Review: 'Out Of Sight' Deserves 'Classic' Status

by Frank J. Avella

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday June 29, 2022

Review: 'Out Of Sight' Deserves 'Classic' Status

Released in 1998, "Out of Sight" marked Steven Soderbergh's seventh feature film. He splashed big with "sex, lies and videotape" in 1989 and would go on to direct both, "Erin Brockovich" and "Traffic" in 2000, snagging two best director Oscar nominations and winning for the latter movie. Viewing "Out of Sight" today, it not only holds up as an exciting crime-heist caper but also as a keen and penetrating character study.

The film opens with suave Jack Foley (George Clooney) effortlessly robbing a bank and then stupidly getting caught. Cut to prison and his breaking out of jail with the help of his friend, Buddy Bragg (Ving Rhames, awesome). Alas, Federal Marshall Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) happens to be on the scene for an entirely different reason and is tossed into a trunk with Foley. Thus begins a sexy, if unlikely, romance. And the caper comes later...

Adapted by Scott Frank (Oscar nominated for his script) from Elmore Leonard's novel, the screenplay is smart, sassy and sometimes requires a leap, but it's also a satiric thriller, so we don't mind taking the disbelief-suspension plunge.

Like Foley, the film itself is as smooth as a glass of bourbon (which both leads like to imbibe in) and super cool. Soderbergh was already a master filmmaker and peppered his movie with terrific talent, including solid early work by Viola Davis, a gritty bit for Nancy Allen, a fun role Catherine Keener sinks her teeth into, and two terrific cameos by Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton (whose character also appears in Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown").

Yet, it's the two leads that give the work its true sparkle. "Out of Sight" is the project that proved Clooney had movie star magnetism. He perfectly embodies a thief you root for. And Lopez is his equal, both seductive and savvy. The trunk scene where they discuss Faye Dunaway films is a classic, as is their later restaurant sequence that turns into a sensual love scene.

Kino Lorber's 4K UHD disc is perfection, using a brand new HDR/Dolby Vision Master approved and color graded by kick-ass cinematographer Elliot Davis. The images just envelop you. The film is masterfully edited by Anne V. Coates (who was also Oscar-nominated).

The disc boasts 22 minutes of deleted scenes, including a full, uncut version of the trunk scene that was initially shown to preview audiences and had to be recut because it took too long for people to recover from it. In addition, there's an original doc about the making of the film (25 minutes) and a terrific audio commentary by Soderbergh and Frank.

"Out of Sight" was a critical success, but never quite caught on completely with audiences. Hopefully, that will change, as it deserves to be considered a classic.

4K UHD Extras Include:

  • Brand New HDR/Dolby Vision Master — Approved & Color Graded by Cinematographer Elliot Davis!

  • Audio Commentary by Director Steven Soderbergh and Screenwriter Scott Frank

  • Inside "Out of Sight": An Original Documentary on the Making of the Film — Featuring Behind-the-Scenes Footage and Interviews with Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Albert Brooks, Don Cheadle, Ving Rhames, Steve Zahn, Elmore Leonard and Scott Frank

  • Deleted Scenes

  • Two Theatrical Trailers (Newly Mastered in 2K)

  • 5.1 Surround & Lossless 2.0

  • Triple-Layered UHD100 Disc

  • Optional English Subtitles

    "Out of Sight" will be available on 4K UHD on June 28.

    Frank J. Avella is a film journalist and is thrilled to be writing for EDGE. He also contributes to Awards Daily and is the GALECA East Coast Rep and a Member of the New York Film Critics Online. Frank is a recipient of the International Writers Residency in Assisi, Italy, a Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship, and a NJ State Arts Council Fellowship. His short film, FIG JAM, has shown in Festivals worldwide (figjamfilm.com) and won awards. His screenplays (CONSENT, LURED, SCREW THE COW) have also won numerous awards in 16 countries. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild. https://filmfreeway.com/FrankAvella https://muckrack.com/fjaklute