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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Quick and the Dead (1995)


Starring: Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 14 September 2009

The town of redemption promises anything but. Its main claim to fame is the annual gunslinger shootout where many men start and only one is left standing. Into this milieu of male testosterone walks The Lady intent on revenge against the town’s leader John Herod who had killed her father. In town she meets Cort a once time confederate of Herod's, who has turned to the cloth, and the Kid a cocky young man who aims to win the contest, even though he believes Herod to be his father and winning would mean killing him...

The Quick and the Dead (1995 - 1 hr, 47 min, 4 sec) is a modern take on the western, directed by Sam Raimi from a script by Simon Moore.

Fans of Raimi films will love the increase in picture quality, though fans of traditional westerns may feel something else, as Raimi uses lots of modern cinematic techniques to tell the story, at points to the detriment of the storytelling.

Although it is unusual to have a female as the main protagonist in a western, Sharon Stone portrays her characters with a steely conviction which cannot be faulted, although arguably this is one of her lesser films, it is one of her best performances. Gene Hackman appears to relish his role as the evil Herod, throwing his weight around, taunting just about everyone and holding the town in thralldom. Russell Crowe, as Cort, is finally starting to find his acting feet allowing him to bring some interesting nuances to his character, the ease and speed with which he picks up a gun rather suggests that his conversion to religion is less than perfect. The last main actor Leonardo DiCaprio, has both the acting chops and youth to make his role convincing, his death is especially laced with pathos.

Structurally the film owes more than a little to sports films as the various gun men line up against each other in their elimination round. The various deaths are usually wittily handled. Wit is the main successful ingredient of the film, though, once again, this may turn off western purists.

The film is presented in a 1.85:1, 1080p transfer with English, Italian and Spanish Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track as well as eight subtitles tracks in various European languages and Hindi subtitles. The disc contains no extras and the BDLive has, at present, no extra content.

The picture is vibrant with bright and sharp detail, though the film does suffer from grain, but this is a problem with a lot of older films and is usually deliberate.

So, a good, if not great film, and a nice addition to anyone’s Raimi collection.


Charles Packer

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