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Steven Soderberg
George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Dennis Farina, Albert Brooks
Scott Frank

A career bank robber breaks out of jail and shares a moment of mutual attraction with a US Marshal he has kidnapped.
Box Office:
Budget $48 million.
Opening weekend $12.02 million on 2107 screens.
Domestic gross $37.339 million.
Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 123 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 3/1/2011

• Audio Commentary by director Steven Soderbergh and writer Scott Frank
• "Inside Out of Sight" Documentary
• Deleted Scenes


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Out of Sight [Blu-Ray] (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 24, 2016)

After the TV series ER made him famous, it still took George Clooney a while to become a true movie star. Most of his early efforts weren’t very good, but he finally made a terrific movie in 1998, one that appeared destined to grant George some leading man cachet at last: Out of Sight.

This one had everything going for it: strong acting, sharp directing, and a terrific script. Universal released Out of Sight at an unusual time: the middle of June, a point at which teen-oriented action films dominate the schedule. Clearly they attempted counter-programming of the sort that boosted films like Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan over the top. Release an “adult” film when everything else is for kids, and the grownups flock to it because they have nowhere else to go.

I guess the adults must have found somewhere else to go, because very few of them headed to see Out of Sight. After a fairly brief run in theaters, the film wound up with a total US gross of about $37 million. Even in 1998, that was pretty weak.

Admittedly, no one thought Out of Sight would do Armageddon-type business, so it's not like $37 million was a complete failure. However, considering the strength of the film, it should have done better. In addition to being witty, clever, and well realized, Out of Sight has two things going for it that are almost impossible to find in movies: subtlety and real sex appeal.

Career criminal Jack Foley (Clooney) attempts to go straight, but he can’t handle “normal life”. Inevitably, Foley winds up back in prison, but he stages an escape along with some partners.

This goes well enough, but a snarl occurs. When Jack and pal/driver Buddy (Ving Rhames) encounter US Marshal Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez), they take her captive.. This leads to a complicated relationship in which Sisco tries to track Jack and the other escapees – all while she and Jack fall for each other.

Whether a filmmaker is a critic's darling like Barry Levinson or a so-called pandermeister like Michael Bay, many directors have one thing in common: they tend to really hammer home their ideas and points. You're not leaving that theater until they've repeatedly pummeled you with their themes.

That was not the case with the work Steven Soderbergh did in Out of Sight. He painted with a much defter stroke than the usual splatters on the canvas.

For example, throughout the film we witness how difficult it can be for a woman to make it in a man's world, as demonstrated by the experiences of Karen Sisco. While many films would shout this idea at you and make it the focus of the film, it's not that way here; it actually takes repeated viewings for the concept to really seep through and make an impact.

One positive aspect of the film that was also subtle but won’t require additional viewings to be noticed was the strong chemistry between the leads. Clooney and Lopez really worked well together; it didn't take plot devices for the audience to find their relationship believable. Again, all of that was handled subtly; even their one sex scene was presented fairly modestly and seemed almost old-fashioned.

So why didn't this movie make it at the box office? I think one strong reason stemmed from pathetic marketing. Universal seemed uncertain of how to sell the film - thriller? comedy? action? romance? - so the terrible US trailer succeeded only in making the movie look like a half-assed action flick with comedic overtones, like something Stallone would’ve done at the time.

Audiences didn't know what to make of it, and I guess positive word of mouth and good reviews couldn't overcome that. Thank God for home video, the format that offers renewed life for films that got lost in the box office shuffle. Out of Sight definitely deserved a better fate.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

Out of Sight appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a generally satisfying transfer.

Overall sharpness looked good. Only minor softness appeared – excluding intentionally loose shots, of course – so most of the flick was concise and accurate. Jagged edges and shimmering caused no concerns, but I saw light edge haloes occasionally. Source flaws weren’t a factor; outside of a speck or two, this was a clean presentation.

Steven Soderbergh often favors overblown colors, and that came across during Out of Sight. Most of the time the hues kept from becoming too saturated, but on occasion, they seemed a bit too heavy. It became tough to figure out how much of this was intentional; was Clooney’s skin really supposed to look orange in the opening scene?

Despite some questionable shots like that, the colors remained fine within the film’s design. The disc did handle colored lighting well, however; for example, the red tones seen during the trunk scene appeared tight. Black levels were nicely deep and rich, while shadow detail appeared decent. Some low-light scenes could be a bit murky, but most were fine. This wasn’t a killer presentation, but it usually worked well.

In addition, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Out of Sight offered a consistently solid auditory environment. Most of the time it featured a fairly strong forward bias. The front channels showed good stereo presence for the music and also added a nice sense of atmosphere. Elements blended together cleanly and also panned convincingly. Most of the time the audio remained ambient, but it created a good sense of place.

Surround usage seemed modest but effective as well. More active scenes - mainly those that involved gunfire - came to life well, as the blasts flew all around the spectrum. In addition, quieter sequences such as the one in the trunk also demonstrated a fine sense of atmosphere. The soundfield won’t dazzle you, but it worked well as a whole.

Audio quality was positive. Speech sounded natural and distinct, with no problems related to intelligibility or edginess. Music showed clean highs and reasonably good bass, though I felt the latter could have been a bit deeper. Effects were also clear and bright, and they lacked noticeable distortion or other flaws. Again, the audio for Out of Sight didn’t stand out, but it accomplished its goals.

How did the picture and sound of this Blu-Ray compare with those of the 1999 DVD? Audio was a bit bolder and livelier, and visuals showed improvements. The Blu-ray looked better defined and cleaner than the DVD, so this was a good step up in quality.

The Blu-ray provides most of the same extras from the 1999 DVD, and that includes the terrific audio commentary from director Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Frank. The two were recorded together for this running, screen-specific track. It's quite easy-going and relaxed, with an atmosphere of two buddies getting together to watch and discuss their film.

It also provides an informative and relatively detailed over-view of the creative processes behind the flick. We learn about changes between script and book, various technical processes, and quite a number of other elements. Overall, this is a very entertaining and useful commentary.

Next we discover Inside Out of Sight, a 25-minute, two-second documentary about the film. It combines the standard mix of movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews with principals. We hear from Soderbergh, Frank, novelist Elmore Leonard, and actors George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Albert Brooks, and Steve Zahn.

Though “Inside” lacks depth, it still packs some good info into its relatively brief running time. In addition to some goofing from the cast, we learn about a variety of issues, with a particular focus on the trunk scene, color schemes, and character development. Some of the material repeats from the audio commentary, but it remains a good little program.

Of the remaining supplements, the deleted scenes are the most compelling. The 11 segments run as a continuous piece that lasts 22 minutes and 14 seconds; the scenes themselves go from 52 seconds to six minutes, 11 seconds. No chapter stops appear here, which makes it hard to access favorite scenes.

Referring to these as "deleted scenes" seems somewhat misleading, as most of them offer extensions of scenes that appear in the final film. In addition, we have an alternate take of the trunk scene that receives mention in the audio commentary. All in all, the extended scenes are interesting to watch and they include some good character information as well as some entertaining bits.

The Blu-ray drops some extras from the DVD. It omits text components as well as the movie’s trailer.

While not Steven Soderbergh’s most celebrated movie, Out of Sight may well be his best. The movie offers strong characters whose interaction makes the flick a consistent delight, and it paints them in such a way to make them more complex and intriguing than usual. The Blu-ray delivers generally good picture and audio along with a few interesting supplements highlighted by a terrific commentary. Out of Sight remains a fine film and the Blu-ray represents it reasonably well.

To rate this film visit the original review of OUT OF SIGHT