Plot: What’s it about?
It’s odd how certain things stand out to us. I can remember things in vivid detail that others might shrug off. Case in point is Indecent Proposal, a very controversial film at the time (1993) and one that did a very respectable box office ($100 million in 1993 dollars). Granted, we were coming off the “shock value” of Basic Instinct the year prior, but I digress. Director Adrian Lyne, whose credits include Flashdance and Fatal Attraction, did obviously have it in his mind to stir up some feeling in Hollywood. And let’s face it, Demi Moore was coming off of hits like Ghost and A Few Good Men, Woody Harrelson and Mr. Sundance himself, Robert Redford, what more would you need to open a movie? Hell, even if the movie wasn’t a success and didn’t cause all of the controversy that it did, it would at least open well! But I suppose this does come down to a question of ethics, or would morals be a better word? Would you let the person you love spend the night with another man (or woman…this is the 21st century) for one million dollars?
Diana Murphy (Demi Moore) and her husband, David (Woody Harrelson) are madly in love. They got married early at the age of 19 and despite all odds have been together for seven years. David is an aspiring architect and to make some extra money, Diana has become a real estate agent. But the recession of 1992-93 hit and it hit hard. David lost his job and Diana has not sold a piece of property in six months. They have fallen behind on their mortgage payments and hence lose their “dream house” that David was building along the California coast. Desperate and with hardly any options, they turn to Las Vegas with their last borrowed $5000 and put all of their hopes on the luck of the draw to save their financial souls. It so happens that in the same hotel that the Murphy’s are gambling and staying at is billionaire John Gage (Robert Redford). Naturally, Diana catches his eye and between a few innocent flirts here and there, they all end up playing pool in his Presidential Suite. Gage then makes the offer (or the “proposal” as the name would indicate): one night with Diana and he’ll give them $1 million dollars.
It sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? If Diana and David really love one another, then one night for financial freedom is a mere bump in the road. But nothing’s ever as easy it seems and, hence, the crux of the film. Adrian Lyne is no stranger to controversy as Fatal Attraction’s success indicated – people seem to flock to films like this. And let’s talk money, shall we? If I was a single billionaire and saw someone like Demi Moore who was down on her luck, I’d offer $1 million for a night. What’s the worst that she can say – no? But the question of morals and ethics does invariably come into play and thus is the focal point of the film. I feel that the film has lost a bit of its luster in the past three decades, but I’d be willing to bet that this film still packs a punch and will inspire debate. That’s what great films do – withstand the test of time and even far after their release, still get people talking.
Video: How does it look?
When looking for a featured image (that big image at the top of this review) I’m reminded of how antiquated some of the films from the 90’s are. Dark, grainy and so forth. Thankfully that isn’t present in the actual presentation itself as Kino’s new 4K remaster really looks the part. There are still elements of grain and a bit of debris in a few scenes, but by and large this one looks a lot better than it has in the past. Colors seem to have a bit more pop, black levels seem a bit more solid and detail has been improved. In other words – everything that a new 4K image should be when a new transfer is struck. All that said, the film is a bit dark with many scenes taking place in dimly-lit restaurants or casinos (or at night), but don’t let that fool you – it looks swell.
Audio: How does it sound?
The DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is a minor step up from the Dolby TrueHD soundtrack on the standard DVD and Blu-ray. One thing that did strike me odd is that during the early Las Vegas scene, the roulette wheel does sound pretty darn good. The shot on the screen is a close-up of the wheel and as the ball goes round and round, it travels from front to center speakers. Amazing how good a roulette ball can sound in 5.1! The dialogue sounds a bit dated, which surprised me, but it’s not that bad. I doubt the soundtrack was foremost in the filmmaker’s minds when they were mixing this, and I couldn’t honestly care less as to how the thing sounded as my attention was on the screen. It’s good, but not great.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Director Adrian Lyne’s candid comments are nice to hear and I’d have liked a new commentary track, but alas all we have is this. If you’ve listened to this on the old Paramount DVD and Blu-ray, this is the exact same track.
The Bottom Line
Controversial at the time (1993), it’s not quite a shock to the system nearly three decades later. It still poses an interesting question – what would you really do for money? Kino’s visual presentation as well as upgraded audio make for a nice package, the included audio commentary is nice as well, though it’s nothing new. True fans might want to pick this one up.