Light Sleeper (Blu-ray) (1992)

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Released 3-Oct-2018

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Audio Commentary-Film critics Emma Westwood and Sally Christie
Featurette-Q&A: Cinematographer Ed Lachman and Director Paul Schrader
Theatrical Trailer-
Trailer-VHS promo
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 103:21
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Paul Schrader
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Willem Dafoe
Susan Sarandon
David Clennon
Dana Delany
Jane Adams
Victor Garber
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Michael Been


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 mono
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Forty year old John LeTour (Willem Dafoe) is anxious about his future; now clean from drug addiction he has for years been dealing / delivering drugs on the New York mean streets for the glamorous Ann (Susan Sarandon) and her gay business partner Robert (David Clennon). This is the only life John has known and despite his business he is a caring man, even to the extent of refusing to supply drugs to an old client who is heading for a potential overdose. However Ann has decided to retire from the drug business and John does not know what else he can do. His life becomes more complicated when he runs into Marianne (Dana Delany), a woman he had been in a deep relationship with four years earlier when they were both on drugs, and whom John still loves. Marianne is also now clean and is back in New York to see her dying mother and her younger sister Randi (Jane Adams). John is hopeful of restarting their relationship but the death of Marianne’s mother throws her into a crisis that will have an impact on everyone.

     Light Sleeper is written and directed by Paul Schrader, at this stage in his career better known as the writer of Taxi Driver (1976) and American Gigolo (1980). He has put together a top notch cast in what is a gritty, character driven drama. Willem Dafoe carries the film. He is impressive, both intense and vulnerable in a role in which there are no histrionics, his uncertainty portrayed without a lot of dialogue. This is a younger Dafoe; he is still going strong and has currently 126 credits on the IMDb, including three Oscar nominations. Susan Sarandon has less to do but adds a degree of gravitas to the role and the scene where she faces down two men is guns is priceless; she is also still working with currently 153 credits on the IMDb, 5 Oscar nominations and one win for Dead Man Walking (1995).

     With this cast, a good script and filmed on location in New York Light Sleeper is always compelling as the story slowly unfolds. There is a sense of inevitability and tension as LeTour makes choices about his future and those he cares for which leads to the explosive climax. This is another examination by Schrader of characters alienated from the American dream although 15 years after he wrote Taxi Driver he is older and ends Light Sleeper on an optimistic tone in a scene which, I feel, is rather at odds with the gritty tone of the rest of the film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Light Sleeper is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Shot on film, mostly at night on the streets of New York, Light Sleeper, presents a wonderful depth of field allowing all the shadows and detail in the darkness to be clearly seen. The lights of the city display clearly without banding. Colours are natural, although other than in a nightclub scene with some strong reds and a green scene, they are not vibrant. Skin tones are fine, brightness and contrast is consistent.

     There are a small specks throughout the film but nothing serious or distracting.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio is English DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono. The film was released theatrically with a mono audio.

     This is a film where the dialogue is naturalistic, sometimes juxtaposed over other dialogue, so it is sometimes hard to hear cleanly although the sense is clear and there are the subtitles. Effects such as rain, engines, voices in the club and gunshots were decent enough. The excellent score by Michael Been came through clearly. It is a moody and melancholy score, a combination of jazz, orchestral and some songs which blended beautifully with the visuals.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
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Extras

Audio Commentary

     Film critics Emma Westwood and Sally Christie provide a non-stop, chatty commentary. They talk about Paul Schrader’s background and influences, including film noir, the interconnections between his films, the music and composer Michael Been, the film’s themes and the importance of particular scenes while they also identify cast members and provide information about their previous career and subsequent career. This is a recent commentary as they mention films made in 2018.

Q&A with Cinematographer Ed Lachman and Director Paul Schrader (30:42)

     This is fairly old and looks as if it was shot using a hand held video camera from the audience as the angle stays the same focusing on the two men. The footage is a bit hazy and there is a hum on the audio; Ed Lachman is quite hard to hear which does not matter that much as Paul Schrader does most of the talking. Their answers cover the genesis of the film, the music, the style of the film, influences and how Schrader considers the central characters in Taxi Driver (1976), American Gigolo (1980), Raging Bull (1980) and Light Sleeper to be aspects of the same character.

Trailer (1:58)

VHS promo (1:51)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This Australian released Blu-ray of Light Sleeper is the only one listed on Amazon.com at present.

Summary

     Light Sleeper has not received as much notice as some of the other films Paul Schrader has written but for fans of the director or the stars this is another gritty and compelling character study of a man clinging to his past and anxious about an uncertain future on the mean streets of New York.

     The video and the audio is fine. The extras are few but reasonable.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, November 23, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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