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Sleepers (BD) [Blu-ray]
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(USA - 1996)
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Super 35)
Theatrical soundtracks: Dolby Digital / DTS / SDDS
By virtue of its all-star cast, handsome production values and solemn subject matter, Barry Levinson's SLEEPERS was clearly intended as a Major Motion Picture from the outset. Based on the harrowing true-life bestseller by journalist Lorenzo Carcaterra - first published in 1995 - book and film describe the appalling fate of four Hell's Kitchen kids (played as children by Joe Perrino, Brad Renfro, Geoffrey Wigdor and Jonathan Tucker) who, in 1967, were sentenced to confinement in the 'Wilkinson Home for Boys' following a near-fatal accident involving a hot dog vending machine which they had stolen as a prank. Inside the reformatory, all four boys are sexually and emotionally abused by a group of sadistic guards led by the sinister Nokes (Kevin Bacon at his slimiest). More than a decade later, traumatized by their experiences, two of the now grown-up boys (Ron Eldard and Billy Crudup) corner Nokes unexpectedly in a local diner and murder him in cold blood. The other members of the group - one a prosecuting attorney (Brad Pitt), the other an aspiring writer and journalist (Jason Patric) - formulate a daring plan to have their friends acquitted, expiose the reformatory's dark secrets, and take revenge on their abusers...
Such an extraordinary tale was always going to be controversial, and so it proved.Read more ›
It comes as no surprise that two of the four embark on a problematic life of crime; it comes as even less of a surprise that when a former reform school guard is seen eating in a diner the two men extract a brutal and bloody revenge.
At this point SLEEPERS embarks on a breathless course of twists and turns, with one underlying, consistent theme: the unbroken bond of friendship. With their friends on trial for murder, the other two men, a prosecuting attorney (Brad Pitt) and a journalist (Jason Patric) put their careers and reputations on the line to exonerate the defendants--who are indeed guilty of murder--and to malign the former guard who was killed. The stage is set for courtroom drama that is literally spellbinding.
Kevin Bacon, Jason Patric, Brad Pitt, and Minnie Driver are exceptional in this film, but the cast is trumped by two "oldtimers," Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro. Hoffman plays an alcoholic defense attorney in over his head for the trial, while De Niro--as a loving priest who has been a father figure to all four of the boys--faces a titanic decision as he is called to testify as an important witness. The acting is compelling and absorbing, and so is the story. SLEEPERS is about as good as a drama can get.
The transfer of the film was great...clear, with little grain or other problems. About my only complaint in this area would be the inconsistent sound level. Some sound effects, such as the screaming subway train, would be speaker-rattling with the volume at the proper level for the dialogue.
The worst problem with this DVD, however, is the fact that it is a "flipper". For a movie of only 2-1/2 hours, this is inexcusable. Not only that, the transitions for the end of one side and the beginning of the other are extremely abrupt. Though I can't remember from seeing the movie in the theatre, it certainly appears something was truncated.
4 stars for the movie, 4 for the transfer, 1 for the DVD.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie creeped my girlfriend out but she couldn't stop watching it...Kevin bacon is such a scum bag in this movie... Read morePublished 10 days ago by draimer
I had never saw this movie before, so I read a few reviews, liked the storyline, it certainly has the actors, so I bought the d v d. It delivers on everything. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jackie L. Adams
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