While many would see a cast including Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins and Isla Fisher as the major drawcard to see Life of Crime for us, it was the fact that this film was an adaptation of a book called The Switch from the late author Elmore Leonard. If the name doesn't ring a bell, well his other films will - Get Shorty, Be Cool, Out of Sight and Jackie Brown (which was originally the book Rum Punch). There's no doubt that he is a master storyteller so we were quite keen to check out Life of Crime.
Margaret "Mickey" Dawson (Jennifer Aniston) is a loving, slightly naive, housewife whose husband, Frank (Tim Robbins), has been embezzling millions for years and keeping the cash in off-shore accounts without her knowledge. Two career criminals, Louis (John Hawkes) and Ordell (Yasiin Bey), catch wind of his scam and figure if they hold Mickey for ransom, Frank would have no choice but to pay up big. What they don’t plan on is that Frank is head over heels for his sex-kitten mistress, Melanie (Isla Fisher), and doesn’t want his wife back...
We mentioned earlier the strong cast which includes Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins, Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), Isla Fisher, Will Forte, Mark Boone Junior and John Hawkes but they don't just stand around with each putting in fine performances across the board. In fact, these are some of the best performances we've seen for some time, but it's just a shame the material isn't stronger.
Set in Detroit in 1978 the film has an intentionally non-vibrant tone to it which takes away that visual flare, but often sees the image look at little flat but more in keeping with the time period. Still, there is plenty of fine detail throughout and when the film does have a moment to shine - primarily when it moves from artificially lit interiors to exteriors such as the tennis club or beach - the few beach scenes come to mind -
The only audio track on this release is an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (16-bit/48Khz) track that can really only be described as functional. As a dialogue driven film the audio is very front heavy with limited use of surround sound channels while the LFE channel rarely gets a workout. That's not saying it's a bad release though as the dialogue is generally pretty clear with our biggest issue being that the sound mix is extremely quiet so we had to pump up the amplifier well beyond where it is normally set to hear much of the dialogue.
Sadly there are no other audio tracks on this release which would be too bad except there aren't any subtitle tracks either - and that includes English so if you have a need to subtitles you're out of luck here.
Sadly the Blu-Ray release is fairly light in the bonus content so there's not much value here. Sadly we miss out on extras such as an audio commentary, deleted scenes and some extra featurettes which are included on the American release. Anyway here's what's on the Australian Blu-Ray.
Making of Life of Crime (10:03/HD): This brief featurette sees cast and crew talking about how great the story is, praising performances from the various actors and generally detailing the story so don't watch this before you watch the film as there are plenty of scenes from the film interspersed in this featurette.
Theatrical Trailer (1:49/HD): This trailer for the film actually does a pretty good job in selling the film.
Review By: Dave Warner