It’s the Rage

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Warren & Helen Harding (Jeff Daniels & Joan Allen) just went through a serious event in their relationship after Warren shot a man in their house. While Warren’s lawyer, Tim Sullivan (Andre Braugher) was able to have the case and the charges dropped, Helen wants to leave her marriage and she does. Warren isn’t the only one who has been left, as paranoid computer mogul Norton (Gary Sinise) has just learned that his assistant Tennel (Josh Brolin) will be leaving the position. In an odd twist, Helen has decided to embark on a new career which happens to be working as Norton’s new assistant. At the same time policeman Tyler (Robert Forster) has inner turmoil over a shooting, even though his friend Agee (Bokeem Woodbine) attempts to soothe his pain. Soon Tim finds himself attracted to a young woman at a convenience store named Annabel Lee (Anna Paquin), despite his overly jealous homosexual lover, Chris (David Schimmer). After leaving his position with Norton, Tennel changes his name to Fennel and gets a job at a video store, where he also meets and falls for Annabel. Meanwhile Annabel’s psychotic brother (Giovanni Ribisi) is having problems in almost every aspect of his life. As their lives cross paths on a regular basis, the people are bound to run into conflicts and since they all possess firearms, the results could be lethal.

This is a strange movie that tends to rotate between several genres, but in the end I liked it a lot and will return to it I am sure. As you should know by the synopsis this movie is centered on guns and as such has a basis in violence, but there isn’t much in terms of gun based violence. This is more of a character study as we watch all these various folks and their guns, while their lives weave in and out of touch with each other. While the characters are a little too wacky and offbeat, I feel they manage to deliver the needed lines well the movie could use a couple more realistic roles tossed in. The interaction is hilarious at times and always provide entertainment, but you’ll never which ones will be together in the next scene. Several actors have been cast against type, but they still pull off terrific and believable performances. I don’t know if I would call this a black comedy, but it does have some very funny moments and I know this isn’t a totally dramatic film. This film deals with some serious subject matter, but the injected humor makes sure it all never becomes too heavy. This isn’t a great movie in my opinion, but it is worth taking the time to look into. I recommend this release as a rental to those interested, but fans of the film will want to invest in this terrific disc for their personal collections.

This film was directed by James D. Stern, who made his feature film debut as a director with this picture. This is a spectacular film in terms of visuals and I think Stern also handles a superb cast like a season professional in this film. The film uses some basic and simple techniques which pay off, while some rather dazzling compositions emerge also. Stern mentions in his commentary track that this was a very rushed shoot, but you’d never know by watching the film. The camera work is solid at all times and I am interested to see what Stern comes up with if he is given a more relaxed shooting schedule in the future. This is a very broken film in terms of characters and events and I feel Stern’s ability to hold them all together bodes well for his future in this business. This film boasts an impressive cast loaded with talent, with each performer handing in terrific turns. No true leads emerge since the actors share the screen about equally, but Jeff Daniels (Dumb and Dumber, Pleasantville) and Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump, The Stand) seem to steal the show from the others. Sinise is excellent as the paranoid Norton and Daniels brings a short fuse and cool exterior to his character. The rest of the cast includes Bookeem Woodbine (Freeway, The Rock), Josh Brolin (The Goonies, Best Laid Plans), Andre Braugher (Frequency, Primal Fear), Robert Forster (Supernova, Jackie Brown), David Schimmer (Six Days Seven Nights), Joan Allen (Face/Off, Mad Love), and the always lovely Anna Paquin (X-Men, Fly Away Home).

Video: How does it look?

It’s The Rage is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a terrific visual presentation in every respect and I found no serious problems at all with the transfer. The source print shows few marks and the compression is flawless, no artifacts at all can be seen. This is a very unique movie when it comes to visuals so I was concerned how well the transfer would hold up, but it comes through on all fronts with flying colors. The colors are bright and vivid when needed, while also displaying more reserved, natural tones when called for. The transitions are smooth between the two and flesh tones also seem normal and warm at all times. I found no problems with the contrast either, shadows look bold and well layered and detail is always high.

Audio: How does it sound?

This is a movie about guns, but the audio is focused more on the dialogue than gunshots so don’t expect a powerhouse mix. But the included Dolby Digital 5.1 track does offer an excellent experience and captures the audio in perfect fashion, with no troubles I could detect. The musical score is very good and adds to the atmosphere of the film, in this mix it sounds rich and immersive. When the guns come into play the surrounds kick in well, but usually they are used for background audio. The dialogue is well balanced and never varies in volume, while the vocals seem crisp and clean.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This release contains some talent files, the theatrical trailer, and a thirteen minute behind the scenes featurette. The featurette is loaded with cast interviews and offer some insight into the production, though not that deep. The final supplement is an audio commentary track with director James D. Stern, which is filled with information fans of the film will gobble up. He isn’t the most interesting speaker to be sure, but it does make for an informative listen.

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