Circus (SE)/ C+, A
Colu,mbia/2000/95/ANA 1.85

    Circus has got more acrobatic moves than a Chinese team of high flyers. It starts out setting up some promising characters and relationships and then goes off the deep end. Circus is flying with no net and when pieces start falling from every direction they tend to go splat int he saw dust.
    To say Circus jumps about in confusing narrative leaps is probably an understatement. The script strains for cleverness and sacrifices.  Gratuitous violence is liberally sprinkled throughout Circus. Yes, it sometimes gives the flick a dangerous edge, but mostly it's excess moves without substance or necessity. 

Leo does housekeeping.  ©Columbia

     When Leo is reluctantly pulled back into mob by Bruno, it simply provides a center of violence for all the wild twists and turns that Circus writer David Logan has scripted. Leo and girlfriend Lily are looking for the big score and early retirement. Bruno wants his casino turning a profit again. Moose wants his girlfriend back. Julius is looking for the score of a lifetime. Eddie wants Leo's book debt paid up, and Elmo just wants a little payback.
     Rob Walker is the director juggler, throwing more characters in the air at the same time than should be asked of any Circus performer. He has a flare for visual style and Circus certainly moves at a frenetic clip.
    Famke Janssen has a face made for noir. She's vulnerable yet savvy; underneath the beautiful exterior is an intelligence that comes through in every performance. Her Lily is a pleasure.  Brian Conley is a find as Bruno. Nastiness is second nature to him. He plays tough with a variety of rubbery facial expressions that read dangerous. John Hannah, while appealing in some roles flicks like Sliding Doors, doesn't seem wholly comfortable in the action ring. And you gotta like gargantuan Tiny Lester as Moose, an explosive force of nature.
     Circus is an absolutely stunning DVD that does justice to the flashy and sumptuous production design. Lots of high light output and snappy contrast range. Shadow detail is excellent and blacks are positively lustrous. The transfer elements are in perfect shape and every precious bit of detail is resolved to perfection. Color saturation is vibrant with excellent range and depth. Dolby Digital 5:1 surround information is well placed.
     Columbia has packaged Circus as a special edition.  Audio commentary from from writer David Logan and producer James Gibb is featured along with some deleted scenes. A making of featurette is standard fare and production stills and talent bios complete the picture. .


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