• Thelma And Louise 20th Anniversary



    Released By: MGM
    Released On: 02/08/2011
    Director: Ridley Scott
    Cast: Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon, Brad Pitt

    The Film:

    Whatever your opinion on 1991’s Thelma And Louise, it it could hardly be called “unimportant”. Tackling the subject matter of rape and female empowerment, the film took a harsh look at some unpleasant realities that the top films of the day wouldn’t come close to examining; with heavy-hitters such as Terminator 2, Hook, Hot Shots!, and Disney’s Beauty And The Beast, the average film-goer’s interest seemed to lay somewhere between the fantastic and the utterly ridiculous. Twenty years after its release, Thelma and Louise still packs a visual and emotional punch, even if the message has been somewhat diluted by copycats and a myriad of pop-culture references.

    The story follows Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) as they prepare to take a vacation to the mountains together. Problem number one is that Louise is on the outs with her boyfriend, and Thelma isn’t likely to get permission from her emotionally abusive and controlling husband, Darryl. Throwing caution to the wind, Thelma leaves a note and a gift-beer for her husband (good call), packs just about everything she owns including a .38 revolver, and the two women head off in Louise’s ’66 Thunderbird convertible. Stopping off for a drink at a roadhouse along the way, Thelma once again lives a little dangerously by having a few too many drinks and doing the boot-scootin’ boogie with local boy Harlan, a one-two combination that lands her sick in the parking lot. Ignoring her refusal to get physical, Harlan forces himself on Thelma and is just about to get very physical when he is interrupted by the pistol-toting Louise. The crisis is averted for a few seconds before Harlan gets mouthy, and learns the hard way (fatally) that you shouldn’t be disrespectful to a lady with a gun.

    What follows is a bonding story between the two females as they road trip toward Mexico, learning a few lessons along the way, courtesy of the handsome and slippery hitchhiker J.D. (Brad Pitt) and teaching a few of their own when they encounter another fella who doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. In an interesting role reversal, Thelma is forced to take the lead as Louise realizes that there are some things you can’t run from, and the surveillance footage from a convenience store robbery is both humourous and uplifting. Ultimately, this is the story of two women helping each other to discover themselves, and there can be no argument that it succeeds.

    Thelma And Louise has a lot going for it. The strong lead players are balanced out by an excellent supporting cast; Brad Pitt is very good in his first major film role, Harvey Keitel is fantastic for the little time that he is on-screen, and Michael Madsen is as awesome as you would expect in the role of Louise’s boyfriend, Jimmy. Hans Zimmer’s score is also very well-done and fitting, utilizing slide guitar, bluesy electric guitar, harmonica, and a whole host of other instrumentation that becomes part of the scenery as the girls head south. The screenplay has some great dialogue in it, and for the most part, conveys the message well.

    The film also has a few flaws that need to be mentioned. It’s not much of a stretch to understand why Thelma And Louise was so maligned for being a man-hater of a film; although Harvey Keitel is sympathetic to the plight of the main characters, his time on-screen is very minimal and not as effective as it could have been; Brad Pitt is not quite the good guy that he seems and is obviously out for himself no matter what the cost; and Michael Madsen’s Jimmy reveals himself to be a nice guy and a man with a few rage issues simultaneously. One man with a disrespectful tongue catches a bullet at the hands of Louise, and a truck driver who shows up periodically throughout the film could almost be described as a metaphor for overt sexism, becoming a parody of the wolf-whistling construction worker. Ridley Scott’s direction here could be called confused and sporadic as well; some scenes are brilliantly composed and full of action, while others are so ridiculous, they’re laughable (at one point the characters make reference to how beautiful the Grand Canyon is, and the follow-up shot is about 90 percent sky ABOVE the canyons). The third act of the film suffers from some bad pacing and sequences that would’ve been better left on the cutting room floor. Scott seems to go from knowing exactly what he wants, and then either not caring, or handing the camera off to a second unit. All in all, though, it’s a worthwhile effort.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Thelma and Louise comes to Blu-ray in a 2.35:1 anamorphic aspect ratio with a DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack. The picture is a bit of a mixed bag, but more than likely not a fault of the transfer. Rather, the black levels seem to change from scene to scene, and some other sequences appear to have been made deliberately soft by the camera. In some scenes, the contrast level appears way off the charts with the whites being almost blinding, and adjusting the set will result in some of the murky scenes looking subpar. The 5.1 audio track does much better, with the score and dialogue mixed well, though the rear speakers aren’t going to see too much action. The track is free from issues, and is clear at all times.

