Plot: What’s it about?
Carter (Jeff Bridges), Rosie (Sharon Stone), and Vinnie (Nick Nolte) all hold a secret from their past which has changed their lives forever. Twenty years earlier the three were involved in a scam involving a horse racing operation and used some underhanded tactics to ensure they came out on top. Through a blackmail scheme they forced the commissioner (Albert Finney) into disgrace and made off with a small fortune in cash because of it. Now Carter has a large estate and basks in his wealth, as well as being married to Rosie. But Vinnie hasn’t handled the situation as well and has become consumed by guilt, refusing to spend even a dime of the money as he wants to return it to the commissioner. Soon Vinnie contacts Carter and informs of a plan he has which would return the cash to the commissioner and ease his mind on the issue. When Carter refuses to go along with the plan, Vinnie steals his credit cards and vehicle and heads off to make things right. How far will Vinnie go to make amends for the past and how far will Carter go to ensure it stays hidden?
This film centers on a secret that three friends share and the effects it has on them afterwards, but I have to admit I don’t understand why this secret is such a big deal. I guess I expected more of a powerful secret that the one that is revealed, but I can’t imagine how we’re supposed to feel for these characters and their actions. So much of the movie’s tension/suspense seems misdirected in my opinion, which pretty much ruins the flick for me. I think this movie could have been salvaged if in the right director’s hands, but first timer Warchus handles himself poorly and the film suffers because of it. The visuals are bland at most times with few unique compositions, which doesn’t help matters much either. But the cast is very good and serves as the sole reason this movie would be worth the time to check out. It’s always good to see Nick Nolte as a dirtbag character and he shines here, as does Jeff Bridges as a sleek and suave gentleman. If you’re really interested in this movie then give it a rent and judge for yourself, but don’t blame me if you find yourself disappointed. As usual New Line has issued an overall solid disc, so if you are a fan then by all means pick this one up.
This film was directed by Matthew Warchus, who made his feature film directing debut with this movie. Warchus also helped penned the screenplay along with David Nicholls, while that work was based on the play by Sam Shepard. This movie seems much more like a stage play than a motion picture, but that doesn’t mean the directing is bad. It isn’t good by any means, but it is not that bad either. Warchus seems to think he can use shallow locations and sets and make a good movie, but the truth is that it fails at trying to create a visual atmosphere. Few interesting compositions can be seen aside from some nice landscape shots and the visual potential seems largely ignored by Warchus. While this might have been a good movie if the right director had control, Warchus turns it into a below average flick at best. I hope Warchus realizes how powerful visual compositions can be if he is allowed to directed films in the future. Nick Nolte (Another 48 Hours, Affliction) and Jeff Bridges (Arlington Road, The Big Lebowski) share the lead in this film and the two hand in very solid performances. While she is featured on the cover, Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct, Sliver) actually has a smaller role in the film. The supporting cast is also good and includes Catherine Keener (The Real Blonde, Being John Malkovich), Shawn Hatosy (Outside Providence, The Postman), Kimberly Williams (Father Of The Bride, Indian Summer), Liam Waite (Ghosts Of Mars), and Albert Finney (Erin Brockovich, Breakfast Of Champions).
Video: How does it look?
Simpatico is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame version included on the same side of this dual layered disc. This is a typical New Line transfer, which means impeccable quality in all aspects of the visual presentation. The colors appear bold and vibrant, with no bleeds or smears and flesh tones seem warm and normal also. Contrast shows no signs of problems either, as shadows are complex and detail level is very high. Of course the compression is flawless and the image is always sharp and free from debris.
Audio: How does it sound?
This isn’t an audio driven movie by any means, but the included Dolby Digital 5.1 track offers a superb audio experience nonetheless. The musical score is decent and comes through very well in this mix, while effects seem minimal though effective when present. This is a dialogue film in every respect, so the surrounds don’t see too much action at all. The vocals sound rich and clear at all times, with no volume or separation issues in the least. This disc also includes a stereo surround track and English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release contains some talent files and the film’s theatrical trailer.