The Hot Spot (1990)

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Released 8-Jun-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 124:33
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Dennis Hopper

Starring Don Johnson
Virginia Madsen
Jennifer Connelly
Charles Martin Smith
William Sadler
Jerry Hardin
Barry Corbin
Leon Rippy
Jack Nance
Virgil Frye
John Hawker
Margaret Bowman
Debra Cole
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $19.95 Music John Lee Hooker
Jack Nitzsche

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish 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 for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    The Hot Spot is an entertaining drama which plays homage to the American Film Noir of the 1950s. Directed effectively by Hollywood bad boy Dennis Hopper, the film stars Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen and Jennifer Connolley.

    Johnson plays Harry Madox, a grifter / con artist who seeks refuge in a small Texas town. He immediately gets a job as a used car salesman and begins an affair with the boss' wife, played by Virginia Madsen. Always on the lookout for his next big score, Harry sets his sights on the local bank. The only thing stopping him from committing the perfect crime is the manipulative Madsen and the used car lot's young female receptionist Gloria Harper, played by the alluring Connolley, who has fallen for Harry's slick veneer. With the police closing in, Harry's choices are becoming limited, and his next move may decide his ultimate fate.

    The Hot Spot is a slow burning drama that relishes the opportunity to develop its characters. With the exception of Connolly's character, who is relatively innocent in nature, the rest of the cast are fairly unscrupulous. Don Johnson and Virginia Madsen's performances are unquestionably the film's highlight. Johnson in particular delivers a well crafted characterisation that is miles apart from that of James Crockett, the smooth Detective he made famous in the long running series Miami Vice.

    As one of the great character actors, Dennis Hopper obviously realises that the strength of this particular genre belongs with the narrative and performances, so it is not surprising that as the film's director he takes great pains to establish story and characterisation. The Hot Spot is a well made film that deserves a look.

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Transfer Quality


    The Hot Spot has been presented in its original aspect ratio of 1:85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen viewing.

    The transfer is relatively sharp with some minor reservations. There is a constant although minor edge enhancement throughout, but it is not overly noticeable. Shadow details are reasonable with strong black levels and there is very little in the way of grain. I did not detect any low level noise problems.

    Colours remain natural, but have become slightly muted with age.

    The transfer does contain minor film artefacts, but they are small and not intrusive.

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


    The film has five audio tracks in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. The tracks are in English, Spanish, German, French and Italian.

    Dialogue is clear with no audible dropout. There are no signs of audio sync deficiencies.

   The film's music is well geared to the story's atmosphere and supports the on-screen performances well.

    Surround channel usage is minimal, but more than acceptable for a film of this type. There are few directional effects, but the ones found are well placed. The rear channels mainly consist of background noise and film score.

    The subwoofer does an adequate job of supporting the surround mix.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Theatrical Trailer

    A non-anamorphic trailer.

R4 vs R1

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

   All versions of this DVD available are currently essentially the same.


    The Hot Spot is an enjoyable drama with some well rounded performances and a satisfactory conclusion. The disc has a solid audio / visual presentation with no extras. For a budget release its not too bad.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
If for no other reason... -
One of the best neo-noir movies -