• Big Bang, The



    Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Released on: 5/24/2011
    Director: Tony Krantz
    Cast: Antonio Banderas, Thomas Kretschman, William Fichtner, Snoop Dogg, Sam Elliott

    Year: 2011
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    While Tony Krantz may not be a household name, horror fans will remember him as the twisted mind behind Otis, one of the more unusual serial killer films to have been made in the last ten years or so, and the less impressive but fairly ambitious Sublime. The Big Bang, his third directorial feature, steps up the game a bit, both in terms of ambition and in terms of who he’s working with, and the results are pretty impressive.

    The storyline follows a private investigator named Ned Cruz (Antonio Banderas) who is approached by a Russian boxer named Anton Protopov (Robert Maillet), recently let out of the slammer, to help locate his girlfriend, a stripper named Lexie (Sienna Guillory) who has disappeared – and of course, the big stash of contraband diamonds that she’s conveniently taken with her. Cruz takes the case and sets out to hit the streets of Los Angeles to ask around and look for clues where he runs into a bizarre cast of characters will putting together the pieces of the puzzle. First up is an action movie star named Adam Nova (James Van Der Beek) who is up to no good, then he meets a porno movie producer named Puss (Snoop Dogg) who loves his work more than most. Eventually Ned meets a waitress named Fay (Autumn Reeser) with a bizarre kinky side to her.

    As Cruz’s obsession with finding Lexie starts to become all encompassing, he winds up meeting a strange businessman named Simon Krestal (Sam Elliott) and a physicist who works for him, Niels Geck (Jimmi Simpson), who are bound and determined to recreate a real live version of The Big Bang Theory out in the deserts of New Mexico. Cruz finds himself having to out run some cops and a whole bunch of bad guys to get the diamonds and stop The Big Bang from happening, but he doesn’t have much time.

    Told in a series of flashbacks as Cruz is interrogated by a group of no-nonsense police officers, The Big Bang is, a the plot probably alludes to, a pretty weird movie. That’s not to say that it’s a bad movie, because it’s not, but it gets pretty trippy and goes in directions far different than your standard crime noir inspired private eye thriller usually heads. The film makes some interesting comparisons between the matters of the heart that affect us all and the creation of life itself, which provide some interesting food for thought even if they’re not always following the most logical train of thought.

    As far as the performances go, we’re in very good shape here. Krantz coaxes excellent work out of his ensemble cast, with Banderas playing the sort of cool, handsome tough guy you’d expect him to play in a movie like this and everyone else involved sort of playing off of his persona. The woefully underrated Sam Elliott steals every scene he’s in while Autumn Reeser, sporting an interesting tattoo, adds plenty of sex appeal and doing a fine job of steaming things up in her bedroom scene with Banderas.

    The film makes great use of color and tends to go for the weird rather than the predictable. This keeps you guessing even when you don’t necessarily think that you should be and the film turned out to be an unexpectedly quirky surprise. It doesn’t always work flawlessly and there are sequences that seem to be in there only for the sake of upping the weird factory, but by and large this is a slick, colorful, and appreciably wacky detective story with a fairly fierce streak of originality running right through it.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Anchor Bay’s AVC encoded 2.40.1 widescreen 1080p high definition transfer is a good one, and at times remarkably colorful. Black levels are strong throughout but it’s the more primary hues that you’ll notice here, those and the purples tones used throughout to paint a very odd looking world in which all of this takes place. There’s been a fair bit of color tweaking and manipulation here but not at the expense of detail and texture which remain strong throughout. The image is clean, clear and free of any noticeable print damage, though some natural looking film grain is present throughout. All in all, a very nice effort in the visuals department, the film looks great.

    The only audio option on this release is an English language Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix, with optional subtitles available in English SDH and Spanish. This isn’t as active a mix as you might want it to be but surround usage, if subtle some times, does help to fill up the room nicely. The score is placed carefully in different channels throughout the movie while dialogue remains clear and balanced. There are no weird fluctuations with the levels nor are there any audible discrepancies to note. It’s not a reference quality track, but it definitely sounds very good.

    Tony Krantz, who not only directed by also produced, joins co-producer Reece Pearson for a decent audio commentary, the best of the extras on the disc. Here they talk quite a bit about the film’s interesting visual style and the use of color, how they went about getting that nailed down the way that Krantz envisioned it, and what it was like working with the various cast members on the film. It’s a good discussion that covers all of the commentary standards and it gives us a good feel for the type of work that went into getting this project completed.

    Aside from that, there’s a twenty minute featurette entitled Lex Parsimoniae: The Making Of The Big Bang that is a good mix of cast and crew interviews and behind the scenes footage, four minutes of fairly inconsequential deleted scenes, previews for unrelated Anchor Bay properties available on Blu-ray, animated menus and chapter stops. All of the extras on the disc are presented in high definition.

    The Final Word:

    As stylish as it is bizarre, The Big Bang won’t do it for those who want their action movies and thrillers to play by the established confines of the genre. That said, those who appreciate unique and creative filmmaking, those pictures that think outside the box a bit, will at least appreciate what Krantz and company have done here. It’s not a perfect film but it’s both interesting and enjoyable and features loads of slick visuals and a pretty solid cast. Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray debut looks great and sounds pretty decent too, and it even throws in a few decent supplements. All in all, this is a pretty good package.

    Click on the images below for full size Blu-ray screen caps!