LAST YEAR'S best-directed movie hit retail shelves in May, but we're only now getting around to giving it a second look. It's not one of those "special edition" discs (which are often hard to distinguish from the straight transfer jobs that come out first). The few extras here include TV and theatrical trailers (yawn), oddly including the German-language spot that has Catherine Zeta-Jones yelling, "Jetzt steig aus dem Wagen und schiess ihm dem Kopf!" Strong stuff. Spanish and French subtitles are available for the feature, the latter allowing one to read Don Cheadle exclaiming, "Ferme-la, putain!" (Who knew movies could have such educational value?)
A mostly useless making-of minidocumentary suffers from having been prepared before the film's release and subsequent four Oscars. "Energy is more important than perfection," explains Steven Soderbergh of his decision to both direct and photograph the film. "I'm all for the accident that happens on camera." You'd rather hear more of his incisive remarks than various cast members gushing about what a genius he is.
Instead, the real virtue to this DVD lies in the many cue points that allow one to precisely fast-forward to scene breaks. Thus, one can choose to concentrate entirely on, say, Benicio Del Toro's Tijuana cop, treating that story separately and viewing his Oscar- winning performance more or less continuously. Still, it's probably best to wait for the special-edition DVD that presumably lies ahead.