Suture is not a movie I would normally review for my website, let alone sit down and watch. However, after being given the opportunity to review the latest Blu-ray release of Suture from Arrow Video, I am glad that I gave this flick a chance. Suture, if you’re not aware of the movie, is a black and white thriller about a man framed for murder after nearly being killed by his half-brother. The wrongly convicted half-brother suffers amnesia and is unsure of who he really is. Oh, did I forget to mention that the half-brothers look alike, but are played by Dennis Haysbert and Michael Harris? Look at the picture of them both below, I’ll wait…
Yep, they most certainly are not identical looking and no, this isn’t some mindfrak plot twist at play. In actuality, Dennis Haysbert is merely playing a character, who looks a lot like Harris’ character. That’s it, that’s all. There’s more to it than that, of course, as the striking difference is to illustrate the differences between the two characters, but in the end, it really is just a neat way to shoot a flick and have you thinking hard about the colour of people’s skin. Why can we easily accept that an actor can portray a superhero who fly or turn green, but having a black actor play someone that looks like someone else, who happens to be white, a problem? It shouldn’t be and that’s what makes Suture so damn interesting to watch.
DISCS: 2 (1 Blu-ray, 1 DVD) RUN-TIME: 96 min ASPECT RATIO: 2.35:1 RESOLUTION: 1080p AUDIO: LPCM 2.0 LANGUAGE: English SUBTITLES: English SDH REGION: Region Free RATING: NR PRODUCTION DATE: 1993 RELEASE DATE: July 5, 2016
Inspired by the paranoid visions of John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate and Seconds, the desert noir of Detour and the black and white widescreen beauty of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s The Face of Another and Woman of the Dunes, Suture is one of great feature debuts – by writer-directors David Siegel and Scott McGehee – and a truly unique piece of cinema. The wealthy and self-assured Vincent (Michael Harris) meets his blue collar half-brother Clay (Dennis Haysbert) at their father’s funeral and is struck by their similarity. He decides to murder Clay and take his identity, only Clay survives the assassination attempt with no memory and is mistaken for Vincent. The fact that Harris is white and Haysbert is black only complicates a film that probes into the nature of identity. After viewing an early rough cut, Steven Soderbergh came on board as executive producer and enthusiastic patron. Suture went on to become a hit on the festival circuit, including Sundance where it deservedly won the award for Best Cinematography.
The short nitty-gritty of the flick is about Clay (Haysbert) meeting up with his half-brother Vincent (Harris) after the murder of their father. Clay wants to reconnect with him, but Vincent has other plans in mind. Vincent attempts to kill Clay and make it seem like it was Vincent who died, but the plan doesn’t completely work and Clay wakes up with a nasty case of amnesia. As Clay tries to remember who he is, a cop who thinks Clay is Vincent is on his tail to convict and arrest him for his father’s murder. Of course, we know he didn’t do it, but the cops and even Clay don’t know that. The ultimate question that’s presented to Clay is when someone takes your identity and the person you see in the mirror is unknown to you, who are you really?
I’ll admit, it did take me awhile to get over the fact that the half-brothers are meant to be very similar looking. I kept thinking that some crazy twist was going to pop up and everyone except Clay was in on it. However, once that didn’t happen, I got over that small hurdle and I was able to sit back and enjoy a wonderfully acted black and white noir that kept me glued to my seat. The film doesn’t try to throw in unnecessary curveballs, even going so far as to show you a part of the ending of the movie at the beginning of the flick. Instead, Suture provides a solid story of a man struggling to figure out who he is and who he can really be, with a bit of murderery goodness thrown in.
Praise needs to be given to Arrow Video on the restoration. Scanned in 4K, Suture has never looked better and if you want proof of that, you just need to check out the half-hour interview with the directors to see how the original 35mm looked. I would have loved to see a whole feature on the restoration process. The audio, on the other hand, was an issue for me. I felt it was way too low and I really needed to crank the speakers up to hear everything. However, even with it cranked up higher than normal, there was no distortion.
Features are a bit on the light side with the aforementioned half-hour interview session with various individuals such as directors Siegel and McGehee, Haysbert and cinematographer Greg Gardiner being the highlight. There was also a commentary with the directors, some deleted scenes with commentary, a short film by the directors David Siegel and Scott McGehee, a pretty good sized booklet, and finally some trailers. It certainly isn’t as featured packed as some releases, but the video presentation alone makes up for any issues.
• Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative
• High Definition (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD Presentations
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Audio commentary with writer-directors David Siegel and Scott McGehee
• All-new interviews with Siegel, McGehee, executive producer Steven Soderbergh, actor Dennis Haysbert, cinematographer Greg Gardiner, editor Lauren Zuckerman and production designer Kelly McGehee
• Deleted scenes
• Birds Past, Siegel & McGehee’s first short film, about two young San Franciscans who journey to Bodega Bay along the path set by Tippi Hedren in Hitchcock’s classic, The Birds.
• US theatrical trailer
• European theatrical trailer
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by maarko phntm
Suture is a solid thriller that made a few ballsy decisions in the casting department. Arrow Video’s Blu-ray release offers fantastic video, adequate audio and some features that are a bit on the light side. Overall, a recommended purchase.