Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 20th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2010
Director: Tamar Simon Hoffs
Writer: Tamar Simon Hoffs
Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Ashley Wren Collins, Timothy Bottoms, Whitney Able, Lilly McDowell, Taryn Southern, Angus Macfadyen, Dee Wallace
Approximate running time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround English, DTS-HD MA Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Odyssey Moving Images
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: When a young woman’s body is found near a campus, the evidence quickly leads the police to a professor at the college, who’s special scholarship program lets those that are chosen to indulge their every sexual desire.
Pound of Flesh was written and directed by Tamar Simon Hoffs, who is most known for directing the romantic comedy The Allnighter, which also happened to star her daughter Bangles singer / guitarist Susanna Hoffs.
Though getting a education has long been the main reason for attending institutions of higher education. It is no secret that many of said people who attend these school’s of higher education, have been known to sow their wild oats and then some. In many ways these acts of indiscretion are merely written off as rites of passage as said participants make their way from adolescents to adulthood. Furthermore while there have been countless films that have revolved around said exploits, it is safe to say that few have ever treaded the path that Pound of Flesh traverses.
The plot is fairly basic, young women in need of financial aid, find a benefactor in one of their teachers, who then sets them up on dates with wealthy men. Only these are not your dinner and a movie type dates. Sex is the main course at these pseudo dates and one day when one girl involved in this turns up dead, the police then get involved.
And while the film does its best to balance its two main plot narratives, the aforementioned sex for scholarships and a murder mystery that is being investigated by an unlikely duo of detectives (one of whom is an alcoholic). There is most definitely a lack of cohesion to the overall flow of the narrative, that all but kills any chance of momentum sustaining.
Unfortunately the problems of this production do not end there, as the direction often calls attention to itself and the way its gratuitously flaunts the abundance that appears in this film. And while a little bit flesh is not necessarily a bad thing, it does quickly become an old hat, when it is served up in heaping helpings.
The final nail in this films coffin are the performances from the entire cast, who’s performance are as schizophrenic as the film’s hap hazard narrative. And without a doubt the most disappointing asset of this production is Malcolm McDowell’s (A Clockwork Orange). Having seen the majority of his more prominent roles and even a few of his minor film roles over the years. I have come to appreciate his presence as an actor. That is why it pains me greatly just how mediocre he is in this film. If any performance that almost comes out of this film unscathed, that would be Timothy Bottoms (Johnny Got His Gun, The Last Picture Show) in the role of sleazy sex addict, that also happens to be one of the most influential people at the institution which the story at hand takes place. Watching this character go off the deep end, is this films only saving grace.
Pound of Flesh comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. The image generally looks crisp, colors and flesh tones look accurate and black levels fare well. It should be noted that there are a handful of moment in which the image has a deliberately grainer aesthetic to it.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround mix in English and a DTS-HD MA Stereo mix in English. Both mixes are clear and balanced throughout, with the slight edge going to the DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround mix in English. Also included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles for the hearing impaired.
Extras for this release include two trailers one under the title ‘Pound of Flesh’ (1 minute 34 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and the other under the title ‘Progressive Education’ (2 minutes 14 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), outtakes which come with a intro with writer / director Tamar Simon Hoffs (7 minutes 37 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a interview with actor Malcolm McDowell (8 minutes 58 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and a ‘Making of’ featurette with comments from Tamar Simon Hoffs and Malcolm McDowell (10 minutes 53 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). There is some info that is retreaded in the ‘Making of’ that is also covered in the interview with Malcolm McDowell. In all there are no great revelations in these two extras, as they are nothing more than your standard ‘Making of’ fluff. It should be noted that in Malcolm McDowell’s interview he also touches upon various other films that he has appeared in. Overall Pound of Flesh gets a good release from Odyssey Moving Images.
Note: Odyssey Moving Images are also releasing Pound of Flesh on DVD.