SRP $29.99 1.85:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 SONY

Director Jafar Panahi's "OFFSIDE" is available on dvd from SONY.  While it's been promoted as a comedy, one doesn't get that idea from the opening sequence. A father is hurrying to find his daughter, who has disguised herself as a boy, in the hopes of watching a soccer match that could put Iran closer to the possibility of making it to the World Cup championship. Her father is worried as women are not allowed to attend sporting events, and he even mentions his sons would kill her if they find her first. Funny? Not at all. However, after his daughter is caught at the gates by military soldiers and detained, there are incredibly funny, moving and insightful moments as she, along with other detained girls, argue with their captors. "OFFSIDE" is often serious as it deals with serious issues, but a real sense of humanity and humor fills large parts of the film. The story is compelling, although "OFFSIDE" relies more heavily on depth of character than its plot. Ultimately, its ending is handled in an intelligent way, and "OFFSIDE" dares to take a less predictable path than most would expect.

SONY has provided a 1.85:1 transfer with 16:9 enhancement. Colors are solid, though never vibrant. Grain is present, without being intrusive. Contrast is impressive, allowing for fine detail in darker scenes. "OFFSIDE" is not a striking transfer, but it looks good and detail is always impressive.

SONY has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The mix is virtually dedicated to the front speakers, with modest separation and surround effects. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion. Dynamic range is impressive.

SONY has included an interview with the film's director. It's much better than many of these type of extras, found on many recent dvds, and offers information that's thoughtful rather than self-promoting in nature.