To Die For 4K UHD Is the Pick of the Week

Somehow, when Oscar-nominated director Gus Van Sant is discussed, his 1995 film To Die For isn’t usually talked about, which is disappointing because it sadly remains a prescient, wicked satire on society’s continuously dehumanizing obsession with celebrity.

Buy To Die For The Criterion Collection 4K UHD

Nicole Kidman (in a breakthrough performance) stars as Suzanne Stone, a beautiful, manipulative weathergirl at her small-town cable station, who dreams of being on national TV, but feeling that her middle-class husband Larry (Matt Dillon) is cramping her style, she plans to have him killed. She gets high schooler Jimmy (Joaquin Phoenix), who is in love with her, to commit the crime. Obviously, the plan goes awry, and Larry’s family begins to suspect that she’s the culprit.

To Die For may not be as edgy as A Face in the Crowd (1957) and Network (1976), but it is just as contemporary and fatal because it presents our society’s now-pitiless devotion to reality TV, social media, and the news, and that there’s really no turning back. We’ve completely given ourselves up the falsity of certain notions of the so-called “good life”, that we’ll do anything to get it, and that’s really disturbing.

Honestly, I don’t exactly know why the film is getting the 4K treatment, considering that it’s not one that is spectacle, but since it is a modern film, I guess I get it. There isn’t much in the supplements department outside of deleted scenes and a new commentary with Sant, director of photography Eric Alan Edwards, and editor Curtiss Clayton. And there’s a new essay by film critic Jessica Kiang. But if you happen to be a fan of this very funny black comedy, then you’re not likely to find a better edition than this one by Criterion.

Other releases:

Saint Omer (Criterion): A blistering courtroom drama based on the true story of young woman accused of killing her 15-month-old daughter, as a novelist uses testimonies from the trial to write her own adaptation of the myth Madea, but things don’t go quite as planned.

Patrick (Indicator): A gruesome 1978 cult horror thriller about a comatose patient who seems to use his psychic powers to manipulate everything and everyone around a young nurse he becomes obsessed with.

The Iron Claw (Lionsgate): A portrait of the Von Erichs, a dynasty of wrestlers who made a great impact on the sport from the 1960s to now.

They Drive by Night (Warner Archive): George Raft and Humphrey Bogart star in Raoul Walsh’s underrated 1940 drama as two brothers struggling as truck drivers, who get mixed up in tragedy and with a screwy dame (Ida Lupino).


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