Motives (2004)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 29-Mar-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer
Audio Commentary-Writer And Producer
Deleted Scenes-6
Featurette-Making Of
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Ride Or Die, Sin, Trois, Trois II: Pandora's Box
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 83:26
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (37:01) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Craig Ross Jr.
Rainforest Films
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Shemar Moore
Sean Blakemore
Golden Brooks
David Collier
Vivica A. Fox
Mel Jackson
William L. Johnson
Keshia Knight Pulliam
Victoria Rowell
Joe Torry
Marian Wagner
Caryn Ward
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Jan Pomeran
Cruel Timothy

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French Audio Commentary
German Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Motives is a smart, sexy & stylish thriller, obviously made on a low budget but with high production values. This is a film produced by African American film-makers, however, it does not fit into one of the genres normally associated with African American film as it is not political or a comedy. This is mentioned during the commentary.

    Without the use of big set piece action sequences, the filmmakers have managed to produce a thriller with a good plot, excellent twists and turns and an ending that I certainly didn't guess, although the hints are there during the film if you watch closely enough. The screenplay was written by a young female African American, Kelsey Scott.

    The plot revolves around Emery Simms (Shemar Moore), a rich restaurateur in Atlanta who inherited his fortune and has a 'God amongst mortals' attitude to those around him. He believes that he can do whatever he wants and get away with it. Accordingly, he starts an affair with a young femme fatale, Allannah James (Golden Brooks) despite his beautiful wife, Constance (Viveca A. Fox) already being sick of his attitude. At the same time he is being investigated by the police in regards to a suspicious death which is related to some dodgy business deals he is trying to complete. The main cast members are rounded out by Emery's long-time friend, Brandon (Sean Blakemore), who also manages his restaurant and Allannah's ex-husband Derrick Woods (Joe Torry) who involves himself in their relationship. To explain much more of the plot would give away too much, however, I would recommend that you watch the film carefully but do NOT watch the included trailer first. It virtually gives away the ending.

    The title refers to the fact that you spend most of the time you are watching the movie questioning each character's motives for the things that they do, which do not necessarily become clear until the end credits roll (and even during the end credits in some cases). The film was quite stylishly shot including the use of fast forward, slow motion and time lapse photography.

    All of these actors do a good job of portraying their characters and all are believable in their roles, although some may feel the people involved here are all a bit too beautiful. Keisha Knight Pulliam (the youngest child on The Cosby Show) has a small cameo as Allannah's friend Gwen's room-mate although this film is a long way from the happy families in The Cosby Show.

    Minor quibbles are that the sub-plot of the government conspiracy is really not fleshed out and therefore seems superfluous and that the police officers are not very believable in their roles.

    Overall, this film is surprisingly effective, including a good script, high production values and some quite competent acting.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The video quality is excellent.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was very clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was excellent with even the darkest night scenes showing great detail unless the scene was hard to make out due a stylistic choice. During the commentary they discuss how some scenes were meant to be a little hard to make out. I noticed very light grain in one scene.

    The colour was very good throughout with all colours being well saturated and free from colour bleeding. The skin colouring was very natural.

    No artefacts of any kind were noticeable.

    The main title included subtitles in 21 languages, mostly European. Subtitles were also available in 5 languages for the commentary. I sampled some of the English subtitles and found them to be easy to read and very close to the spoken words.

    This is a RSDL dual-layered disc and the layer change is quite early on in the feature at 37:01. It is quite well placed and results in only a minor interruption.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is generally very good.

    This DVD contains five audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s, a German Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s, a French Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s, an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s and a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. I listened to the English soundtrack.    

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand, however there were a couple of occasions where I had to refer to the subtitles to pick up a word or two. Quite a lot of African American slang was used during the film.    

    There were no problems with audio sync.    

    The score of this film by Jan Pomeran & Cruel Timothy was quite good and was especially effective during the opening title sequence. The soundtrack contained a number of modern R&B tunes by lesser known artists which suited the nature of the movie.    

    The surround speakers were well used adding sound effects and music. They did not stand out but were used quite regularly.

    The subwoofer was also used quite often to add bass to the music and some sound effects.


Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menus were presented in 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced, and included music and a scene selection function.

Commentary - Writer, Kelsey Scott & Producer, Rob Hardy

    When I started to listen to this commentary I thought it was going to be very boring, really just telling us the story as it happens on screen. However, this turned out to be quite a good commentary with good interplay between the speakers and numerous insights into the plot. If you want your commentaries to be about the process of making the film this is not for you, but it is interesting nonetheless. Subtitles are available for the commentary in 5 European languages.

Deleted Scenes (6) (2:06, 1:55, 0:24, 0:43, 1:07 & 1:00)

    The first scene here is quite interesting and adds to the interaction between Emery and Allannah's friend Gwen. The second was a wise choice to not include as it gives away too much of the plot too early in the film. The others deserved their exclusion, especially the two extra scenes with the police officers, as these made me like the characters even less. These are presented in non 16x9 widescreen.

Making Of (7:43)

    This is a standard promotional piece introduced by the producers and features interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.

Trailers (1:18, 1:23, 1:30, 2:08 & 1:39)

    There are five trailers here, one for the film itself which gives away virtually the entire plot, and others for Ride or Die, Sin, Trois & Trois II - Pandora's Box, none of which I found particularly interesting.

R4 vs R1

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

    This movie is available in Region 1 on a very similar disc, so considering the PAL/NTSC differences I would recommend the Region 4.


    This movie is a smart, sexy & stylish thriller.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The disc has a good commentary and some other extras of less interest.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, May 24, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Soundtrack - REPLY POSTED
Question about soundtrack - REPLY POSTED
Motives!! -
Great movie,one of my favorites -