It's The Rage

Collector's Edition

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Audio Commentary - James Stern (Director)
Theatrical Trailer (1.85:1, non-16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0)
Featurette - The Making Of It's The Rage (13:25)
Cast & Crew Biographies
Rating ma.gif (1236 bytes)
Year Released 1999
Running Time 94:43 Minutes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director James D. Stern
Mutual Film Company
Columbia Tristar Home Video
Starring Joan Allen
Jeff Daniels
Robert Forster
Andre Braugher
Bokeem Woodbine
Anna Paquin
Case Soft Brackley
RPI $36.95 Music Mark Mothersbaugh
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9Yes.jpg (4536 bytes)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
French Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly
Action In or After Credits No
    Before I say anything else, I would like to take the time to add my complaints about the new soft Brackley case that Columbia Tristar seem to have settled upon using. There is no nice way to describe this case: it is ugly, flimsy, and a million other negative words I can think of but won't use. Considering what we are expected to pay for films on DVD, this presentation is not acceptable, and I would like to see either the old-style Brackley or Transparent Amaray case adopted promptly.

Plot Synopsis

    It's The Rage, or All The Rage as it was titled in America, is a hard film to describe in one or two words. The word comedy fails, as does the phrase black comedy, because it really doesn't seem to be all that funny. Perhaps the fact that nothing outrageous happens, and the extreme paranoia exhibited by two principal characters failed to tickle my funny bone. After a Dr. Strangelove style credit sequence, the film begins with Helen Harding (Joan Allen) waking up to the sounds of gunshots, and discovering that her husband, Warren (Jeff Daniels) has shot his business partner, Justin, dead. Warren is not the most entirely stable man in the world, and suspects that his wife is having an affair with anyone he can think of at the time, hence the shooting of Justin. The problem is, Justin and Helen really were having an affair, or so we are lead to believe, and Warren took the time to put his watch on before hearing a noise and running downstairs to investigate, as he puts it. Warren is questioned by Detective Lewis Tyler (Robert Forster) in the presence of his lawyer, Tim Sullivan (Andre Braugher), while they are observed by Detective Agee (Bokeem Woodbine).

    Tim just happens to be gay, or at least he lives with a gay lover by the name of Chris (David Schwimmer), who has become quite paranoid and unstable after a break-in. Chris has just bought a gun, and begins to suspect Tim of having an affair for no readily apparent reason. Meanwhile, Helen gets a job as an assistant to Norton Morgan (Gary Sinise), an eccentric computer genius who just happens to be paranoid and a gun owner. Tennel (Josh Brolin), the man she has replaced, gets a job as a clerk at a video store, and is smitten by Annabel Lee (Anna Paquin), a shoplifter who likes to complain about men to her pistol-packing psychotic brother, Sidney (Giovanni Ribisi), in order to set him off. Annabel starts an affair with Tim, who has also begun carrying a gun by this time. As this motley bunch of characters interweave and, in some cases, shoot one another, one is left wondering exactly what they are supposed to be laughing at. It's not that the actors are necessarily bad, except maybe for David Schwimmer, but the script really leaves a lot to be desired. Most of the story consists of missed opportunities and jokes that are, for want of a better description, culturally relevant.

    Other opinions of the film itself are somewhat divided, with 128 users on the Internet Movie Database awarding the film an average rating of six out of ten. One camp describes this film as being hard to take seriously while not being terribly funny, either, which is the opinion I agree with. Others describe it as simply not being funny or entertaining, as well as being a waste of good actors. If this film is meant to be some kind of anti-gun statement, then it misses the mark in the same way that all other such statements do, by blaming the guns rather than the people. Having said all of that, I would advise renting this movie first, as you would have to completely mad about this attempt at satire to want to invest money in owning it.

Transfer Quality


    This is yet another excellent transfer from Columbia Tristar, with very little to complain about.

    The film is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it is 16x9 Enhanced. The transfer is extremely sharp throughout, save for the credits sequence that appears to be stock footage culled from someone's home video collection, which in turn is as well-defined as you can expect from this kind of source. The shadow detail is excellent, with plenty of gradations between light and dark on offer, and everything that the director intended to be seen in night-time sequences is highly visible. There was no problem with low-level noise.

    The colour saturation of this transfer is dull for the most part, but this is more a reflection of the way the film was shot. The only sequence that allows bright, vivid colours for the transfer to capture is the wrap-up, with some exterior shots containing plenty of greens and reds. The only other shots in the film that allow for a vivid display of colours are those in Morgan's office. Having said all that, however, the transfer is an accurate reflection of what I presume the director intended the colours of the film to look like.

    MPEG artefacts were not readily apparent in the transfer, and there never seemed to be any problems with film-to-video artefacts. Film artefacts are only mildly present, with the occasional black spot or scratch on the picture.


    The audio transfer consists of three soundtracks: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1, a French dub in Dolby Digital 5.1, and an audio commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. I listened to the default English dialogue and the commentary, which I will comment about in due course (yes, you can groan now).

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand almost all of the time, even within the minor limits of David Schwimmer's mumbling. There were no perceptible problems with audio sync.

    The score music of this film is credited to Mark Mothersbaugh, with music supervision by Mary Ramos and Michelle Kuznetsky. Presumably, the latter two are responsible for the choice of contemporary numbers that appear in the film, and these make much more of an impression than any part of the score. The contemporary numbers are actually quite well chosen, with an obvious influence from Dr. Strangelove apparent in the way the songs were chosen. The score music, when it was present, failed to leave any serious impression upon me.

    The surround channels were often active to support the music and the occasional directional sound effect, such as the sound of police sirens. However, most of the soundfield is biased toward the fronts, with most of the dialogue and sound effects coming out of the stereo and center channels. Given that most of the film is heavily dependent on dialogue, this is acceptable even if it is a little disappointing. The subwoofer was intermittently present to support gunshots and the lower registers of the music, but there is also little demand from the film itself for the LFE channel's use.



    The menu is static and 16x9 Enhanced. The cursor is hard to identify, but otherwise the menu is fairly easy to navigate.

Audio Commentary - James Stern (Director)

    James Stern talks constantly about what inspired him to make this film, the technical considerations behind each scene, and what each actor brought to the film. The commentary is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo with the original English soundtrack mixed at a low level behind Stern's voice. The commentary reveals a lot about the making of the film, but the interest factor is limited by the film itself.

Theatrical Trailer (1:51)

    This trailer succeeds in making the film out to be more entertaining than it really is. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the trailer is not 16x9 Enhanced. The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is functional, with no apparent problems.

Featurette - The Making Of It's The Rage (13:25)

    Presented Full Frame with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, this is basically an extended theatrical trailer with cast interviews inserted for good measure.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    Biographies for Joan Allen, Andre Braugher, Jeff Daniels, and director James Stern are present. They are reasonably informative and easy to read.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 1 and Region 4 versions of this disc appear to be identically featured.


    It's The Rage is a failure as a comedy, although it might be worth watching once to measure your personal reaction to the film.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are passable.

Ratings (out of 5)

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 © Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
December 8, 2000 
Review Equipment
DVD Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm) in 16:9 and 4:3 modes, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer