Archive for the ‘Suspect (1987)’ Category

Blu-ray Cover

Distributor: Mill Creek Entertainment

Release Date: September 12, 2017

Region: Region A

Length: 02:01:33

Video: 1080P (MPEG-2)

Main Audio: 2.0 English Dolby Digital Audio

Subtitles: English

Ratio: 1.78:1

Note: This is the Blu-ray debut of this film. It was previously available on DVD in the 1.33:1 “pan and scan” format.


Suspect follows Kathleen Riley (Cher) is an overworked Washington D.C. public defender who needs a vacation but instead finds herself assigned to a thankless case that promises nothing but headaches. Her client is Carl Wayne Anderson (Liam Neeson), a homeless man who also happens to be a deaf-mute. He has been charged with the murder of Elizabeth Quinn—a file clerk at the justice department. Meanwhile, lobbyist Eddie Sanger (Dennis Quaid) gets saddled with jury duty just when a critical bill is coming up for vote. When Eddie finds evidence that he considers vital to the case, he contacts Kathleen Riley—but, of course, this is a violation of the law. Jurors aren’t supposed to have any contact with anyone involved in the trial. The evidence eventually leads Kathleen on a dangerous trail from Washington’s seamy underbelly to the highest levels of government—and the closer she gets to the answer, the more her life is in danger.

Many critics have criticized the film for its unlikely premise or for what they perceive to be insufficient character motivation. This might be a valid complaint, but there aren’t many films in the genre that don’t stretch credibility to some extent. Neither of these issues seem particularly problematic because the premise could potentially happen even if it isn’t likely. This is what makes it an interesting enough concept to build a film around it. What’s more, the undeveloped characters and their lack of motivation is a complaint that one could make about most movies. Suspect is far from a masterpiece, but it is incredibly engaging and well worth watching if you happen to enjoy courtroom dramas.


The Presentation:

3.5 of 5 Stars

Mill Creek Entertainment’s Blu-ray disc is protected by the standard case with a sleeve featuring film related cover art. The artwork is reasonably attractive and a marginal improvement over some of the film’s earlier home entertainment releases.

The disc’s static menu features a design that incorporates the American flag and the overall result is reasonably attractive if not terribly original. Only two menu options are available: the “play movie” option and an off and on switch for the subtitles.


Picture Quality:

2.5 of 5 Stars

The 1080P transfer was rendered in the 1.78:1 ratio, which presumably means that there is slightly more information at the top and bottom of the frame than what audiences saw during the film’s theatrical release in 1987 (which was presented in the 1.85:1 ratio). What we can say for certain is that there is more information at the left and the right side of the film than what could be seen in the poorly rendered “pan and scan” DVD release that fans had to suffer through for years. It is worth picking this Blu-ray up if for no other reason. The image on that release was pretty awful, so it should come as no huge surprise to discover that this new transfer is superior. Having said this, the transfer is far from perfect and one wishes that Mill Creek Entertainment would’ve utilized a dual-layer disc, a higher bit-rate, and the MPEG-4 codec. The image has also gone through quite a bit of manipulation as DNR seems to have been utilized quite liberally. We hope that Mill Creek will eventually realize that grain is preferable to digital artifacts, but they don’t seem to care. The added resolution couldn’t help but help the image and colors are quite naturally rendered, but the processing has left a decidedly inferior image. This is a terrible shame because the image is quite good otherwise.


Sound Quality:

2 of 5 Stars

First of all, let us be extremely clear that Mill Creek Entertainment’s 2.0 English Dolby Digital Audio isn’t at all bad. It is simply not the lossless/uncompressed “high definition” track that anyone with a basic knowledge of the Blu-ray format would have every reason to expect. What we get is a solid “standard definition” audio track that one would expect to find on a regular DVD. This is rather unfortunate, because it seems like a missed opportunity. It is a strong enough Dolby Digital transfer to be sure, and there are those who won’t mind. After all, the image is in high definition, and many people only utilize a television’s built-in speakers. If you happen to be one of these people, this track will more than suffice.


Special Features:

0 of 5 Stars

Fans of the film will want to hold on to their DVD editions of Suspect because Mill Creek Entertainment hasn’t carried over the Peter Yates commentary track that was available on that earlier release. As a matter of fact, the disc doesn’t include any special features whatsoever.


Final Words:

While Suspect is far from perfect, it is an entertaining diversion that should interest anyone who enjoys a good courtroom drama. Mill Creek Entertainment’s Blu-ray marks the film’s debut in high definition, which means that this is as good as it has ever looked on home video (even if the transfer is far from stellar). Unfortunately, the disc’s Dolby Digital sound elements aren’t much of an upgrade.