It’s really quite amazing how iconic a film can become in such a relatively short period of time. I grew up knowing of this movie, or at least of the characters, although I’d never seen it (considering I was four when the film came out, that’s not really surprising). For some reason I thought the film was a remake—after all how could relatively modern day characters entrench themselves into the common vernacular and culture of a society so quickly? Rarely do you see that happen and even rarer do they stick around a few decades after the fact. But that’s what happens when you have what is essentially an immaculately crafted film—it stands the test of time and you get parodies of it still occurring twenty years after it bowed out of theaters.
Thelma & Louise is a thrilling, full-throttle adventure hailed as one of the best road movies of all time. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis star as accidental outlaws on a desperate flight across the Southwest after a tragic incident at a roadside bar. With a determined detective (Keitel) on their trail, a sweet-talking hitchhiker (Pitt) in their path and a string of crimes in their wake, their journey alternates between hilarious, high-speed thrill ride and empowering personal odyssey even as the law closes in.
The problem with watching old movies that were so incredibly popular, lampooned, and quoted as Thelma & Louise is that you’ve felt like you’ve seen the film even before you sit down to watch it. Even though that definitely was the case here, it was still such an engaging film to watch. The story is well known at this point, but just the way it’s carried out and presented is really one of the greatest things about the film and the reason it still manages to be engaging twenty years later. Whether it’s you suddenly making the connection of a joke or reference from a TV show or movie you saw before that didn’t make sense at the time or other things like seeing a young Brad Pitt schmooze his way across the screen, there’s still plenty of engaging elements to this film regardless if it all seems old hat by now.
Generally speaking when you watch an acclaimed film there’s a moment (or sometimes several) in the film that is the real signifier of why it was so well received at the time. For this one it’s the films ending—sure, you sit through two hours of film to get to such an ending but it’s just so satisfying. I love endings where you get the resolution you didn’t know you even wanted (such as Inception’s ending) and as a result you just can’t stop thinking about the movie. All the events that led up to that moment and when you go back and watch it a second (or third, fourth, etc.) time you are able to pick up on so many more things you may have missed prior. It’s not just story elements either; the way certain words are uttered or the way actors move—as small as Pitt’s role is in this film, it’s kind of akin to his role in True Romance which was small yet unforgettable and many of his actions are the ones that you’re left with, especially since its his words that eventually put our duo where they end up at in the end of the film.
There’s definitely a lot to like about this film and both Sarandon and Davis are absolutely stellar in their roles here—both bring an incredible performance and I’m really quite surprised one of them didn’t win an Oscar (although considering they were up against Jodie Foster for Silence of the Lambs at the time, I guess it’s not a huge surprise). This is definitely a film that was a lot of fun to watch even if I felt like I’d already seen it. If you’re in the same boat as me definitely check it out as the film really is Highly Recommended–not that that should be a real shock to anyone.
Fox releases Thelma & Louise in a pretty nice release. The disc itself arrives in a standard Elite Blu-ray case with decent disc art on the Blu-ray…and, well some inserts and that’s it. No DVD copy or anything this time around. Of course there’s an easily navigable menu system, but other than that there’s really nothing new here to talk about, as the extras are all ported over from the eight year old special edition DVD.
The AVC encoded film makes the various landscapes (hotels, bars, deserts, etc) life look as thrilling as it possibly can, although the main draw here will be of course the final sequence which looks just spectacular. Thankfully the majority of this transfer looks impeccable; with a nice grain haze that is so common amongst 90s films and plenty of nicely detailed indoor and outdoor sequences. Audio is a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix but considering it’s a film about the open road you’d be right in assuming there were some nice directional pans and whatnot. Aside from the few moments of excessive liveliness, it’s a very straightforward mix, mostly in the front channels, with the only real surround and LFE output coming from the cheer sequence in the stadium. Overall though it’s a very solid mix regardless and definitely does what it can with the material.
• Commentary by Ridley Scott
• Commentary by Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis and Callie Khouri
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Extended Ending (with Commentary by Ridley Scott)
• Documentaries and Featurettes, including “Thelma and Louise: The Last Journey”
• Original Theatrical Featurette (with and without promotional narration)
• Multi-Angle Storyboards: The Final Chase
• “Part of You, Part of Me” Music Video by Glenn Frey
• Trailer and TV Spots
Overall it’s a repeat of the extras but the new A/V presentation is quite spectacular looking. Highly Recommended.
Thelma & Louise 20th Anniversary is now available on Blu-ray.