It has been nearly 32 years since Ridley Scott introduced the world to Thelma and Louise, and having never visited this picture before, I had an idea of what I was getting myself into, but no idea the extent of the journey I was about to be thrown into. While the ending of the film has been parodied time and time again, as well as the movie in some form (thank you Simpsons for showing me Thelma & Louise before I saw Thelma & Louise), there is no denying that this Scott film certainly deserves to be recognized as one of his better works throughout his arguably impressive resume. Criterion has never dabbled with Scott’s work prior to this release, and if it is a tale of time to bring some of his other works to the collection, I, for one, couldn’t be happier.
While Criterion has dipped their foot into the 4K Ultra HD lake, I was given the Blu-ray of Thelma & Louise to review, which is the 2160p/4K, the scan supervised by Ridley Scott himself, and, I can say without a doubt, the 4K would look magnificent based on this scan. The Blu-ray of this 32-year-old movie looks the best it ever has, and most likely ever will. It is an exceptional testament to the care and attention Criterion puts into their releases that this three-decade-old film can look like something released today while still maintaining some of the grain and refusing to clean and gloss over the product itself. It is an impeccable looking disk that will surely satisfy fans of the movie, fans of Criterion, and fans of Ridley Scott.
While the film itself is a tale of two women who are simply trying to have a nice night out and escape the world they’re bogged down by, it is also one that is met with terror and hostility towards women, something that is still plaguing women today 32 years later, which is horrifying in of itself. The film focuses on best friends Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) who are trying to just have a girls’ weekend out and not be bogged down by their jobs or scared of their overbearing husbands. They decide to hit up a dance bar (were these really things? Was this just the ‘90s version of a club?) where Thelma wants to let a lot more loose than Louise and ends up befriend the urban cowboy archetype in Harlan (Timothy Carhart). As their night continues to get hot and heavy with some flirtation, the exhaustion from the heat and excitement leads them to go outside where things go awry. Harlan decides that Thelma flirted with him all night, and that means he’s entitled to her and won’t take no for an answer. Louise is panic stricken about where her friend went, finds Harlan and Louise in the parking lot and decides to take matters into her own hands. Confused by her actions and unsure about how things are going to play out, she decides to hit the road with Thelma and, thusly, they become criminals on the run. Throughout their journey, they’re met with J.D (Brad Pitt), who is a sly hitchhiker with a secret agenda, and Hal (Harvey Keitel), the cop who wants a peaceful resolution to this whole surrender. With everything Thelma & Louise have to deal with throughout the film, it is clear their ambition and desire to be free in life, body and soul, has consumed them, and they became the ultimate symbols of women empowerment.
The performances in Thelma & Louise are absolutely outstanding, and certainly cannot leave any doubt in anyone’s mind why Geena Davis (A League of Their Own) and Susan Sarandon (Bull Durham) both got nominated for Best Actress in the 1992 Academy Awards, as well as to why Ridley Scott got nominated for director, and Callie Khouri (Something to Talk About) won for best screenplay. The film is, simply put, a masterclass through and through, and deserves all of the accolades it has claimed and is a worthy edition to the Criterion Collection. While the film may not be typical for Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, American Gangster, Gladiator), it is certainly an incredible piece of work that delivers on all fronts. With this new restoration bringing forth the best quality possible for this movie, alongside being loaded with features new and old, this is certainly a must-have for any collection. So, strap yourself in for one crazy joyride and enjoy Criterion’s presentation of Thelma & Louise.
Thelma & Louise Special Features:
- New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Ridley Scott, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
- Two audio commentaries, featuring Scott, screenwriter Callie Khouri, and actors Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon
- New interviews with Scott and Khouri
- Documentary featuring Davis; Khouri; Sarandon; Scott; actors Michael Madsen, Christopher McDonald, and Brad Pitt; and other members of the cast and crew
- Boy and Bicycle (1965), Scott’s first short film, and one of his early commercials
- Original theatrical featurette
- Storyboards and deleted and extended scenes, including an extended ending with director’s commentary
- Music video for Glenn Frey’s “Part of Me, Part of You,” from the film’s soundtrack
- English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- PLUS: Essays by critics Jessica Kiang and Rachel Syme and journalist Rebecca Traister
Available on 4K UHD and Blu-Ray from The Criterion Collection on May 30th, 2023.