Rob Reiner has created some great films as well as some awful ones(NORTH).
But, "A FEW GOOD MEN" is often cited as his best. This reviewer would
respectfully suggest "MISERY" is actually his finest work to date. Aided
greatly by great source material(a novel by Stephen King), a terrific
adaptation by none other than William Goldman, terrific performances by
all(not that it has a large cast), "MISERY" is still, ultimately, a classic
due to tight, even daring, direction!
James Caan stars as Paul Sheldon, author of a hugely successful series of
novels built around a character named "MISERY." Upon finishing a new novel,
he heads off to hand-deliver his completed work to the publisher.
Unfortunately, the route he's driving has become treacherous due to
snowfall, resulting in a serious accident, sending his car off the road.
Having been single-handedly saved by a woman appearing out of nowhere, named
Annie, and realizing his legs were broken, Paul is semi-complacent, at
first, while being nurtured at the woman's rural house. Even the troubling
exclamations by Annie as to how his "Misery" heroine helped her deal with
hardships and the pronouncement that she's "really" his "number one fan"
aren't too concerning, until...Annie Annie's troubling exclamation of being
his "number one fan" doesn't concern him too much. But, things become scary
as soon as Annie ventures into town. When Annie finds that the latest
"MISERY" novel has just made it into the local store, she's ecstatic, until
she reads it and find that the author staying at her home has killed off the
character she's so pathologically attached to. Her entire demeanor abruptly
changes, and filled with rage for Paul, she makes Paul a prisoner, demanding
he rewrite the novel and save "Misery" before releasing him. Things go from
bad to worse, as the palpable "real-world" horror of what having a "fan" can
mean is craftilly laid out with edge-of-the-seat pacing, as the challenge
for Paul unfolds.
Most of the setting is confined, but Reiner succeeds in making "MISERY"
one of the few films wherein the viewer is completely in tune with the
horror of Paul's isolation, without the atmosphere ever feeling
manufactured. "MISERY" draws the viewer in, providing an authentic feel to
the environment, without ever allowing the viewer to realize they're only
watching a movie! It's brilliant. As great and well deserved as Kathy Bates'
Oscar winning performance is here, Caan makes it impossible to imagine
anyone else in his role. "MISERY" is filled with gripping, fun surprises
throughout, yet, it's equally fun to watch all these years later, knowing
where it's going. A "necessary" addition to any film lover's collection!
FOX/MGM has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC
MPEG-4 blu-ray. The image sets the bar high for what can be expected from a
catalogue release. Previous dvd offerings varied in quality, but were never
terrific. This blu-ray presentation is flawless! Colors are vibrant, and
restrained only when suiting the intent to a given scene. The level of
detail is often astounding, down to minute bristles found on one of Annie's
pigs! Contrast is also astounding, aided by inkly blacks. Scene after scene
present the kind of jump-off-the-screen depth one hopes for with blu-ray.
Almost a revelation for a catalogue film on blu-ray!
FOX/MGM has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. While the lossy mix
isn't aggressive, it's no less than great! A dialogue driven film, ample use
of subtle effects is handled with precision and dynamic results. Music,
ambient effects and dialogue are perfectly balanced. A GREAT MIX!