The Limey: Special Edition

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Director, Stephen Soderbergh has been responsible for some pretty influencial movies as of late. Of couse, we can’t forget his earlier films, most noteably “Sex, Lies and Videotape” which (as I put it) was one of the first “It’s hip to be independent” films. Before the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson and Quentin Tarintino (who are both outstanding directors), there was Soderbergh. In fact, even right now…there’s Soderbergh. He currently has a hit on his hands with the recent “Erin Brokivich”. He made sort of a “come back” with his excellent tale of bank robbers, and got George Clooney to stop doing his trademark “Head down, eyes up” style of acting. So what do we get when he tackles a story of revenge, starring two of the top cult favorites from the 60’s? The Limey is a tale of a father’s quest for vindication. Wilson (Terrance Stamp) has just arrived in Hollywood, and is probably the only person there who isn’t looking to get into the movie business. He has spent the better part of his life in prision, his daughter had gone to Hollywood, and he has just learned of her death. The story was that she “fell asleep at the wheel” in the Hollywood Hills. Wilson, obviously, doesn’t buy this story for a minute. With his thick British accent, Stamp immediately starts asking questions of her last know friends. First off is Eduardo (Luis Guzman of Boogie Nights fame), he wasn’t exactly a friend, but knew of her and how she died, and sheds just enough light on the situation to make it all the more interesting. Wilson then heads down to a local dock and starts aking questions about a man named Terry Valentine. Valentine is a “Rock and Roll” producer who lives in one of those houses that you only see in the movies; or as Eduardo says “the kind of house that if you can afford, you buy.” After being roughed up by local thugs at the dock, and then killing them in what was one of the most higlighted scenes of the movie, Wilson moves on and is even more motivated to pursue Valentine. It’s about this time that we meet Elaine, Jenny’s voice coach (Jenny was Wilson’s daughter who was killed). Elaine is a “has been” actress who manages bit parts and now makes her living being a teacher of theater and, of course, a voice coach. With this in mind, Wilson is even more determined to get to Valentine. Ed(uardo) and Wilson crash a party at Valentine’s place and he sees what kind of life that Valentine has. Valentine is the sort of man who has it all, yet worries constantly about illegal things that he may or may not get pinned for, hence longtime friend and “bodyguard” of sorts, Avery (Barry Newman) is the man who keeps Valentine out of trouble. After the party, there are no unknowns. Valentine and Avery know that this strange man, Wilson, is responsible for killing the men at the dock (friends and business associates of Valentine, though unrelated professionally). And it’s Avery who hires on two hit men to take care of the problem once and for all… The Limey marks the second of Sodenbergh’s “Hat Trick” and if I may quote USA Today, it’s very rare that a director can pull off three commercially and critically successful movies in a row. Soderbergh does. With a great rock soundtrack that consists of older rock, or at least rock that is meant to sound older, The Limey will keep you on your toes. The Limey has a sort of feel to it that feels like a “60’s” movie. I can’t really place it, or site any examples, but it does have a very unique feel to it. If you’re a fan of Stephen Sodenbergh, or just like movies that are very well-made and keep ou guessing, then The Limey is for you.

Video: How does it look?

The Limey is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The only complaint I have against Stephen Sodenbergh, is that he always chooses to use the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. I prefer the 2.35:1 movies, under the assumption that you have the whole screen there—use it! However, the ratio of the film doesn’t take away from any of the film’s appearance. Images are crystal-clear and there is no artifacting to be found at all. There are lots of shots of the scenic California ocea and the Pacific Coast Highway, and they all look great in this picture.

Audio: How does it sound?

While The Limey won’t exactly blow you away with sound, it does a very good job. There’s some gunfire and a particular scene where two cars are bumping against each other that really sounds great, but for the most part it’s a dialogue driven movie. As I mentioned above, the soundtrack has lots of rock and roll songs, and there’s a scene in which Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” plays, and it sounds nothing short of spectacluar. Overall, a nice job, dialogue is clean and you’ll find no complaint from me here.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Looks can be deceiving…nowhere on the disc does it advertise “Special Edition”, but if you look at Artisan’s “Special Features” (which are listed on every Artisan title” you’ll find quite an impressive list. Along with a commentary track by Sodenbergh and his writer Lem Dobbs, who exclaims that “Scriptwriting is a hopeless profession”, you’ll find another commentary track that has cast members Leslie Ann Warren, Terrance Stamp, Peter Fonda and Barry Newman along with some more commentary by Sodenbergh and Dobbs. Now that alone would be a nice treat, but you also get the standard Cast and Crew Bios, Production Notes and trailers. There is also an isolated music score, and I encourage you to listen to it, as it’s quite good. One thing that I really liked were the Technical Specifications. A very in-depth, technical write up of how the process was used to convert a film into a 16:9 DVD as well as how the soundtrack was converted into Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. In addition to this, there is also a comparison on 16:9 vs. Letterbox (non 16:9). In this, they play two scenes from the film, the same one, first in a 16:9 format, then in a regular Letterbox format. It’s really quite interesting, much like the entire DVD. I say that if you’re a fan of Stephen Sodenbergh, run don’t walk, to pick up this astonishing DVD.

Disc Scores