Life of Crime (Blu-ray) (2013)
|Category||Caper||Featurette-Making Of-Life of Crime|
|Year Of Production||2013|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Daniel Schechter|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
It seems to be a given that any film based on the works of recently deceased novelist Elmore Leonard will be worth watching. After all Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Jackie Brown and the TV series Justified are all high-quality entertainment, combining crime and comedy with a good deal of style.
Life of Crime is based on a 1970s novel by Leonard called Switch. Apparently there were plans to film it in the 80s but by that time the film Ruthless People had been released, which features a fairly similar plot. It is interesting to note that even now some IMDb readers are critical of this film for copying Ruthless People, not realising that the Leonard novel proceeded that well-known film.
Two low level criminals get some information that Frank Dawson (Tim Robbins), a wealthy property developer, is actually illegally squirrelling away enormous amounts of money in a hidden bank account. They form a plan to kidnap Frank's wife Mickey (Jennifer Aniston) and extort $1 million from him. The criminals, Louis (John Hawkes) and Ordell (yaasin bey, the artist formerly known as Mos Def) figure it will be an easy job. They will put Mickey up at a friend's house and wait for the panic stricken Frank to pay the money. Of course, the best laid plans always seem to screw up. Frank is planning to divorce Mickey and has taken off to Bermuda with his mistress Melanie (Isla Fisher). He plans to put in the divorce papers while he is away.
Melanie turns out to be a wheeler and dealer of her own and suddenly there are a whole nest of characters trying to work different angles to secure Frank's money. In the meantime Louis and Mickey have become attracted to each other and their relationship is another spanner in the works. A gentleman admirer of Mickey (Will Forte, so good in Nebraska) is another crazy cog in the wheel.
One of the joys of seeing a film version of this novel is connecting the dots between this film and others based on the Leonard universe. Fans of Jackie Brown will realise that Ordell was the gun dealer played by Samuel L Jackson, Louis the ex-con played by Robert De Niro and Melanie the beach bunny played by Bridget Fonda. There is, however, a large gap between the time period of both novels, leaving unsaid how the characters from this film ended up as they are in Jackie Brown.
Life of Crime is a decent Friday night film however short of being admitted into the pantheon of great Leonard adaptations. The characters are all fine but there is something missing in the script and direction that gives the classic Leonard films their snap. This is a little underwhelming but still worth a watch.
Life of Crime was shot on high-definition digital video and comes to Blu-ray in a 2.35:1 transfer consistent with the original cinema aspect ratio.
The transfer is sharp with close-ups revealing a great level of detail in facial features.
The flesh tones are accurate.
Describing the visual qualities of the film is difficult however as it is all bathed in a 70s glow of yellows and browns. It is certainly accurate to the era.
There are no technical problems with the transfer. The colours are stable and, as said, bold throughout.
There are no subtitles.
Life of Crime carries a DTS HD master Audio English soundtrack in 5.1 surround.
The soundtrack does a fine job of conveying the dialogue which is easy to hear throughout, with one exception. That exception is yaasin bey, who is somewhat of a bugbear for me. Throughout the various movies in which he has featured I have always had difficulty deciphering his dialogue due to a persistent mumble. I found that a real problem in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and in this film I also struggled to pick up the dialogue where he was involved. Maybe it's just me…
The soundtrack is composed of lots of groovy 70s hits giving the film a touch of funk. The surround sound is pretty immersive though the sub-woofer doesn't have much to do.
There are no technical problems with the soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
The only extra with the Blu-ray is a making of featurette. It contains short interview materials with the cast and crew. At 12 minutes, however, it is simply too short to be useful.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region A release scores better in the extras department with three additional features:
For fans of the film, buy the Region A.
Fans of Aniston and fans of Elmore Leonard novels will perhaps get more out of this film than the casual viewer. It is entertaining throughout however fall short of the greatness of Leonard at his best.
The Blu-ray is of good quality and sound and vision terms. The only extra is a little superfluous.
|DVD||Cambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Pioneer SC-LX 81 7.1|
|Speakers||Aaron ATS-5 7.1|