The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: MGM - 1999
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 113 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary, Ben Gazzara, Fritz Weaver, Faye Dunaway
Directed by: John McTiernan
Music by: Bill Conti
Written by: Leslie Dixon and Kurt Wimmer
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 6, 2010
"How do you get the man who has everything?"
Thrill-seeking billionaire Thomas Crown (Brosnan) loves nothing more than courting disaster and winning. So when his world becomes too stiflingly safe, he pulls off his boldest stunt ever: stealing a priceless painting in broad daylight from one of Manhattan's most heavily guarded museums. But his post-heist excitement soon pales beside an even greater challenge: Catherine Banning (Russo), a beautiful insurance investigator hired to retrieve the artwork. Catherine's every bit as intelligent, cunning and hungry for adventure as he is, and just when Thomas realizes he's finally met his match, she skillfully leads him into a daring game of cat and mouse that's more intoxicating and dangerous than anything either of them has ever experienced before.
This is my first experience with The Thomas Crown Affair. It is one of those films that I have always meant to see but never got around to. The same goes for the original with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. I found this version to be quite good although I did find myself shaking my head over some of its obvious contrivances. Heist type films like this where things always go according to plan generally paint the police as inept, which is a given, but for some reason it remains a bit of a sticking point for me. In this case I think it is exacerbated by the fact that Catherine, an insurance investigator, undermines the police investigation, which would never be allowed to happen. Of course I am nitpicking and these are things that really don’t detract from enjoyment of the film. The premise is one we have all seen before where the pursuer becomes romantically involved with their quarry and the lines between the objectives of both become blurred (or do they?). The cat and mouse interplay between Catherine and Thomas is the focal point and succeeds at luring us into the intrigue and glamour associated with the lives lived by both. Each makes for an interesting character study. Catherine is smooth, intelligent and thorough while Thomas is cunning, diligent, and opulent. They share the need for thrill seeking and derive it from different sources. Each feels that perhaps they have met their respective match in the other but would never openly concede that. Thomas opens the door and invites Catherine into the game that will eventually result in a passionate affair that becomes less about the missing Monet than it is about establishing a bond of trust. The real question is can either of them be trusted to do the wrong thing?
Rene Russo did a terrific job in the role of Catherine. She played a strong female lead that mated well with Brosnan’s urbane and typically one dimensional caricature that was perfectly suited for this version of Thomas Crown. These comments shouldn’t be construed as negative because I like Pierce Brosnan and have rarely seen him in a role that I haven’t care for. Denis Leary felt underused as Detective McCann but made a viable contribution nonetheless. I thought that the casting of Faye Dunaway in the role of the psychiatrist was a nice touch. I will have to check out the original film and see how it compares to this one. Regardless this one stands well on its own and makes for an entertaining watch.
The rating is for some sexuality and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Thomas Crown Affair comes to Blu-ray Disc from MGM featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 mbps.
This being my experience with this film I had no frame of reference for what it might look like. I found colors to be punchy, vivid and warm which highlighted the variable and well saturated tones used throughout the film. The lush earth tones on the Caribbean island appeared especially vibrant and eye catching. Complexions were naturally depicted with visible texture and defining tonality. Blacks were inky but slightly crushed which adversely affected a few scenes that contained dark elements/ backgrounds. Shadow detail was distinguishable enough to provide a good sense of depth. Resolution was quite good so that images had estimable texture and discernible refinement that drew out details in objects and people onscreen. This wasn’t consistently the case however as there were shots that looked soft, less resolute and lacking in depth. This affected long range visuals, a few close ups and some mid level camera shots. Grain was intact but in uneven layers that on occasion took on more prominence. An example of this occurs during the glider sequence as the background appears noticeably grainy. Other than a few noisy backgrounds I saw no signs of deleterious video artifacts or unwanted digital manipulation. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix features dialogue that is clearly intonated with prominent soundstage position that allows quieter spoken dialogue to be intelligible. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects, music and voices are rendered with superior clarity and depth. There is little call for active surround activity and extended dynamics however there is frequent use of atmospheric sounds that stabilize the soundstage in support of the venues depicted onscreen. That coupled along with the superlative music of Bill Conti gives the soundtrack an open and balanced presence that helps drive the films thematic elements.
- Bonus DVD of The Thomas Crown Affair – Flipper style with standard/widescreen versions + Director audio commentary with John McTiernan
The Thomas Crown Affair is a successful remake of the original thriller by Norman Jewison, which starred Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. The story has been revamped and features a strong female lead/performance by Rene Russo. There is ample action, intrigue, suspense and romance to go along with John McTiernan’s slick direction. The result is a formulaic yet entertaining thriller that is worth watching. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from MGM featuring respectable high definition audio/video but lacking any special features. A bonus DVD is included which contains both a standard and widescreen version of the film along with a director’s commentary track by John McTiernan. This high definition presentation easily bests the standard definition version in every respect which makes this Blu-ray package an easy upgrade recommendation for fans.
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