Color, 1987, 112 mins.

Directed by Ridley Scott

Starring Tom Berenger, Mimi Rogers, Lorraine Bracco, Jerry Orbach, John Rubinstein, Andreas Katsulas, Daniel Hugh-Kelly / Written by Howard Franklin / Produced by Thierry de Ganay and Harold Schneider / Cinematography by Steven B. Poster / Music by Michael Kamen

Format: DVD - Columbia (MSRP $24.98)

Letterboxed (1.85:1) (16x9 enhanced) / Dolby Digital 2.0


The word "glossy" could have easily been invented for Ridley Scott's Someone to Watch over Me, an often overlooked thriller which marked a radical departure from the director's usual science fiction and fantasy epics. However, unlike such subsequent earthbound efforts as White Squall and 1492, Scott manages here to keep a firm grasp of human emotions and naturalistic plotting.

Seasoned cop Mike Keegan (Tom Berenger) and his wife, Ellie (Lorraine Bracco), enjoy a typical domestic married existence in Queens. When Mike is called in to protect a Manhattan socialite, Claire (Mimi Rogers), who witnessed the knifing death of an acquaintance at a party, he finds his time and attention with his family severely strained. Claire is called in to identify the murderer, whom she recognizes, and Mike finds himself irresistibly attracted to the glamorous beauty. The two helplessly begin an affair, and as Mike's home life begins to fall apart, the killer decides to pay Claire a visit...

Ostensibly a tribute to slick 1940s thrillers like Laura and The Glass Key, Scott's film manages for the most part to capture the visually pleasing but chilly atmosphere of the idle rich and contrasts it nicely with the humble environs of our protagonist and his wife. As usual, Scott's film is a ravishing visual feast, and his typical color coding bears more than a little significance: icy blues and grays for Manhattan, warm golds and umbers for Queens. He also displays a few flickers of the Italian thriller tradition, particularly during the pivotal stabbing in front of a reflective swimming pool (a terrific scene) and a lengthy, dark stalking sequence in Rogers' apartment that precedes Dario Argento's similar Opera by one year. Berenger and Rogers make for extremely appealing leads, and it's a shame no one uses them as well anymore. Bracco does what she can with a difficult part: a foul-mouthed, possessive mom who sticks up for her family. Unfortunately, the role isn't especially appealing; while the ending is a fairly foregone conclusion, the film actually paints itself into a corner so that the last scene, as one critic aptly noted, is strikingly similar to post-coital depression.

Long overdue for a decent remastering, the film has been given a sparkling new anamorphic transfer from Columbia. A rare non-scope film for Scott, this nevertheless relies heavily on precise visual framing for the best effect, and outside of a theater, it simply won't look better. The existing Dolby Surround mix isn't labeled as 5.1 but sounds extremely good, with clean channel separation and strong, mobile bass during many key sequences. Furthermore, the diverse soundtrack, ranging from Vangelis to Michael Kamen's orchestral score to Sting's crooning of the title track, sounds better than ever. The DVD also includes the mediocre U.S. trailer, which opens up with a discussion of Bracco's sagging derriere and could account for why this film didn't set the box office on fire.


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