Life of Crime (Blu-ray)

October 31, 2014 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Set in Detroit in the late 1970’s, Life of Crime is based on the novel by Elmore Leonard The Switch. Jennifer Aniston stars as Micky Dawson. She’s unhappily married to her successful, but often drunk and controlling husband Frank (Tim Robbins). The two of them have a son together, but there’s clearly a void in Micky’s life. Frank often disrespects her at almost any moment. Enter: Mos Def and John Hawkes who play Ordell and Louis, they’re the two criminals who kidnap Micky. She’s kidnapped with little trouble, but trouble does arise soon when the two criminals learn that Frank has already filed for divorce. The papers are to be mailed to her and any minute. Of course, she won’t be at home to actually get the divorce papers, but that’s another issue all together. There are a few other characters along the way, including Marshall (Will Forte). He has a bit of an obsession with Micky, and soon he finds himself involved in the shenanigans as well. Ordell and Louis also enlist the help of a stumbling buffoon Richard (Mark Boone Junior). After Micky is kidnapped, Richard helps keep an eye on here as well as additional reconnaissance. He keeps almost too close an eye on her. There’s a scene where she catches him peeping in her room and puts a cigarette out on his eye. To give any more of the plot away would spoil much of the fun. The film’s plot might sound a lot darker than it actually is. It’s quite amusing and well paced throughout most of its running time.

Fans of Elmore Leonard should be more than pleased with this film. I learned from one of the features on this disc that the novel on which this is based is actually a prequel to Rum Punch; which is probably better known by its film title Jackie Brown. Obviously, this is a much different film with a different director, but the similarities are definitely there. One of the joys of the film is that characters are all so well developed and the plot is involving and never as complicated as it could’ve been. In lesser hands, this material might’ve been a disaster, but it works surprisingly well here. There’s not only a good amount of suspense, but the comedic elements also work well, and the various twist in the story keep things fresh. Director Daniel Schechter does a great job of recreating the 1970’s here as well. The wardrobes and cars are all spot-on as well as the overall look of the film. Life of Crime is definitely worth checking out – it’s unpredictable, well acted and tells a tight story that kept me involved throughout. The ending is a little bit of a curve-ball, but I still found it amusing and a bit ironic at the same time. Recommended.

Video: How’s it look?

The transfer is free of obvious flaws and other such artifacts. There is a bit of a washed out look to most of the film, but I don’t consider this a flaw so much as the way the film was shot. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.40:1 ratio. Details are strong and consistent throughout and flesh tones were always accurate as well. The transfer will satisfy.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD track is good, if unremarkable. Since this is more of a “talky” film, don’t expect tons of use from the rear channels. They do kick in on occasion, but the dialogue still comes through clear and concise. We get a good bit of music in the film as well as some nice background noise during the action scenes. The track serves the film well and will please fans.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Audio Commentary – The Director and Actor Will Forte sit down for a running track for the film. We get some decent notes, mostly about casting and location shooting, but other topics are discussed. It’s worth a listen for fans.
  • Deleted Scenes – We get about 10 minutes of scenes here, but nothing worthwhile.
  • Behind the Scenes – This is a surprisingly better-than-average feature that provides some good notes on the making of the film.
  • Envisioning the Big Picture: Shooting Crime – This is another brief feature that also provides good notes. We hear where the inspiration came from and how the Director’s first draft was approved almost instantly. We learn about the casting as well as other things. It’s worth watching.
  • Hit and Run: Choreographing Mayhem – This looks at filming the action sequences as well as storyboards. If you’re curious how they shot the film then this feature is for you.
  • Previews
  • Digital Copy

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