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Of all Clint Eastwood’s various roles, the character he plays in TIGHTROPE ($20) is probably the most out of the ordinary. Sure, Eastwood has played cops in other films, but the character of Wes Block is the most human, or certainly the one with the most human foibles. Wes is divorced New Orleans detective, raising two young daughters, who is emotionally closed to women, due to the fact that his ex-wife deserted him and their children. While Wes is emotionally shut down, he is still a man with needs, which are usually met in the red light district. The plot of TIGHTROPE finds Wes investigating a series of murders perpetrated by a sexual predator, who has been strangling his victims. As the bodies begin piling up, Wes begins to see a connection between him and the killer, who has decided to make adversarial relationship personal. The cast of TIGHTROPE also features Geneviève Bujold, Dan Hedaya, Alison Eastwood, Jenny Beck, Marco St. John, Rebecca Perle, Regina Richardson, Randi Brooks and Jamie Rose.

Warner Home Video has made TIGHTROPE available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. Overall, Warner has produced a very nice presentation for DVD, with the disc producing a fairly sharp and nicely defined image. There is some slight softness in some of the shots, but it isn’t particularly bothersome. Much of TIGHTROPE takes place at night or in low lighting, so a good portion of the film is purposely a bit shadowy and nondescript. Colors are generally rendered at a natural level of saturation and flesh tones are pretty appealing. Blacks appear accurate, whites are stable and contrast is just fine. The film element used for the transfer displays some minor blemishes, and very slight grain in some of the darker scenes. Digital compression artifacts maintained a low profile throughout the presentation.

For this release, TIGHTROPE has been upgraded to a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. This is actually a rather nice upgrade, with clean channel separation across the front and effective use of the rear channels. Sure, no one will mistake this mid-eighties track for a newly fully discrete digital mix, but for its age, it is rather impressive. Fidelity is good and Lennie Niehaus’ jazzy New Orleans influenced score has a very nice sense of presence. Dialogue is always completely understandable and the actors’ voices are reproduced with a fairly natural timbre. A French language track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Thai subtitles. Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a theatrical trailer, cast listing and Clint Eastwood filmography.

TIGHTROPE is a solid and entertaining Eastwood thriller, which allows him to portray something other than the usual hard nosed cop- ala Dirty Harry. Warner has produced another fine looking and sounding DVD that will keep fans happy. If you fall into that category, then you’ll be picking up a copy of TIGHTROPE, if you’ve never seen the film then the DVD is the best way to get acquainted with this other side of Clint. Recommended.



Tightrope (1984)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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