Plot: What’s it about?
The home of the latest British Hair Styling Championship is not a glamorous one, but the small town has some heart, as well as some surprises. One of the main entrants is the world famous Raymond (Bill Nighy), a speed demon with style to spare, though he is willing to do whatever it takes to win this year, no matter what. He has asked his young daughter Sandra (Rachael Leigh Cook) to join him, to serve as his model for the competition. She was unsure about it all, but he insisted and since she doesn’t see him often, she finally caved in and agreed. Raymond and his assistant don’t think this year’s contest will be a hard one, as their skills seem to be the finest on showcase, at least until a potential powerhouse is seen. It seems the small town is home to hair cutting legend Phil Allen (Alan Rickman), who used to zoom through competitions and win them all, without much effort even. But he is having some problems at home, so he is reluctant to enter, even though his skills are still in good use. At the same time, some sparks seem to be present between Phil’s son (Josh Hartnett) and Sandra, which only makes it all that much more complicated.
I wasn’t too fond of this premise, as I had seen The Big Tease a little before this film, but it had a lot of positive elements, to be sure. It all starts with the writing of Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty) and continues with a loaded cast, with such names as Alan Rickman, Rachael Leigh Cook, Natasha Richardson, and others. I’ll go see any movie that Rickman stars in and when you combine that with a screenplay by Beaufoy, and Blow Dry was a must see release. It won’t be in the ballpark for all viewers however, as the droll, slow British humor is ever present, even with some non British actors tossed into the mix. I tend to enjoy British comedy however, so Blow Dry never phased me and in truth, aside from the accents, it wasn’t as hard to understand as most British humor. The writing is terrific and paints a wonderful picture of a small town, as well as the pure insanity the visitors bring, which is a nice touch. This disc is a pretty steep release in terms of price, but the movie is good, so I recommend a rental to those interested.
I am always glad to see Alan Rickman’s name on a film, as he always seem to bring a lot to his movies, to be sure. As usual, he isn’t the focal character here, but he steals a lot of scenes and enhances all those around him, very impressive stuff. Rickman seems natural and relaxed within this role, using it to showcase his inner acting, so to speak. He conveys a lot of emotion and thought via his eyes, facial expressions, and overall mannerisms, which proves that actions sometimes speak louder than words. I find Rickman to be one of the best active actors in the business, so of course, I hope to see him in a wealth of new projects soon. You can also see Rickman in such films as Galaxy Quest, Robin Hood: Price of Thieves, An Awfully Big Adventure, Die Hard, Quigley Down Under, and Bob Roberts. The cast also includes Rachael Leigh Cook (All I Wanna Do, She’s All That), Natasha Richardson (The Parent Trap, Widow’s Peak), Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbor, Halloween: H20), and Rachel Griffiths (Me Myself I, My Best Friend’s Wedding).
Video: How does it look?
Blow Dry is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This movie has a ton of rich, powerful color strokes, but this transfer holds strong, so all the bold visuals look terrific in this release. The hues come across in vibrant form, without a trace of bleeds or smears, while flesh tones remain natural in scope. The contrast is also impressive, with accurate black levels and no detail loss, at least that I could see. I did see some small errors here and there, but nothing too serious and in the end, this is a more than solid visual presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
I could hardly tell this disc had a Dolby Digital 5.1 track on deck, but this is due to the material, not flaws within the mix itself. I was never let down by the audio here and in truth, I never even thought about it, as it should be in this kind of flick. The dialogue is clean and well presented, but the surrounds are almost never used, even for subtle presence. The elements sound solid however, just not too dynamic in terms of presence. But I think this mix more than suits the material, which is what really counts. This disc also includes English subtitles, should you need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a brief behind the scenes featurette, which includes some interviews and runs about seven minutes.