In the Shadows (2000)

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Released 16-Apr-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 104:49 (Case: 101)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ric Roman Waugh
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Matthew Modine
James Caan
Joey Lauren Adams
Lillo Brancato
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Roy Ageloff
Antoni Corone
Scott Waugh
Val Avery
Jeff Chase
Joe Candelora
Duke Valenti
Kava Stewartson
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $19.95 Music Adam Gorgoni


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

In the Shadows has an interesting premise but unfortunately is executed in quite average fashion. Despite the cast of Matthew Modine, James Caan, Joey Lauren Adams, Lillo Brancato and Cuba Gooding Jr. you will most likely find this title on the bottom shelves of your video store. In the Shadows was written and directed by stuntman Ric Roman Waugh. This is his second feature film.

The plot of In the Shadows sees Eric, a mafia hit man played by a reserved Matthew Modine, on the trail of Lance Huston, a stunt coordinator played by James Caan. The reason Huston is Eric's next assignment is because Jimmy Pierazzi of a renowned mafia family (Lillo Brancato) secretly had a life as a stuntman and unfortunately died on a film set for which Huston was responsible - the Pierazzi family want to avenge his death. Eric travels to Miami and tries to get to Huston through his daughter Clarissa played by Joey Lauren Adams.

Everything is going to plan but then something happens - it seems Eric is in fact befriending his target and finds himself doing just as his friend Jimmy did, becoming a stuntman and enjoying being close to death. Even more so, Eric begins to fall for Clarissa.

This is the life Eric has dreamed of but the Mafia soon find out their cold hearted killer has turned soft and seek out to do Eric's assignment for him. Furthermore it is revealed Huston was not responsible for Jimmy's death and Eric has to decide what he should do and how he should protect Lance and Clarissa. There are two other sub plots running simultaneously. One involves Jimmy's double crossing deals with a corrupt FBI agent played by Cuba Gooding Jr who the mafia want dead and the other involves Clarissa and her profession as a nurse for cancer patients.

There are a number of things which let the film down. The production looks like a low budget CSI episode, and the plot is quite convoluted. While Modine does his best with the role, he isn't well suited to the role of a hit man who wants release from his restrictive life. Caan, Adams, and Brancato are all fine in their supporting roles and Gooding Jr does a lot with a very minor role. The ending of the film is unconventional but expected. If anything, this film should be commended for trying to remain unique in the genre of an action-thriller but the film falls short due to the conventional execution of the script by an inexperienced director. What is shown well in the film is the recreation of stunt scenes, something Ric Roman Waugh knows well and brings to the screen with enthusiasm and knowledge. Ultimately this is not a good film but if you want to watch a trashy B grade film which is highly implausible and features an A cast with B actors, In The Shadows might prove to be a good night's entertainment.

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Transfer Quality

Video

Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1, although not 16x9 enhanced, the transfer isn't up to standard. The main offender is MPEG artefacting which is most apparent in the darker scenes, especially the opening sequence which employs the use of black, titanium blue and white. Due to this the picture is soft throughout the course of the feature, although the colours are well represented. There is also some minor grain present on the print. Overall In The Shadows has received a less then average presentation on DVD despite being a recent film.

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

Audio

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, like the video, isn't up to standard and suffers from poor mixing during the final sequence. Despite this the dialogue remains audible during most of the film. Only during the two stunt sequences does the soundtrack use the surrounds to good effect. Otherwise, the scenes are overlaid with the usual suspense/action score. Overall, the soundtrack did not receive the treatment it deserved, especially given this is a more recent film.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer

R4 vs R1

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

The R4 and R1 releases are identical.

Summary

For a film with an estimated budget of $10,000,000 USD, it seems most of it went on the major action scenes in the film and the actors' salaries. The film takes a different approach to the action thriller genre but unfortunately ends up much like its counterparts. The DVD is of very average quality which is a shame as it hinders the viewer from enjoying the feature.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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