Foreplay in the Trunk
George Clooney represents an example of perfect Hollywood casting. Out of Sight needed a vintage screen glamour that gave crime an allure, even a fictional attraction. Tommy gun-toting gangsters were presented as anti-heroes; Out of Sight turns Clooney into a magnet for illegal luxury.
Out of Sight doesn’t make crime morally okay, but straddles that line enough so Clooney’s Jack Foley never falls into clumsy villainy. Softened by comedy, Foley becomes the intellectual amid idiots, the calm and sure-handed against the moronic and short-fused. Although in his element robbing the rich, Foley turns into the fish-out-of-water, swimming alongside dopes who never consider consequences, or are so dense, they steal steaks instead of diamonds.
Out of Sight gets better on repeat viewings
Out of Sight gets better on repeat viewings
With immediacy, Out of Sight establishes a cool factor. Clooney stands in a medium shot after being enraged by unseen events, flicking a lighter to life with a finger snap. That’s all this character needs to be irresistible, and to understand the eventual infatuation he shares with a US Marshall, Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez).
The script fills with lines made for the movies. Nothing is ever direct, tension bubbles under (not on) the surface, and smiles indicate nervous energy. Everyone thinks they’re smarter than the other person in dodging truth. It’s softly hilarious, with a comedic tic based on snappy timing, easy to miss on the first watch. Out of Sight gets better on repeat viewings.
Central to the plot is the romance as Foley and Sisco illogically come together over their willingness to ignore the legal realities that separate them. Sisco becomes playfully dishonest, unwilling to admit feelings for a shrewd bank robber; Foley’s lust is instantaneous. Their relationship builds on respect though, Sisco for Foley’s brazen actions, Foley for Sisco’s tough woman exterior (and choice to bend rules around him).
Trapped in the cramped trunk of a car, Sisco bemoans the implausibility witnessed in movie romances. “It’s too fast,” she says, saying aloud what the audience already thinks, and what she already knows. Out of Sight uses this energy, slowly doling out careful laughs in what feels like stalled pacing, but leading toward a grand pay-off, flush with tension and release.
An aggressive Dolby Vision pass brings Out of Sight into the modern tech era. It’s immediately intense, giving this late ’90s production significant energy. Brightness peaks high and avoids clipping. Equally impressive black levels add the spark to create the impressive dimensionality.
Other than the slightest ringing, Kino’s presentation remains pure. Well managed encoding preserves the film stock, and that deserves kudos as Out of Sight’s source sports a thick grain structure. That keeps the detail flying by, texture evident in droves. Close-ups push facial detail constantly. Exteriors and their sharpness spare nothing, resolution spectacular, using the full capabilities of 4K.
Appreciating warmth, a refreshed color grading pumps up flesh tones to a hefty orange. This however does press the primaries into action, especially the ridiculously vivid reds. Other primaries stand out too, not lost due to the modern processes. Once into Detroit, the blues take hold, the same effect as the amber hues did in Miami; it’s equally bold.
Stereo and 5.1 DTS-HD are on offer. Stick with the surround track. A nice split keeps small details moving through the soundstage, whether it’s a waiter’s footsteps passing off screen or a car panning across the fronts. The jazzy score pleasingly bounces around, jumping to the surrounds as much as the stereos. Prison crowds fill each speaker.
Smooth, jazzy music strums into the low-end to engage the subwoofer. Out of Sight isn’t a frequent user of bass, but as needed, it’s firm.
On the UHD, director Steven Soderbergh joins screenwriter Scott Frank for a commentary that dates back to the DVD. Other bonuses reside on the Blu-ray. Those extras begin with an older 25-minute making-of, then deleted scenes that run for 22-minutes. Trailers follow.
Out of Sight
Out of Sight’s smoothly written dialog plays well as both a comic crime caper and kitschy Hollywood romance.
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 43 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: