[box cover]

The Limey

Steven Soderbergh's experimental follow-up to Out of Sight makes for an engrossing — if rueful — marriage of the fish-out-of-water and thriller genres. Terence Stamp is a force of nature as Wilson, an aging British ex-con who travels to Los Angeles seeking revenge on his estranged daughter's killer. Lem Dobbs' simple, poignant script is loaded with telling juxtapositions between clashing cultures and contrasting eras, but Soderbergh's inventive direction takes it into daring territory for a film rustling at the edges of the mainstream. Taking a cue from the fractured memories of his wounded anti-hero, Soderbergh slices the narrative into fragments, jumping in a stream-of-consciousness amongst Wilson's scattered memories of his lost little girl. As Wilson becomes less disoriented by his alien surroundings and closer to finality on his murderous quest, the film straightens out, and in its linear culmination is as moving and rewarding a father-daughter story as has been told. Despite an overwhelming tendency toward the melancholy, there are also several excellent, unusual comic scenes, including Wilson's slang-infested exchange with a DEA Officer, and Nicky Katt's slimy observations on life. Also with Peter Fonda, Barry Newman, Luis Guzman, and Lesley Ann Warren. If you like Soderbergh's experimental style here, you may want to test your constitution against his funny, perplexing 1996 conundrum Schizopolis. This Artisan release features a stunning 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer (16x9 enhanced) and five — count them, five — audio tracks. Beyond the excellent DD 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Surround mixes, the disc also features a commentary by Soderbergh and Dobbs (amusingly fractured, mirroring the visual editing style), a "docu-commentary" with Stamp and other cast members interspersed with sound clips from the 1960s (and subtitled captions to ID the voices), and finally an isolated track of the music, highlighting Cliff Martinez' haunting, dissonant score. Soderbergh takes such pride in his DVDs that he also includes a video comparison of letterbox and anamorphic widescreen formats and technical information about the film's transfer. This disc may also include the most comprehensive cast and crew bios ever. Keep case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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