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The Independent Critic

Dennis Haysbert, Mel Harris, Michael Harris, Dina Merrill, Sab Shimono
Scott McGeehee and David Siegel
93 Mins.
Arrow Films (Blu-Ray/DVD)

 "Suture" Gets the Arrow Blu-Ray/DVD Treatment 

The directorial debut of Scott McGeehee and David Siegel (2012's What Maisie Knew), Suture is a thriller where nothing is black and white. The film, inspired by Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate along with the desert noir of Detour and the black and white widescreen beauty of Hiroshi Teshigahara.

In the film, 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. When originally shot in the early 90's, the film attracted the attention of Steven Soderbergh, who came on board as executive producer and an enthusiastic patron. The film became a festival darling, capturing Sundance's Best Cinematography prize but never quite matching its festival success with box-office success.

The film seems a bit of an odd choice for Arrow's treatment given their usual preference for horror, cult and classic cinema, though I suppose one could argue a certain cult status for the film. Whatever the reason, Arrow has given the film an absolutely top notch treatment, one of their best, with a wealth of extras:

  • 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

The film is best experienced without a wealth of advanced knowledge. While I can't quite proclaim it the intellectual masterpiece that some have proclaimed it, the truth is it's also far more substantial than many have given it credit for being. The film challenges the audience to sort of follow it along down a path that may or may not make sense, though my sense of the film is that it's less about the destination and far more about the journey. Suture features terrific performances from Dennis Haysbert, a criminally underrated actor, and Michael Harris. As one might expect, the film's production quality up front was already far better than we often experience with films tackled by Arrow. It's even better having experienced the Arrow treatment.

Suture is a quality film that never quite found the audience it deserved. One can only hope an audience will find it now.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic