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Blu-Ray Review: Shout Factory’s Sliding Doors (Shout Select)

Shout Select's Sliding Doors

Adam delightfully revisits one of the truly great films of the late 1990s with Sliding Doors.  The film being released by Shout Factory in a new Blu-Ray special edition.

The Film

Peter Howitt’s film about the “what could have been” is one of the best Romantic Comedies of the late 90’s.  That is thanks in no small part to Howitt’s wonderful script and the winning performances by future Oscar Winner Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah. 

Everyone daydreams about those “what if” moments.  Helen (Paltrow) does not have to imagine as a chance missing of a train and the catching of said train sets events in motion that create two distinct timelines.  In one Helen find her boyfriend (John Lynch) in bed with another woman.  In the other her boyfriend is able to rush his mistress (Jeanne Triplehorn) out of the flat just in time.  What transpires over the course of the next 90-minutes is one of the most delightful high-concept Romantic Comedy Dramas of the last 20-years.

It is rare to find a high-concept film so grounded in performance, and emotion.  Howitt’s knowing script understands that the concept will only get you so far and its how Helen’s life turns in different ways, but also seems to collide in unexpectedly similar ways is where the heart and humor are best found.  Paltrow shines as Helen, a part that seems tailor-made for her specific gift as the woman finding her way through both timelines. 

Sliding Doors may be a film that you have passed 100 times on a streaming service or even in the video store, a long time ago.  Don’t make the same mistake twice.  Take the road less traveled.  Take the “what if” and give Sliding Doors a chance.  You really won’t regret it. 

Peter Howitt’s film about the “what could have been” is one of the best Romantic Comedies of the late ’90s.  That is thanks in no small part to Howitt’s wonderful script and the winning performances by future Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah. 

Everyone daydreams about those “what if” moments.  Helen (Paltrow) does not have to imagine as a chance missing of a train and the catching of said train sets events in motion that create two distinct timelines.  In one Helen finds her boyfriend (John Lynch) in bed with another woman.  In the other, her boyfriend is able to rush his mistress (Jeanne Triplehorn) out of the flat just in time.  What transpires over the course of the next 90-minutes is one of the most delightful high-concept Romantic Comedy Dramas of the last 20-years.

It is rare to find a high-concept film so grounded in performance, and emotion.  Howitt’s knowing script understands that the concept will only get you so far and its how Helen’s life turns in different ways, but also seems to collide in unexpectedly similar ways is where the heart and humor are best found.  Paltrow shines as Helen, a part that seems tailor-made for her specific gift as the woman finding her way through both timelines. 

Sliding Doors maybe a film that you have passed 100 times on a streaming service or even in the video store, a long time ago.  Don’t make the same mistake twice.  Take the road less traveled.  Take the “what if” and give Sliding Doors a chance.  You really won’t regret it. 

Sliding Doors may be a film that you have passed 100 times on a streaming service or even in the video store, a long time ago.  Don’t make the same mistake twice.  Take the road less traveled.  Take the “what if” and give Sliding Doors a chance.  You really won’t regret it. 

The Transfer

Shout Factory has gotten a beautifully crisp transfer from Paramount/Miramax (or whatever Miramax is called now).  The transfer is luminous in the way that late-90s shot-on-35mm films can be.  Thankfully, the transfer retains all the beautiful grain structure and sharpness giving it an archival film print look.  Bravo Shout Factory!

The Special Features

They include the following:

  • NEW Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Peter Howitt
  • NEW “The Sliding Doors Moments” – A Feature-Length Documentary Looking Back At The Making Of The Film; Including Exclusive Home Movie Footage And Brand-New Interviews With Peter Howitt, Stars Gwyneth Paltrow And John Hannah, And More
  • NEW A Stroll Through Sliding Doors London With Peter Howitt
  • Trailers

The Audio Commentary by Peter Howitt is decent.  Howitt does dispense a lot of factiods and thoughts on the film but also does a lot of the dreaded “explaining what’s on screen”.  If one can forgive this often-occurrence they’ll be treated to some further explainations of things that were only hinted at in the superb documentary. 

The Audio Commentary by Peter Howitt is decent.  Howitt does dispense a lot of factoids and thoughts on the film but also does a lot of the dreaded “explaining what’s on-screen”.  If one can forgive this often-occurrence they’ll be treated to some further explanation of things that were only hinted at in the superb documentary. 

The Sliding Doors Moments: The Making of Sliding Doors is an all-new 75-minute making-of documentary.  As mentioned before, this is an exemplary making-of documentary. Culled from hours of footage shot by Howitt and others this documentary is out and out amazing. It takes you through the entire filmmaking process giving you a peek inside of every portion of making the film. Everyone, including the late-great Sydney Pollack (who produced), is included here. Some of the great tidbits include; John Hannah basically got the film made because of Sydney Pollack making a Robert Towne adaptation of The Night Manager. An answering machine message from Gwyneth Paltrow. Fall out of the financing. A great moment about editing the film with a Pollack suggestion that something is removed from the film that makes the film more intelligent. The dreaded test screenings. The Sundance Premiere, the London Premiere and what they meant to Howitt and the crew. The entire and I mean every part of the product is covered Writing, Financing, Casting, Production, Post-Production, and Release. All done with Howitt’s personal video footage documenting the entire production. To be honest this is the kind of Lord of the Ring-style making-of doc we rarely get nowadays with the participation of most of the cast and crew. Even if you don’t like the movie (which I would be shocked if you didn’t) make this set an instant purchase.

A Stroll Through Sliding Doors London with Peter Howitt is an all-new 12-minute featurette about the locations used by the production. Some of this is used in the documentary. This, of course, is expanded and focusing or the locations and how much they’ve changed. A great fun feature that is similar to the Horror’s hollowed ground features on sister company Scream Factory’s Discs.

Rounding out the special features includes the Theatrical Trailer and 4 TV spots.

The Audio Commentary by Peter Howitt is decent.  Howitt does dispense a lot of factiods and thoughts on the film but also does a lot of the dreaded “explaining what’s on screen”.  If one can forgive this often-occurrence they’ll be treated to some further explainations of things that were only hinted at in the superb documentary. 

The Sliding Doors Moments: The Making of Sliding Doors is an all-new 75-minute making of documentary.  As mentioned before, this is an exemplary making-of documentary. Culled from hours of footage shot by Howitt and others this documentary is out and out amazing. It takes you through the entire filmmaking process giving you a peek inside of every portion of making the film. Everyone, including the late-great Sydney Pollack (who produced), is included here. Some of the great tidbits include; John Hannah basically got the film made because of Sydney Pollack making a Robert Towne adaptation of The Night Manager. An answering machine message from Gwyneth Paltrow. Fall out of the financing. A great moment about editing the film with a Pollack suggestion that something be removed from the film that makes the film more intelligent. The dreaded test screenings. The Sundance Premiere, the London Premiere and what they meant to Howitt and the crew. The entire and I mean every part of the product is covered Writing, Financing, Casting, Production, Post-Production, and Release. All done with Howitt’s personal video footage documenting the entire production. To be honest this is the kind of Lord of the Ring-style making-of doc we rarely get nowadays with the participation of most of the cast and crew. Even if you don’t like the movie (which I would be shocked if you didn’t) makes this set an instant purchase.

A Stroll Through Sliding Doors London with Peter Howitt is an all-new 12-minute featurette about the locations used by the production. Some of this is used in the documentary. This of course is expanded and focusing or the locations and how much they’ve changed. A great fun feature that is similar to the Horror’s hollowed ground features on sister company Scream Factory’s Discs.

Rounding out the special features includes the Theatrical Trailer, and 4 TV spots.

The Final Thought

Sliding Doors is a film not to be missed.  Shout Select has given it the utmost care with their special features making this; Highest Possible Recommendations!!!

Sliding Doors is out now on Blu-Ray

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