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Indecent Proposal (1993) Print E-mail
Friday, 12 June 2009
Image"Indecent Proposal" was released in a time in which it was considered a risqué mainstream movie.  By today's standards it is pretty tame.  Despite an interesting proposal, the film falls short of delivering a captivating experience.  The first act of the film flows well and then the story rapidly falls into depths of despair, leaving this film only average.

Adrian Lyne is the director of this film and is known for his sensual filmmaking abilities.  Paramount is also releasing Lyne's erotic thriller, "Fatal Attraction on Blu-ray along with "Indecent Proposal."  Lyne has also created works such as, "Nine ½ Weeks," "Lolita (1997)" and "Unfaithful."  Each of these offers powerful emotions and suspense.  Unfortunately, "Indecent Proposal" does not quite live up to these standards.

The film follows David (Woody Harrelson) and Diana (Demi Moore), a married couple that have been together since high school.  David is an architect and Diana is a real estate agent.  When a piece of property comes to light in Santa Monica, the pair purchase the land so that David can build his masterpiece home.  In the middle of construction a recession hits.  David is laid off and Diana is unable to close the smallest of sale.  With no income the duo go bankrupt and the bank forecloses on their assets – the house.  This may sound familiar to many of you in this economy.

Desperate for $50,000, David and Diana head to Las Vegas with $5,000 borrowed from David's father.  During the first night there they hit beginning's luck and turn $5,000 in $25,000.  Thinking it is that simple they return the next morning to tables where they proceed to lose everything.  Diana just happens to be fancied by John Gage (Robert Redford), a billionaire that plays cards with $10,000 chips.  When Diana appears he views her as his lucky charm.  After first losing a massive hand at cards, he gets a credit of one million dollars for one role of the dice at a craps table.  When she wins the roll, both David and Diana are invited to stay in the hotel and to attend a party by Gage.

At the party, David and Diana get one of the most famous offers in Hollywood filmmaking.  During a conversation about what can be bought, Gage offers the couple one million dollars for one night with Diana.  Disgusted at the offer they leave back to their room, where the couple cannot sleep.  Desperate for the money they actually discuss the proposal.  Deciding to go through with the offer they get their lawyer to draw up a contract, which I don't think would hold up in real court anyway, seeing as how a piece of paper doesn't negate the fact that it is sex for money or prostitution.

It is easy to see what the problem is going to be from the get go.  David doesn't want Diana to go through with it, but Gage and Diana have already taken off in a helicopter.  David turns into a wreck and we know that he is going to turn into a jealous guy who says he doesn't want to know what happened but forces it out of Diana anyway.  The jealousy turns to distrust and drives the couple apart.  Originally thinking that they could take the money and forget that the night ever happened, the couple are driven apart by Gage's wiles.  Diana resents David for letting her do this, as if it was really a test of their relationship. Gage becomes relentless at winning over Diana.  He basically stocks her.  He purchases David's dream house that is in foreclosure, unwilling to sell it back.  Using some sappy stories, Gage finally wins Diana.  However, it is evident that she still longs to be with David.  The theme of the film is that money can't buy love.  Gage sets out to prove that it can, David and Diana try to uphold the fact that it can't.  She finally realizes that Gage is not the better man and returns to David.

The acting in this film is a mixed bag.  Redford does a good job as always, but Harrelson is a bit insufferable.  Moore is attractive and commands respect.  Even Oliver Platt gives a good performance.

"Indecent Proposal" comes to Blu-ray with an MPEG-4 AVC encode and a 1.78:1 aspect ratio.  Unfortunately, the transfer looks like something out of the 60s.  The film is covered with massive amounts of film grain, which I am able to overlook after seeing so many of this discs, but it may be quite distracting for others.  The original print source appears to have a variety of scratches and dust and dirt.  The occasional vertical scratch becomes quite annoying.  The colors are heavily saturated due to a boost in the contrast levels.  The contrast boost causes blooming in the white levels.  Some of the blooming is true to the original production, but other blooming is the result of the digital processing.  Edges are jagged and fuzzy.  The entire image is hidden behind a layer of haze.  Details are better than the standard DVD presentation but are nowhere near good enough for Blu-ray.  The deep black level provides a distinction between the foreground and background.  However the dark interior sequences suffer from no shadow delineation.  Blacks are either solid or weak.  The bright outdoor sequences appear like an entirely different film transfer.  They are vibrant and well balanced and details shine through.  Overall the video quality is a mixed bag, but leans more toward the negative.  Nonetheless, fans will find this to an upgrade form the standard DVD.

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1.  The mix is largely front heavy with only the music score bled into the surround channels.  The dialogue is clean and clear in the center channel.  Occasionally you will hear some effects in the rear channels, but for the most part there is nothing there.  The dynamic range is pretty tight as the film is dialogue driven.  The opening act is the exception.  It seems like the sound mixers got into the swing of the balance of the audio after about 15 minutes into the film.  Frequency response is remains stable in the mids, but is a little washy in the highs.  There is nothing spectacular in the LFE channel.  Even the pop music in the film doesn't make use of the subwoofer.  The LFE channel is there, but is easily overlooked.

When turning over the back of the Blu-ray box it is a bit disconcerting to only see one special feature listed.  And it is true – there is only one special feature.  The Blu-ray comes with an audio commentary by director Adrian Lyne.  This commentary offers a lot of production information but is hard to sit through, as you feel disconnected from the commentary.

"Indecent Proposal" is remembered for its concept, pretty much that one Redford line, but rarely do people remember anything beyond that.  That lack of memorable story is what drags this film down.  The video quality is just about average, but below the standards of Blu-ray.  The audio is solid in terms of dialogue but nothing beyond that.  Fans will like this discs otherwise it is probably just a rent.

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