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Straight Time Blu-ray Review

“Straight Time” is worth your time.

Based on the novel “No Beast So Fierce,” “Straight Time” is a 1978 crime drama around a lifelong criminal (Max) who is released from prison after a 6 year stint for burglary. Upon entering the real world, Max attempts to go turn things around. He gets a job at a can factory, lands an apartment, and even falls for a woman named Jenny who works at an employment agency. Unfortunately, things go south quickly after an ex-con friend lands him in jail. After a brief stay, his jerk of a parole officer gets him out, but Max snaps and winds up reverting back to his criminal ways by plotting robberies.

Directed by Ulu Grosbard, “Straight Time” may be a familiar crime story of a fresh out of jail man who gets sucked back into the world of crime, but that doesn’t lessen its impact. Grosbard’s gritty directorial  style and the script by Alvin Sargent, Jeffrey Boam and Edward Bunker provide an unsettling and ultimately tragic look at the criminal underworld through the eyes of Max. I wouldn’t call it a character study necessarily as there are facets of Max that aren’t explored. It’s almost a fly-on-the-wall look at Max (at a certain point in his time) who seems to be trapped in an endless cycle that worsens with age.

One couldn’t talk about this movie without mentioning the cast which contains Dustin Hoffman, Harry Dean Stanton, Gary Busey, M. Emmet Walsh, Kathy Bates, and Theresa Russell. Hoffman is in peak form here in what is truly an underrated role for the actor (and an underrated movie for that matter). Veteran character actor Harry Dean Stanton shines as Max’s criminal friend Jerry while Theresa Russell is hypnotic as Jenny the employment agency worker who falls for Max. Why she wasn’t a bigger actress, I have no idea. Bates and Busey are memorable in small roles while M. Emmet Walsh excels at playing a jackass as per usual.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? Expect an impressive new transfer that maintains the 70’s grit.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? This is a clean 2.0 track.

Extras include a theatrical trailer and a commentary by director Ulu Grosbard and star Dustin Hoffman. Note: The back cover lists a featurette but it is not included.

December 29, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , ,

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