Kansas City (1996) (BLU-RAY REVIEW)

Kansas City (1996) (BLU-RAY REVIEW)

Kansas City (1996) (BLU-RAY REVIEW)

0 comments 📅29 April 2020, 00:20

Kansas City (1996) (BLU-RAY REVIEW)
DIRECTED BY: Robert Altman
Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Miranda Richardson, Harry Belafonte

Returning to the city of his birth for inspiration, legendary maverick director Robert Altman helms an evocative, bullet-riddled tribute to the music and movies of his youth in Kansas City, a Depression-era gangster flick as only he could make one. Blondie O’Hara (Jennifer Jason Leigh) resorts to desperate measures when her low-level hood husband Johnny (Dermot Mulroney) gets caught trying to steal from Seldom Seen (Harry Belafonte), a local crime boss operating out of jazz haunt The Hey-Hey Club. Out on a limb, Blondie kidnaps laudanum-addled socialite Carolyn (Miranda Richardson), hoping her influential politician husband can pull the right strings and get Johnny out of Seldom Seen’s clutches.

1996’s is a product of good and solid storytelling. Coming at us with no real bells and whistles, it’s a character-driven story that gets by and keeps you watching based on the characters and the plot. Jennifer Jason Leigh is really good here in the of a kidnapper who abducts the wife of a politician and then uses her as a bargaining chip to try to free her lover from the grip of a local crime boss. While I wasn’t blown away by any means, I did enjoy it for what it was. Harry Belafonte is also really good at playing a coke-addled crime boss who spends most of his time in a jazz bar. As a period film, it does its job, keeping things looking just like they would be looking during this time. All these things make for a solid film and will keep you watching from start to finish if nothing else.

Robert Altman is a director a lot of people hold in very high regard and I can see why. He takes this big undertaking of a plot and turns in a very well made movie that comes with a good environment and a great cast. Even the soundtrack is as solid as they come. It even manages to look good here in HD, which I was expecting from this release if nothing else. It earns its spot on the “Arrow Academy” side of things on this Blu-ray release from Arrow Video. This is just the type of movie that made that line what it is and makes a solid watch if you are into just well-made films that tell a good story but don’t really do a whole lot else on the fancy side of things.


  • Original 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary by director Robert Altman
  • Newly filmed appreciation by critic Geoff Andrew
    Gare, Trains et Déraillement, a 2007 visual essay by French critic Luc Lagier, plus short introduction to the film narrated by Lagier
  • Robert Altman Goes to the Heart of America and Kansas City: The Music, two 1996 promotional featurettes including interviews with cast and crew
  • Electronic press kit interviews with Altman, Leigh, Richardson, Belafonte and musician Joshua Redman, plus behind-the-scenes footage
  • Four theatrical trailers
  • TV spots
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio
  • First pressing only: Illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Dr Nicolas Pillai, original press kit notes and an excerpt from Altman on Altman.

Quality of Transfer: 98%

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