Twisted Studio: Paramount Year: 2004 Rated: R Length: 96 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, French; English Dolby Surround, Commentary track English subtitles; Closed Captioned in English Special Features: Commentary by Philip Kaufman, 3 Featurettes, Deleted Scenes SRP: $19.99 USD Release Date: August 31, 2004 Here is proof that you can take a first rate director (Philip Kaufman), excellent actors (Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, and David Strathairn), and if you have a second-rate script, you end up with a second-rate film - even with all that star power. Ashley Judd is Jessica Sheppard, a tough, alcoholic San Francisco homicide detective, investigating a serial killer where the evidence keeps pointing to her. Judd’s character is pure caricature, poorly and shallowly written. I didn’t buy Judd in the role for a second... she’s the female version of Al Pacino’s character from Sea of Love, a film which parallels Twisted in many respects. The film relies on contrived circumstances, provides no real surprises, and the climax is just silly and anti-climactic - what with the bad guy yammering on long enough to get caught in the end, loving to hear himself talk, instead of taking care of business when he had the chance. Trust me, I gave nothing away, here. Even if you don’t guess the identity of the killer, you know that it will end in that cliched way, just because the whole film is a cliché. Well, at least there’s some good music by Mark Isham, and the photography by Peter Deming gives a great film-noir feel, though the film is in color. I’ll save you some time. Sea of Love is a much better film. Video The film is in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and is anamorphically enhanced. The picture is very sharp, with no obvious sharpening artifacts. Grain is occasionally present as a stylistic choice. Colors are accurate and well saturated. The image features deep, inky blacks while maintaining definition. Contrast is very good, with an accurate white point. This is a clean transfer that shows off some good photography. Audio Offered up are Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in both English and French, as well as an English Surround track. The English DD 5.1 track features excellent frequency response. Music sounds very open and clear. Sound effects are well realized in an engaging soundfield. The scenes on the wet San Francisco streets are well done, setting you in the middle of the action. LFE is just right, providing punch, but not too much power. Special Features Commentary by Director Philip Kaufman I listened to about 15 minutes of commentary. It seems that Mr. Kaufman spends about 80% of the time interpreting the story for us, but not letting us in on production details. Perhaps it gets better... but I prefer a commentary to avoid story interpretations (I can do that myself). What a commentary should do is give the viewer information that you can’t necessarily derive from what you see and hear in the film itself. There are some tidbits on locations and minor actors, but it stops well short of being an informative commentary. Think of this one as Cliff’s Notes. Creating a Twisted Web of Intrigue (10:59) A discussion of the genesis of Twisted, from script development, character development, shooting, etc. Includes interview clips with Philip Kaufman, Arnold Kopelson, Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, and David Strathairn. Pretty standard piece, and not terribly exciting. The Inspectors: Clues to the Crime (10:00) An interview with real life female SFPD detective Maureen D’Amico, who discusses her role in making the investigative scenes more realistic. Included are comments from Judd and Kaufman. Another interview with Dr. Forrest Fulton, SFPD Technical Advisor - Behavioral Science. He discusses David Strathairn’s role as the psychologist n the film. San Francisco: Scene of the Crime (6:56) Philip Kaufman walks us through the locations in San Francisco and talks about the ambiance of the city. Also includes comments from some of the cast. Cutting Room Floor A number of scenes and scene extensions, totaling over 16 minutes, can be found here, on the cutting room floor. A nice feature is that you can choose to play these individually, or all at once, with or without director commentary. Previews Final Thoughts I can’t recommend the film, but the transfer is nicely done. If you have seen the film and know you want it, you won’t be disappointed in the quality of the audio and video. The extras, however, are on the thin side.