Clark’s Another Day in
Paradise has all the ingredients that often turn me off to a movie:
blatant drug use; kids swimming on the periphery of life; brutal
beatings and cold-blooded murder all captured with hand camera
techniques in many low light situations. So I am baffled by the way Another
Day of Paradise affected me. I often found the characters sympathetic
despite obvious reservations. Maybe it was the way relationships
that were developed. The
interaction was often unexpected. As the film raced ahead I was more
and more involved with their waiting fates. You’ve got to hand it
to Clark. His first feature, Kids was endlessly fascinating to watch
despite characters that were a turn off. Clark musters the magic
again as he mines depths of society for cinema entertainment.
Mel and Sid hold court.
On the surface
Another Day in Paradise may be just another crime spree, a road movie with losers
self-destructing. But it’s also about family and relationships and
love. It’s a trip worth taking.
James Woods is right in his perfect
screen element as drug selling low life criminal Mel. Woods makes
Mel fascinating to watch yet repellent. He’s unpredictable,
violent yet strangely compassionate. In the end Mel is the
cold-hearted killer. You can look into Woods’ olive pit eyes and
know he means business. Melanie Griffith is very sympathetic as Sid,
Mel’s long time companion in bed and crime. The quartet of actors
is completed by Vincent Kartheiser and Natasha Gregson Wagner is
excellent along side their more experienced co-stars.
Bobbie and Rosie listen
carefully. ©Anchor Bay
Clark's style doesn't make for a punchy looking DVD. Still, the transfer
is very accurate. There is virtually no edge enhancement and at
first glance the image may look a little soft. This is not the case.
It's a clean image. Color varies according to lighting conditions.
Some of the scenes with more interesting lighting techniques come
across very well on the DVD. Look at the wonderful way Bobby's face
is lit when the book of matches flares in an early scene. There are
scenes with grain that are well controlled. The grain has a smooth
feel, like film, as opposed to a choppy video look. Another
Day of Paradise has an amazing Blues and Soul score filled with moody gems; everybody
from Clarence Carter to Otis Redding to Willy Dixon to Bob Dylan. They compliment the
film with unusual insight. The music punches up the visuals
effectively Clark's overall use of sound is excellent. Pans move
with seamlessly from speaker to speaker in this Dolby Digital 5:1
There are two versions of Another Day in
Paradise on this DVD, the theatrical release and a director's
cut. There's about five minutes additional in the later and I see no
reason why not to watch the extra cursing and sexual activity. The DVD also includes audio commentary by director Clark and as
music video as well. Clark's commentary is honest and straight
forward. He details the genesis of the project, points out the
improvised scenes and slides easily into tales about the principals
involved in Another Day in Paradise. Clark's movie making
philosophy can be summed up by his comment :"I just wanted
people to stay loose, not be afraid to do nothing."