It’s not every day that I get a chance to review a film like Sex, Lies, and Videotape, obviously not being my favorite genre nor a film that will easily attract my attention I am in favor of surprises. This was the film that placed Director Steven Soderbergh in the eyes of the world. The movie won the Cannes film festival’s Palme d’Or and made Soderbergh the youngest director to win it. Did I mention he wrote the film in 8 days in a yellow notepad? These are definitely some interesting facts. Moving on, let’s see how the Blu-ray fairs out.
Most independent films are completely overlooked without a chance for appreciation. Often we find ourselves judging a book by its cover, as we like to say, and most of the time simply refusing to take a look. Yes, I fall under this category from time to time, but is not necessarily by preference, but by the lack of knowledge of the independent film industry. It’s easier to simply take a look at the big blockbusters that have huge advertising campaigns. However, a lot of films fail to deal with certain topics in a most repressive manner, this is not the case with Sex, Lies, and Videotape.
The film follows the story of 4 people: John (Peter Gallagher), Ann (Andie MacDowell), Graham (James Spader), and Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo). Ann and John are a troubled married couple who at the arrival of Graham, one of John’s old college buddies, the focus of the story. Ann finds out that Graham has been taping women having conversations about their sexual experiences and fantasies on tape, being in shocked Ann leaves Graham’s apartment. Cynthia finds herself intrigued by what had happened to Ann that she decides to find out what happened at Graham’s apartment. At this point in the film the events that follow lead the way for the rest of the film. Ann finds a secret hidden by her sister and John at the end finds himself In a position some may say that was coming.
What makes this film appealing to people is the boldness that used to handle the main topic, sex. This is the hardest part to talk about Soderbergh’s film since most people feel uncomfortable talking or reading about it. However, the film handles the topic intelligently with a great script and not to mention the performances by the cast as impeccable. The film is interesting and doesn’t fall short on the expectations. The film placed the independent genre on the map and if you are a film aficionado you won’t be missing this title.
Sex, Lies, and Videotape arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 1.85:1. The film appears to be a decent upgrade over the DVD and even over the previous Criterion Laserdisc. The film retains that dullness look that other versions had. There’s some detail present throughout especially during the close up shots. There’s grainy present throughout the film and it can be heavy at times. There’s artifacts detected as well, but I feel that these are the product of the original film, left untouched to retain the original look. I suppose this is much better approach than letting the DNR scrub the details out. This is a decent transfer.
Sex, Lies, and Videotape arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio soundtrack. This is a film that relies heavily on the fronts, but rest assure because the audio track handles the dialog driven film with ease. There isn’t really much work for the rears other than the opening music scene. There is nothing wrong with the audiotrack is that there is not much to really go on, but it easily excelled when needed.
There are not a whole lot of extras included in this release. The audio commentaries remain the same from other versions which is kind of a downer. Just take a look below and see for yourself what’s inside the disc.
Audio Commentary – features Writer/Director Steven Soderbergh and Neil Labute in a very interesting commentary dealing with the challenges, story behind the making of the film, etc. Worth a watch.
20 Year Reunion At The Sundance Film Festival – this supplement features a quick look at the actors and filmmakers having anecdotes about the film.
Deleted Scene – watch a deleted scene that was cut from the final version of the film. There’s also a separate option to play this scene with Steven Soderbergh commentating.
Steven Soderbergh On The Trailers – the director of the film talks about the trailers behind Sex, Lies, and Videotape.
Steven Soderbergh On Sex, Lies, and Videotape – the director talks about the film, the ideology, the challenges, and his final opinion.
Notes On Remastering and Restoration – a quick overview of the process behind restoring and remastering the film.
Previews – this features some of the releases by Sony like Obsessed, A River Runs Through It, Damages – Season 1. Casino Royale, and The Da Vinci Code.
BD-Live – access extra content via your Profile 2.0 compatible devices.
Sex, Lies, and Videotape helped set the independent film industry on the map; it is a very interesting film that deserves the praise it receives. Personally I found it interesting, but I will say that it will be hard for the younger generation to find this appealing. For those looking to upgrade their previous versions it certainly is a decent upgrade and the supplements have remained the same for the most part. For most people I recommend a rent before a purchase.