OUT OF SIGHT But Never Out of Mind

It’s a great time to revisit Steven Soderbergh’s classic with a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.

I’ve watched Out of Sight three times since I received the Kino Lorber Blu-ray last summer. I used to think of Out of Sight as a precursor to the Ocean’s films, a star-studded crime caper trial-run for Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney. After this slew of revisits I’ve now begun to think Out of Sight is the grittier Ocean’s Eleven, a movie that laces its bouncy tone with an undercurrent of real danger.

Kino Lorber put out both 4K UHD and Blu-ray versions of this film. I read a few reviews that knocked the UHD version for some color grading issues, but I can’t speak to those. The Blu-ray presentation, however, is rock-solid. Kino ports over the old special features from the film’s DVD release, so there’s nothing new to report on that front. Soderbergh is always a good listen, so the commentary track featuring him and writer Scott Frank is worthwhile if you’ve never heard it before. The making-of featurette, “Inside OUT OF SIGHT,” is a sugar-coated blast from the past.

Overall, the Blu-ray release is a bare bones affair that I can only recommend purchasing just for the sake of having a physical copy of the film. If you already own the film and you’re dead set on upgrading to UHD, then go for it. Otherwise, you can save your money for something else.

That said, the real joy of Kino’s release is that it forced me to spend more time with the movie than I had in a while, and my appreciation for it has multiplied. Out of Sight is a perfectly crafted movie, fine-tuned to the point that it plays like the first time every time because there is just so much to appreciate.

Where do you even start when recounting Out of Sight’s strengths? The onscreen chemistry among the cast members is crackling and every single combination of actors is a delight. Jennifer Lopez and Clooney are as electric a screen duo as we’ve seen in the last 30 years. Much has been said over the years about their trunk scene early in the film, but for my money it’s their bar scene later on that cements their status as an iconic screen couple. You know how you can tell Lopez’s federal agent Karen Sisco and Clooney’s professional criminal Jack Foley are perfectly calibrated in characterization and performance? Not only does Out of Sight ascend to another level when they’re together onscreen, but the characters are in constant conversation with each other, even when they aren’t together. The tension builds when they’re apart, supercharging their moments together.

The dialogue is as sharp as the characters’ wits, so each line is loaded with subtext, humor, and danger—whether the characters are smart (Foley, Sisco, Ving Rhames’ Buddy Bragg), cocky (Don Cheadle’s Maurice), or, in the surest sign of the script’s genius, dumb (Steve Zahn’s Glenn). Every conversation crackles with the type of cleverness that’s as entertaining as any action scene. Soderbergh’s direction is as impeccable as it’s ever been at any point in his career.

Out of Sight is like watching a great team on a championship run: everyone is operating at such a high level that it actually makes greatness look easy. That’s one of the most intoxicating feats a movie can achieve. Out of Sight is a movie you want to drink in and savor every last drop.

Kino Lorber’s release of Out of Sight is out now in 4K UHD and Blu-ray.

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