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Those who thought that the re-teaming of Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman was going to produce another UNFORGIVEN are going to find themselves somewhat disappointed by ABSOLUTE POWER ($20). Granted, ABSOLUTE POWER is an entertaining enough little thriller, but it certainly can’t compare with Eastwood’s Academy Award winning masterwork. In ABSOLUTE POWER, Eastwood stars as a master thief who witnesses a murder through a two-way mirror. While trying to leave the scene of his own crime, Eastwood’s character is forced to retreat into the vault, which is hidden behind a full-length mirror in the master bedroom.

Through the two-way mirror he observes the amorous escapades of a couple. Things turn ugly as the sex gets rough. The couple struggles over a letter opener, and the woman is able to get the upper hand. Just then, two other men burst into the room and shoot the woman dead. Those two men turn out to be Secret Service agents, just doing their job, protecting the President. The President’s chief of staff institutes a cover-up, placing the blame for the murder on a fictional thief. Eastwood’s presence is discovered by the Secret Service, which makes a real thief a political liability for the President and a target for assassins. In addition to Eastwood and Hackman, the top-notch cast of ABSOLUTE POWER includes Ed Harris, Scott Glen, Laura Linney, Judy Davis, Dennis Haysbert and E.G. Marshall.

Warner Home Video offers both a Letterboxed and pan and scan presentation for ABSOLUTE POWER on opposing sides of the DVD. The pan and scan transfer is about as good as this type of presentation gets. The image is relatively sharp, despite being blown up. Because the image is blown up, it is slightly grainy. The colors on the pan and scan transfer are saturated, but remain realistic. Since ABSOLUTE POWER was produced in anamorphic wide screen, the Letterboxed version is definitely preferable. The Letterboxed transfer is nearly dead on in reproducing the 2.35:1 theatrical framing. Cinematographer Jack N. Green did a terrific job on the film, and his work is well served by this Letterboxed video incarnation. The transfer is crisp and well defined, even during the most difficult dark sequences. Colors also reproduce beautifully, with great depth and clarity. Artifacts were somewhat detectable during the darkest sequences.

The Dolby Digital soundtrack has a subdued sound design, which uses the channel separation sparingly. The soundtrack does have depth and Lennie Niehaus’ score benefits from the Dolby Digital encoding. Other sound options include a matrixed Dolby Surround track. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish. There are interactive menus, which feature biographies/filmographies and production notes.


Absolute Power (1997)


DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 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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