpse inside a world most of the filmgoing public isn't part of. (And then there was the fact that director/writer/editor Greg Harrison and producer Danielle Renfrew got funding for the movie from nouveau riche Silicon Valley dot.com millionaires, but that's a whole different article.) However, although it's overflowing with stickers, lollipops, bottles of water, glitter, pounding techno music, Ecstasy, and all the other necessary rave paraphernalia, Groove ultimately succeeds not because of its accesssories but because it's a well-paced, engaging story about interesting, sympathetic characters. There's David (Hamish Linklater), the rave newbie, who's probably most viewers' best bet for identification; his enthusiastic, boyish brother Colin (Denny Kirkwood), an experienced rave-goer; Leyla (Lola Glaudini), a somewhat jaded club kid whose subconscious is desperately hoping for a way out of the rave scene and into "real life," and so on. The ensemble cast (for whom many Groove was their first feature film) works well together, making their characters — and Harrison's scenes — entirely believable. They bring the world of the all-night warehouse dance party vividly to life; so much so that at times Groove almost feels like a documentary instead of well-structured fiction. The film isn't perfect — the story would have been a little tighter had they trimmed the cast down a bit — but it really goes where no movie has gone before, and for that it deserves all the attention it's gotten and more. Happily, it looks like Columbia agrees; the studio has released Groove on DVD in a features-packed special edition. There's a chatty, informative commentary track with Harrison, Renfrew, and director of photography Matt Irving, as well as a track with the isolated score (techno music lovers delight!), a brief behind-the-scenes featurette, seven extended and deleted scenes with optional commentary, a music video of Bedrock's "Heaven Scent," casting audtions with optional commentary, theatrical trailers, brief bios for the main cast and crew, a photo gallery, and a camera test the filmmakers used to experiment with film speed changes. Both anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and full-frame aspect ratios are available, as are Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround, French dubbing, French and English subtitles, and scene selection. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech

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