Plot: What’s it about?
When you think of heroes, guys like Fritz Brown (Michael Rooker) aren’t the usual type of people that come to mind. Brown used to be something like a hero, working as an officer on the Los Angeles Police Department, but that all changed after he made a few wrong turns here and there. He was kicked off the force for his personal problems, the largest of which was his battle with alcohol. But Brown has now collected himself, got back on his feet, and is trying to kick the bottle once and for all. He works as a private investigator, but he also lends a hand to a local used car lot, where he repossesses cars from those delinquent in payments, which makes ends meet. One day, Freddie “Fat Dog” Baker (Will Sasso) shows up in his office with a large sum of cash, and hires Brown to rescue his little sister from her sugar daddy, a seventy year old man who Baker thinks could harm the young girl. Brown soon learns that the old man is in with the mafia, as well as his old L.A.P.D. commander, and that’s simply the beginning of the whole mess. As Brown searches for answers, he only discovers more questions, but he does know one thing for sure, he wants to save the young girl (Selma Blair) before it’s too late.
To be honest, I didn’t expect much from this film, mainly due to the packaging, which stated this was from the creator of L.A. Confidential and the fonts and cover style were similar to that film’s. It seems when movies use the coattails of other films to promote themselves, you’re in for a real bomb. But, with Michael Rooker in a prominent role my hopes were somewhat raised, and after viewing the movie, I am very pleased. I won’t compare it with L.A. Confidential, if for no other reason that scope and budget differences between the two. One reason this film works so well is the cast, which is excellent for such a low profile picture like this. Sure, not everyone will recognize the names, but this cast is packed with talented actors, not to mention the draw of young Selma Blair. The writing is also quite good, which means the actors have a lot to work with, which shows in the final product. This is a great suspense/thriller, one fans of the genre will want to check out, and if you’re a Michael Rooker fan, this is a must see movie. A rental would be good to test the waters, but Sterling has issued a fine disc, so don’t hesitate to purchase this if the mood hits you.
This film was directed by Jason Freeland, who also adapted the screenplay from James Ellroy’s novel. If Ellroy’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he also wrote another crime novel which became a film, L.A. Confidential. This is the directorial debut for Freeland, and I feel he does an adequate turn, I look forward to his future work as well. The lead role in this film is played by Michael Rooker, who is one of my favorite screen actors. While Rooker is not as high profile as many performers, I feel he is just as talented, and has a wealth of varied roles under his belt. Here Rooker shows his more dramatic side, but he has also shown his comedic and romantic potential in other films. I recommend those who like Rooker’s work here also look up Mallrats, Days of Thunder, The Replacement Killers, and The Bone Collector for other top notch Rooker turns. Selma Blair (Cruel Intentions, Can’t Hardly Wait) also has a major role in this film, but she lacks the experience to keep up with Rooker. This film also sports an impressive supporting cast, including Brion James (The Player, Cherry 2000), Brad Dourif (Urban Legend, Child’s Play), Tobin Bell (The Firm, Overnight Delivery), and William Sasso (Drop Dead Gorgeous, Happy Gilmore).
Video: How does it look?
Brown’s Requiem is presented in a 2.35:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. I was very surprised with how sharp and polished the film looks, given the low budget nature involved, and the transfer keeps the pace to make sure it looks good on home video as well. The colors, especially in the outdoor scenes look bright and lush, and flesh tones are natural and without errors. Contrast is solid, with deep and well defined shadows and no detail loss is evident. The print looks very good, few nicks and blips emerge, and compression errors don’t rear their ugly heads here either.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release uses a 2.0 surround track for audio, which handles things nicely. The music and some of the more intense scenes lack the punch a 5.1 track would offer, but this is still a well done audio mix. The music sounds very good, as do the effects when present, but the main focus is on the dialogue. The vocals are crisp and well separated, with no drop outs or other issues to speak of.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release contains an excellent audio commentary, which features director Jason Freeland and actor Michael Rooker. The track has some spots of silence, but not many, as the two share stories and anecdotes about the production, on which Rooker also served as an executive producer. How cool is a Michael Rooker commentary? Thank you, Sterling! The disc also contains the theatrical trailer and extensive talent files on both cast and crew.