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HURRICANE, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Based partially on Rubin "Hurricane" Carter's 1974 autobiography, The Sixteenth Round, The Hurricane covers Carter's twenty-two year prison ordeal following his wrongful conviction on three counts of murder. It's 1966 and Carter (Denzel Washington) is the contender for the world middleweight boxing title; he is arrested on three counts of murder. After false testimony is given by known criminals in front of an all-white jury, Carter and a young fan, John Artis (Garland Whitt) who was with him on the night in question, are sentenced to life imprisonment. After winning a retrial and again being convicted, Carter withdraws until Lesra Martin (Vicellous Reon Shannon), a troubled young African-American living in Canada, reads Carter's book and initiates correspondence. Lesra and his three social activist guardians, Lisa Peters (Deborah Kara Unger), Sam Chaiton (Liev Schreiber) and Terry Swinton (John Hannah), dedicate themselves to winning Carter's release, finally achieving success in 1988.

"This powerful and inspiring story about Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter gives an absorbing insight into the boxer who spent a 20 year fight to clear his name. Watching The Hurricane on DVD in widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, we feel as though we have almost lived through the anguish, humiliation and struggle.

For me, the DVD highlight is a very special feature of 10 deleted scenes, which are individually introduced by eloquent, intelligent director Norman Jewison. Jewison not only explains why the scenes were cut, but sets up each one, leading us even deeper into our commitment with the characters. He explains how the structure and rhythm are the ultimate test of whether the audiences believe that what is happening on screen is real. Jewison insists in having the final cut in his contract these days, and although the initial film was over three hours long, the final version runs 140 minutes. (The only film he made over three hours is Fiddler on the Roof, he remembers.) Perhaps one of the most important scenes deleted is the one in which the cab driver who drove Hurricane that fateful night is found; the reasons for this scene's omission is fascinating.

In an on-location featurette, Jewison reflects on the social condition and how this film is a literature of this generation. We hear from the real Lesra Martin, the real Rubin Carter (who can't stop smiling), as well as a very fit Denzel Washington who talks about the punishing training and the fighting sequences.

In the director's commentary we learn about the long gestation period for this film and the importance of the music. What an impact Bob Dylan's jolting lyrics has had on us all and here the music wails at the injustice and describes joy, hope and despair in a subdued, bluesy jazz score. Jewison is a mine of information; anyone interested in this film, or film making generally, will get a lot out of this. The decisions big and small, the mood, the actors, the cinematography, the music there's a banquet to consume here. The Hurricane is an engrossing experience and one that certainly moved me: the DVD extra features enhance that enjoyment and involvement."
Louise Keller

Review Published: September 7, 2000

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HURRICANE, THE (M15+)
(US)

CAST: Denzel Washington, John Hannah, Deborah Kara Unger, Live Schreiber, Vicellous Reon Shannon, David Paymer, Dan Hedaya, Harris Yulin, Rod Steiger

DIRECTOR: Norman Jewison

RUNNING TIME: 140 minutes

DVD RELEASE: September 5, 2000

DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

SPECIAL FEATURES:
Widescreen
Interactive Menus
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Dolby 2.0 Surround
Scene Access
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette
Deleted Scenes
introduced by Norman Jewison
Director's Commentary
Subtitles for the hearing impaired







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