Plot: What’s it about?
John Nolan (Jeff Goldblum) is an insurance salesman with a dull, repetitive life, but he will soon find himself within a tense situation, filled with danger and unknown elements. When Auggie Rose (Kim Coates) is released from prison, he ends up dead in Nolan’s arms on his first day of freedom, which prompts Nolan to take action. He is tired of his own humdrum existence and as such, he decides to take over Rose’s life instead, as strange as that seems. So he begins to explore Rose’s lifestyle and at the same time, he keeps this double life a secret from everyone, including his girlfriend. But he soon learns that his choice might have been a bad one, as he gets sucked deeper and deeper into this other life, sometimes to places he doesn’t want to venture. How long will Nolan continue this charade of two lives and if someone were to discover the truth, what would become of Nolan, in either of his lives?
This movie was shot in just over twenty days on a tight budget, only to see a very limited theatrical run and quickly be sent to home video. The name was changed from Auggie Rose to Beyond Suspicion for some reason and while it is a lower profile picture, Fox has given it a terrific treatment on this disc. I was more taken with the film than I had expected, as it offers some good writing and some great performances. The premise is a little outrageous, but it is well explained and as the plot unfolds, writer/director Matthew Tabak really turns up the juice and delivers some terrific material. The characters are well developed and with a very good round of casting, they are played to almost perfect ends. Jeff Goldblum and Anne Heche turn in some of their finest work ever, while Nancy Travis, Kim Coates, and Timothy Olyphant supply more than solid supporting roles, very impressive series of performances, to be sure. If you’re a fan of well written and well acted thrillers, then I recommend Beyond Suspicion, as it is well worth a rental, at the least.
I like the quirky performances of Jeff Goldblum, but he seems to have fallen into a rut of late, with thin characters and often redundant performances. But with Beyond Suspicion, he is back on track and if this isn’t his very best work, it is pretty close and that’s impressive indeed. He is given a great character and some wonderful material to work with, which he takes advantage of and really kicks into high gear. I have to admit, I wasn’t confident in Goldblum’s skills of late, but he has turned my opinion around here, great work indeed. You can also see Goldblum in such films as Nine Months, Jurassic Park, Powder, Holy Man, Silverado, and Independence Day. The cast also includes Anne Heche (Donnie Brasco, Volcano), Timothy Olyphant (Gone in Sixty Seconds, Scream 2), Kim Coates (The Last Boy Scout, Innocent Blood), Richard T. Jones (Event Horizon, Kiss the Girls), and Nancy Travis (Loose Cannons, Internal Affairs).
Video: How does it look?
Beyond Suspicion is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. This is a rare 4X3 letterbox transfer from Fox and while that is a serious let down, the image here doesn’t look at all. The relaxed visuals don’t suffer too much, but the image is less refined than usual Fox efforts, to be sure. I also saw some edge enhancement here & there and on the whole, this just wasn’t up to the usual Fox standards. The colors look solid, flesh tones are natural, and contrast is well balanced however, so this is by no means a bad transfer, it just should have been anamorphic.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track offers a pleasant experience, but you won’t get much in terms of surround presence, due to the material involved. The film is driven by dialogue and as such, the mix is front channel based, though some light surround use is present at times. A subtle, natural overall mix, this one is perfectly balanced to suit the material, very cool indeed. The dialogue is crisp and clean at all times, with no volume errors to report. This disc also includes 2.0 surround options in English and French, as well as English and Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a nice selection of bonus materials, including two audio commentary tracks, impressive indeed. The first session is with director Matthew Tabak and producer Daniel Stone, who provide a better than average technical commentary track. Of course, this means it is very serious and often dry in nature, but it is informative and that’s what counts. The second one is more relaxed and less dull, with Tabak and actor Jeff Goldblum on deck this time. Goldblum seems a little reserved, but he opens up and talks about the production, often at the request of Tabak, who feeds him questions and such. All in all, both tracks are more than decent and if you listen to them both, you’ll discover a lot about this film and how it was made. This disc also includes some talent files, a brief interview montage, an alternate ending, and the film’s trailer.