Blu-Ray Review: Thelma and Louise

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I’m going to begin with a confession.  Until this viewing, I had never seen Thelma and Louise.  I always cite Ridley Scott as one of my favorite directors, and despite the fact that many consider this to be one of his best films, I was never able to muster up enough interest to actually give it a try.  Every clip I ever saw looked tedious, and with it being impossible not to know the ending, I never really saw the point.

Well, it turns out that knowing the ending is irrelevant.  As the saying goes, it isn’t so much about the destination as it is the journey.  Often described as a female-empowerment flick, Thelma and Louise is in the most basic terms a story of two friends (Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis) on a roadtrip.  I wouldn’t say the film is so much a female-empowerment film as it is a film about self-discovery.  After killing an attempted rapist, Thelma and Louise find themselves on the run from the law.  Along the way, they will learn who they really are, and as everyone knows, end up making the ultimate sacrifice.

While Sarandon and Davis prove what amazing actors they are, they are surrounded by an equally amazing supporting cast including Brad Pitt and Harvey Keitel.  Pitt especially was a revelation, and this is the film that helped kick-start his career.  A film like this doesn’t work unless everyone involved is working at the top of their game.  The cinematography gorgeously depicts their journey across the mid-West, while Hans Zimmer provides an appropriately Western sounding score.  The dialogue is smart and realistic, and as mentioned above, Ridley Scott does a fantastic job directing.

Considering I had never seen the film before, I had never seen any previously released extras either.  However, it should be noted that all of the extras on this 20th Anniversary edition are repeats from previous releases.  They aren’t bad, they just aren’t new.  However, what I imagine is new is the incredible transfer on this film.  The picture and sound could have been from a movie released today.  At times, the film feels like a classic Western, and every aspect of their journey across the landscape just pops off the screen.  It really is a gorgeous film.

The extras include two commentary tracks, one with Ridley Scott, and the other with Sarandon, Davis and screenwriter Callie Khouri.  There is also a feature that runs just over 45 minutes called “Thelma & Louise: The Last Journey.”  This is a comprehensive look at the entire production.  It’s an interesting look back, and defintely worth checking out if you haven’t already seen it.  After this comes a five-minute Elecronic Press Kit.  Nothing too exciting there.

One of the more interesting features is one that I didn’t even know existed.  There is an extended alternate ending.  Yes, the iconic fade to white was not how the film originally ended.  Conceptually, it’s not all that different, but emotionally, it leaves the audience in a completely different place.  I vastly prefer the original, but it’s interesting from a historical perspective, especially considering that I always assumed the ending to be one of the most defining moments of the film.

There are also deleted and extended scenes, a music video, and some storyboards of the final chase.  Overall, it’s not the greatest set of extras I’ve ever seen, but they do their job.  They provide a little bit of insight, an interesting look back at the making of the film, and some different perspectives on things overall.

The film ended up being a lot better than I expected.  I’m glad I was able to set aside my expectations, and let myself get caught up in the film.  It works on almost every level, and I can see why, twenty years later, the film is still considered a classic.

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