    All of the extras appear to be ported over from the Special Edition DVD, and are presented in standard definition.

    First up is a commentary by Director Ridley Scott. Scott starts off by giving a brief history of his work in the film industry, and then goes on to explain his interest in doing a character-driven story. He discusses why he was a good choice to direct the film, drawing comparisons to Alien, and casting and filming choices. There’s a lot of information contained, but Scott’s tone and apparent self-importance get tiring pretty quickly.

    The second commentary features Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon, and Writer/Co-Producer Callie Khouri. This commentary is much more entertaining, as the ladies relive the filming and rattle off anecdotes about the process of making the movie. Khouri is especially informative, discussing the script and the origin of the story, and her experience in making her first film.

    Thelma And Louise-The Last Journey is a one-hour featurette broken up into three parts; Conception and Casting, Production and Performance, and Reaction and Resonance. Alliteration aside, it’s a pretty in-depth look at the film, made up of interviews with all of the major players. It covers such topics as the originality of the script, getting the film made, casting and locations, the controversial ending, and its impact on future films and society.

    The Original Theatrical Featurette is a short promotional video consisting of on-set footage and interviews. It has the option of playing with or without promotional narration, and runs just over 5 minutes.

    Deleted and Extended Scenes are made up of 16 scenes that were trimmed from the film, and for good reason in some cases.

    Extended Ending has an optional commentary by Ridley Scott. To avoid spoilers for those few who don’t know the ending of the film, I will only say that this features film past the freeze frame that ends the film. It’s interesting to see, and Scott gives his opinion on why this extended ending didn’t work.

    Multi-Angle Storyboards allows you to look at the final scene of the film done in storyboard format by Sherman Labby, or view both storyboards and the film as a comparison.

    Rounding out the extra features are 5 Trailers and TV Spots, and a music video for Glenn Frey’s “Part of You, Part of Me”.

    The Final Word:


    It’s no Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, which is still the ULTIMATE girl power film, but Thelma And Louise holds its own 20 years after its initial release. MGM puts out a solid release with this blu-ray.
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Steve gave this 3/4 paws.
    1. Alison Jane's Avatar
      Alison Jane -
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Does that mean that you don't like my review?
    1. Alison Jane's Avatar
      Alison Jane -
      Nope. I feel sick on your behalf that you were forced to review this.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Haha....it wasn't too bad. I never saw it before, but i'd heard a lot about it. I guess i was a little underwhelmed, after hearing that this was such an important film. To hear Geena Davis talk about how there were not really any other movies with strong female leads was pretty disheartening...i guess she's never watched any Meyer films or seen I Spit On Your Grave....or Thelma and Louise part 1, The Legend of Billie Jean.
    1. Alison Jane's Avatar
      Alison Jane -
      Mark's greatest contribution to the world of cult films.
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      Right up there with The Tourist and Love Actually.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      haha, we started watching the Tourist the other night, and all i could think of was the "Make sure that you're getting something in trade" (paraphrased line). haha. what a piece of shit.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Is THELMA AND LOUISE Rock, Shock, or Pop?
    1. Paul Casey's Avatar
      Paul Casey -
      Pop. It's such a pop culture benchmark that Rob Zombie remade it as The Devil's Rejects.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I want RZ to remake Brokeback Mountain

      "Fuck you, you don't know how to quit me, fuckin fuck!"
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      Ridley Scott simply remade The Great Texas Dynamite Chase and added higher profile cooze.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Class A gash?