Behind the White Line

An apathetic Grimm (Bill Murray) wants out of New York. Quick Change, via its charmingly goofy caricature of the city, makes it clear why.

Murray is right for this role as a hard cynic who despises everything, but he especially hates the oddballs who live in NYC. The issue is such people won’t let anyone leave; that’s Quick Change’s setup that sees Murphy’s Law applied to a perfect getaway plot. The nice guy willing to give Murray directions turns out to be a car thief. There’s the idiot with a guitar who can’t fit on the bus. Two men joust on bikes in a park. The only available cab driver speaks no English and doesn’t understand “airport.” This while police close in on figuring out the scheme, those minutes ticking away, the close calls growing.

Quick Change lacks the pressured pacing it needs

Credit to the script too because the cabbie (Tony Shalhoub) knows the truth, but the naive cops don’t even know what language he’s speaking to hire an interpreter. What’s easily a crass joke about foreigners turns into a smart commentary on big city ignorance. And Murray? He hates everybody, from the city workers unable to figure out where the expressway is to the elderly woman holding up the convenience store line.

Much as this captures the stuck up New Yorker, Murray’s still likable, living the fantasy of saying whatever and doing whatever, eventually – and smartly – brought back to hero status by girlfriend Phyllis (Geena Davis). Murray plays the usual Bill Murray part, yet there’s enough attention given to these characters as to balance his curmudgeon gruff and charming street smarts. There’s a chunk of Ghostbusters Peter Venkman in this part, where Venkman was an arrogant sexist, but also the world’s savior by the end. His personality acts like a cover.

Great as Murray is though, Quick Change lacks the pressured pacing it needs. There’s excessive dead air for characters trying to escape the city in a rush. The best sequence involves an aggravated bus driver who demands exact change and Murray panicking in a long line to break a bill. That segment layers itself, with Shalhoub knowing the truth, police all over, Davis waiting on the bus, and an agonizingly slow receipt popping from a cash register. That’s the cross-cutting mania Quick Change needed more often to sell its stressful journey to freedom.

Quick Change Blu-ray screen shot

Video

What’s evident immediately is Quick Change’s incredible color. Intensity in the primaries make Murray’s clown suit glow. It’s borderline too much, like being in a candy store. Flesh tones liven up, certainly more natural than most other hues. Police uniform blues sparkle as do other clothes. Shots outside carry over siren lights, food cart umbrellas, and more.

A recent master (based on looks alone), grain structure resolves beautifully. Not the sharpest, but resolution makes the imagery strongly textured. Crowd shots capably resolve everyone gawking, while in close, facial definition looks sensational. It’s a pleasing clean-up too, leaving behind only a handful of specks.

Like the color, contrast excels. Strong sunlight peers in through bank windows. Even interiors show impressive brightness, backed by prominent, deep shadows. It’s an expertly calibrated effort.

Audio

Stereo effects feature prominently where possible. Vehicles bounce between speakers, and even the light score splits the mix in two.

Overall fidelity doesn’t fall off track; it’s totally pristine. Music filters into the low-end, adding a bump to a track primarily driven by treble.

Extras

A trailer, nothing else.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Quick Change
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Movie

Quick Change uses Bill Murray’s cynical side to perfection even if it lacks the pace needed to sell its escape movie comedy.

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