Formerly immature filmmaker Gregg Araki has clearly come of age. He brings a steady and respectful hand to the story of two teenagers who react very differently to their abusive pasts, one climbing deep inside himself and the other becoming an extroverted hustler. Both young actors turn in fine performances, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt exudes a heartbreaking vulnerability.
Although I've seen blacker blacks and better shadow detail on many other indie DVD releases, picture quality is decent even if colors tend to be a tad muted. The 5.1-channel mix presents a wide soundstage with lots of movement from side to side, but surround effects are mostly limited to swells in the music. Interesting extras include a commentary by the director and the two leads that shows their obvious dedication to the project. You also get long clips of both actors reading from the novel upon which the film is based. [NR] English, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, and Dolby Digital stereo; letterboxed (1.78:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer.
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