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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 56:48)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Hebrew, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Portuguese, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Interviews

Sleeping with the Enemy

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 99 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Sleeping With The Enemy, now being 10 years old, still is able to create a mood of terror and suspense. This genre of movie is the predecessor to the late-90’s Scream genre which took the term ‘psychopath’ up to a murderous and bloody state. But Sleeping With The Enemy looks at a smarter, more terrifying psychopath, far scarier than any Scream-type plot could create. Right from the opening scenes, the domineering, possessiveness and two-faced violent side of Martin (Patrick Bergin) can be subtly seen, but do not fully reveal themselves until well into the movie. Rather than a black-caped ghost face foolishly stalking teenage women with a sad motive and not a scary bone in their character, Bergin really latches on as a psychopath, not as blood-thirsty as a Scream-type killer, but so possessive and powerful and normal-looking that it is terrifying to think that some men are actually like this inside. This is similar to Conrad’s novel Heart Of Darkness where at the end of the text, the narrator is able to see the evil that is present, and more importantly able to see that this evil is present within all of us, waiting to expose itself. This is a frightening thought that evil, such as Bergin’s character, might actually exist within many men out there.

The psychotic Martin also has a wife, Laura, played by the stunning and incredibly young Julia Roberts (popularly from Pretty Woman and Erin Brockavich). Roberts is just an amazing actress, really having so much power to convey her emotions through her face. Her bleak, straight face in the opening scenes shows no emotion, but her eyes tell it all – the fear of her husband, the fear of imperfection-fuelled beatings and the fear that she lives every single day of her life. As Roberts always is, she is incredibly beautiful in this movie, and incredibly young. But how can this be – this movie was released one year after Pretty Woman was. But none the less, she still looks radiant and beautiful, and performs nicely on screen.

One must think that I am the only person who actually liked this movie. Leonard Maltin said it was predictable and suspense-less, but I would have to disagree, saying that this film does offer some truly jumpy moments and a building sense of doom, danger and frustration.

The plot is fairly simple, yet hard to summarise without giving anything away. Laura (Roberts) is married to the violent, perfectionist Martin (Bergin) who beats her if towels are unaligned, or if the cupboards are not perfectly straight, but then tries to buy redemption from her with roses and presents. With haunting brassy music with which to make love (well closer to rape) to her, and possessiveness like you wouldn’t believe, Martin is t a real psychopath who loves his wife, and must be with her, and he makes sure that she is with him too. There is not much more that once can say without giving away anything else, but one movie came into my mind while watching this - Wild Things, the sexy 1998 thriller with more twists than the old Adelaide freeway. If you enjoyed Wild Things and haven’t seen Sleeping With The Enemy, you should thoroughly enjoy it.

  Video
Contract

The video is presented in a widescreen ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. There is some very minor film artefacts which are not at all distracting, however there is a large amount of grain in some of the darker scenes of the movie which is apparent and mildly distracting. There are no MPEG artefacts nor any aliasing. The quality of the video transfer is incredibly high, especially given the age of the film.

The colours appear slightly soft and toned down in the opening scenes but brighten up in key scenes as the film progresses, with some explosive bright reds which do not suffer from any colour bleeding. The image on screen is incredibly sharp and renders the soft colours and detailed scenery incredibly well.

The shadow detail is good, but not brilliant. Some of the black shadows merge together with the actors which looses definition, but still this is only noticeable in one scene. The blacks are not a rich black, they appear slightly dark blue, but the consistency of the blue-blacks means that it is not such a problem as the colour is constant and does not change through the film.

The layer change occurs at 56:48 and is incredibly neat in the change of scenes in a total silent blackout. The only fault with the layer change is that it is placed slightly late, with the audio from the next scene just starting when the layer change occurs, creating a break in the audio. This is similar to Coyote Ugly and the layer change on that disc. But apart from that the layer change is neat and fairly unnoticeable.

  Audio
Contract

There is only one audio track on this disc, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Pro-Logic track. The surround use is frequent and effective, creating a mysterious feel to the movie by the use of natural and subtle effects such as waves crashing. The score by Jerry Goldsmith is both calm yet tense and foreboding at the same time. The melodic and harmonic qualities of the music create a haunting and mysterious tone to the film. The use of Goldsmith’s score throughout the film is used to create the suspense and the jumpy moments. The dark brassy theme adds a really terrifying theme to the score, and adds to the foreshadowing in the movie.

The sound is crystal clear throughout the feature, with all dialogue being audible and legible. The surround use is effective, appropriate and nicely used, yet there is no subwoofer action. But a film such as this really doesn’t require it, but it would add a real depth to the sound.

  Extras
Contract

The extras are reasonably good given the year of the film, but are lacking compared to films from recent years. The menus are static with no music, but are incredibly easy to navigate through. Also included is the theatrical trailer and interviews. The trailer is presented in fullscreen and suffers severely from film grain. This is presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Just a note with the trailer, do not watch this until you have seen the movie as it contains many spoilers. The interviews total up to nearly 6 minutes of footage with interviews from Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin, Kevin Anderson, Joseph Rubin and Leonard Goldberg. They are interesting yet incredibly short. They offer some insights into the director’s thoughts on the plot and the psychopath.

  Overall  
Contract

Sleeping With The Enemy is a creepy insight into a more realistic and relevant psychopath which is excelled with the use of Roberts in the earlier stages of her career. The video transfer is superb for a film of its time and suffers only from minute problems that are not irritating to the lazy watcher’s eye. The pro-logic audio transfer is also superb, and offers a prominent surround use, the best I have heard on a pro-logic track. The extras are good, but still largely lacking. For fans of the genre, film or actress, this is a must-have disc, and still is worthy of a hire if you are not such a fan. Try before you buy definitely, but don’t let this disc slip by you.


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      And I quote...
    "A superb video and audio transfer with good quality, but low quantity extras for psychotic film - no...really, it is. Whatever you do, don’t let this disc slip by you."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nowa DS-8318
    • TV:
          TEAC 68cm CTV
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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