Release Date(s)1998 (June 28, 2022)
Studio(s)Jersey Films/Universal Pictures (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)
- Film/Program Grade: A-
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: C+
Wanting to distance himself from the independent film movement scene in order to do other types of projects, Steven Soderbergh accepted an offer to bring Elmore Leonard’s 1996 crime novel Out of Sight to the screen—with screenwriter Scott Frank (Get Shorty, Logan) performing adaptation duties. With strong input from legendary editor Anne V. Coates and cinematographer Elliot Davis (King of the Hill, Gray’s Anatomy), they managed to pull off a film that took a few liberties with the source material, but brought the story and its characters to life satisfactorily.
Professional bank robber Jack Foley (Clooney) and his former prison associates Buddy (Ving Rhames) and Glenn (Steve Zahn) learn of a fortune in uncut diamonds on the outside, which are hidden away at the home of businessman Ripley (Albert Brooks). Unfortunately, Glenn tells fellow inmate Maurice “Snoopy” Miller (Don Cheadle) about the loot, which he, in turn, plans to steal for himself. Foley breaks out of prison with the help of Buddy and Glenn, but in the process, they inadvertently take FBI investigator Karen Sisco (Lopez) as a hostage. There’s an unspoken but immediate attraction between Foley and Sisco, which leads to a game of cat and mouse when they’re separated and Sisco attempts to track him down, grappling with whether or not to send him back to prison or give in to her own desires.
Out of Sight maintains an independent film flavor, favoring strong dialogue and style over action, but also providing audiences with characters to latch onto. All of this is aided by the presence of George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, who give excellent performances, but also sizzle as an onscreen duo. It’s one of the sexiest films ever made, and it doesn’t require any of its cast to shed all of their clothes or rely on romantic film cliches. Out of Sight is also a sister film of sorts to Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, which is also an Elmore Leonard adaptation (Rum Punch)—sharing a character between the two films, portrayed by Michael Keaton. It’s mostly a cameo of sorts, but it links the films in a way that predates the MCU and DCEU. Unfortunately, the film didn’t do well upon its initial release, though it was critically well-received. It has since been been re-appraised as a cult favorite, as well as a study in strong cinematography, editing, and storytelling.
Out of Sight was shot by cinematographer Elliot Davis on 35 mm film using Moviecam Compact cameras and spherical lenses, finished photochemically, and presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Kino Lorber Studio Classics brings the film to Ultra HD from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative, graded for high dynamic range (HDR10 and Dolby Vision) and approved by Elliot Davis. Far and away, this bests all previous presentations of the film with a solid sheen of very fine grain throughout. It also features superior black levels and an abundance of newfound clarity. The outdoor scenes at the prison, the snow-backdropped rendezvous, and the robbery at the Ripley house are all showcases for perfect contrast and a range of nuances in the surrounding environments. Color reproduction is outstanding, with the HDR pass widening the gamut masterfully. Outside of the opening Universal logo, everything is clean, stable, and natural to the original source. The film even closes with a small vintage ad for Universal Studios. Overall, a dynamic presentation and a major home video upgrade.
Audio is included in English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional subtitles in English SDH. The surround track (the same track as the previous Blu-ray release) is mostly front-heavy, but widens the proceedings when needed, allowing for subtle and sometimes even bombastic immersion. Dialogue exchanges are clean and sound effects have plenty of heft. David Holmes’ excellent score, as well as the music selection, soars as well. The stereo track is a tighter experience, but the 5.1 is the star of the show.
Out of Sight on 4K Ultra HD sits inside a black amaray case alongside a Blu-ray of the film in 1080p with an insert that replicates the original theatrical artwork. Everything is housed in a limited slipcover with the same artwork. The following extras are included on each disc:
DISC ONE: UHD
- Audio Commentary with Steven Soderbergh and Scott Frank
DISC TWO: BD
- Audio Commentary with Steven Soderbergh and Scott Frank
- Inside Out of Sight (SD – 25:02)
- Deleted Scenes (SD – 12 in all – 22:14)
- Trailer #1 (HD – :38)
- Trailer #2 (HD – 2:35)
- The Underneath Trailer (HD – 2:07)
Almost all of the extras are carried over from the film’s original DVD release. Things begin with an audio commentary featuring Steven Soderbergh and writer Scott Frank. It’s an upbeat and informative commentary as the two watch the film together. They discuss differences between the book and the film, highlighting many trimmed moments as well. Soderbergh also goes into detail about the cinematography and the actors. It’s a frank conversation, as well as an informative and entertaining one. Inside Out of Sight is a brief but decent documentary that speaks to the cast and crew, but also showcases plenty of behind-the-scenes footage. The majority of the Deleted Scenes are scene extensions, but there are several trimmed moments, including the very graphic aftermath of a crime scene, as well as an additional moment with Dennis Farina. Following that are two trailers for the film, as well as the trailer for Steven Soderbergh’s The Underneath. All that’s missing from the original DVD release are a set of production notes and music highlights.
Kino Lorber’s presentation of Out of Sight certainly improves upon a film that’s specifically about its visuals, allowing them to shine in near perfect quality. With a decent commentary and extras in tow, it’s a fine upgrade of a terrific film.
- Tim Salmons