Best Laid Plans isn’t a great film but I suppose one could call it a gem of a crime-thriller. The movie is held up thanks in large part due to the performances from Alessandro Nivola and Reese Witherspoon as well as some slick writing by Ted Griffin.
Genre(s): Crime, Drama, Suspense/Thriller
Anchor Bay Entertainment | R – 93 min. – $17.99 | May 28, 2013
Directed by: Mike Barker
Writer(s): Ted Griffin (written by)
Cast: Alessandro Nivola, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin
Theatrical Release Date: September 10, 1999
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 19.7 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
Plot Outline: Welcome to Tropico, a gray little town smack dab in the middle of nowhere where nothing ever happens–until a botched robbery leaves Nick (ALESSANDRO NIVOLA) 48 hours to pay up or die. Desperate, Nick and his girlfriend Lissa (REESE WITHERSPOON) undertake drastic measures to get their hands on some fast cash. Enter Nick’s old college pal Bryce (JOSH BROLIN), a seemingly easy mark who holds the ticket to the couple’s salvation. But before long, all three will find themselves entwined in a dangerous web of betrayal and seduction.
Quick Hit Review: Best Laid Plans is a well written, finely acted movie filled with plenty of double and triple crosses to keep audience’s attentions through its well paced 93-minute running time. Alessandro Nivola is great in the lead role, Reese Witherspoon gives one of her better performances of her career (behind Walk the Line and Election) and Josh Brolin shows early signs of the actor he became with No Country for Old Men and Men in Black 3 (the highlight of that film). The film also marks Ted Griffin’s only second feature and provides some great, crisp dialogue that would show later in Ocean’s Eleven. With all that said, there was something missing: the look of the movie came across as amateurish, even school project level. Even so, the movie is worth checking out especially for Reese Witherspoon.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0/5
Unfortunately, but not surprising, none of the features from the “Special Edition” DVD were ported over. For those interested, the DVD has a commentary, a featurette, deleted scenes, an alternate ending and the theatrical trailer and can be found cheap on Amazon.
I should also warn that this the most barebones release I’ve encountered as not only are there no features, there aren’t even menus, and so if you want to find a chapter, you’ll have to use the skip button…
VIDEO – 2.75/5
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment as part of the studios budget releases from Twentieth Century Fox, Best Laid Plans never was a good looking movie to being with and this Blu-ray does not help matters. The opening shot of the Fox Searchlight logo showed plenty of dust marks and scratches and sadly it continued throughout the film. Outside of that, the picture still doesn’t look crisp with certain spottiness in places and unrefined detail levels for background elements while close-up objects or characters come across a tad better.
AUDIO – 3.0/5
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track fairs a tad better but not much. Given the low budget quality the movie had to begin with, this lossless track comes through similar to a standard Dolby Digital track. Most of the movie is front oriented, particularly with the dialogue which never really has the highest quality, although every word is discernible. The bulk of the front and rear usage is from the music however even there it’s not very dynamic.
OVERALL – 2.0/5
Overall, Best Laid Plans isn’t a great film but I suppose one could call it a gem of a crime-thriller. The movie is held up thanks in large part due to the performances from Alessandro Nivola and Reese Witherspoon as well as some slick writing by Ted Griffin. Its debut on Blu-ray is less than stellar, unfortunately with subpar audio/video transfers and none of the special features being ported over. Given the relatively high SRP ($17.99 at the time of this writing), I can’t see this being worth the price unless you can nab it for under five dollars.