Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
Paul Sheldon is a successful writer who's growing increasingly tired of writing about a young woman named Misery. He decides to kill her off, despite pleading from his publisher not to do so. Before the book is released, Paul decides to drive up to Colorado to begin work on a new project. Unfortunately for him, he drives his car off the road during a snowstorm and breaks both of his legs. A savior appears in the form of Annie Wilkes, a heavyset woman who nurses Paul back to health. Little does Paul know, he's been placed in the care of a slightly deranged Misery fan who is none too pleased that her favorite character is going to die. Can Paul endure the torturous agony of this psychopath before it's too late?
Is it good movie?
Stephen King's movie adaptations usually suck. Yeah, that's right, I said it. There are a few good ones, but I'd say the ratio of terrible films to good ones is probably 4:1. With that being said, this movie certainly leads the pack of great King adaptations and is arguably the best one ever made. The reason this works so well is because of the fantastic performances from the cast. James Caan is perfect in the role of Paul Sheldon, bringing the perfect amount of gumption, testosterone and stubbornness to the role. Although Paul is the victim, you won't always feel for him- he can be selfish and petty at times, and the characterization is brought to life brilliantly. Kathy Bates is also fantastic, and she earned several award nominations for the portrayal of Annie Potts. I can't say enough good things, the entire cast is good but the movie depends on these two and they make some real cinematic magic together.
Don't discount the direction either, as director Rob Reiner steps away from his usual material to create a beautiful picture that instills a true sense of claustrophobia in Annie's home, and beauty in the scenery of Colorado. The story is also well handled, as Reiner actually takes he time to flesh out the story. When you're making food, you don't just toss it in the fire, you have to wait for it to warm up, and Misery is a slow-roasted delicacy. The film is a subtle potboiler that will affect you and you'll earn the right to be on the edge of your seat. This is a great example of a wonderfully scary story brought to life.
Video / Audio
Video is presented in 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic widescreen and in glorious 1080p. It looks pristine.
Audio comes to us in DTS HD 5.1 Surround and also works quite well. Misery has many subtle audio cues and when it hits the heights, everything sounds crystal clear.
I have a big issue with the extras here and I'll tell you all about it. You know how sometimes you'll pick up a Blu-Ray and it'll have the DVD along with it as a weird little bonus? Well, it happens again here but here's the hook: There are NO extras on the Blu-Ray, none. All the extras are slapped on the DVD, and I don't know about you but I don't want to have to switch discs and watch stuff in standard-def. Anyway, there are a few things on the DVD but the fact that it's not on the blu-ray is quite inexcusable.
You get a commentary from Rob Reiner, which is nicely paced and well thought-out.
Want another commentary? You get one with screenwriter William Goldman, and it pales in comparison to Reiner's because this guy is slightly scatterbrained and leaves a lot of dead air.
Misery Loves Company is a half hour featurette that is well done, providing some great information from the cast and crew that isn't just rehashed from the eommentary.
Marc Shaiman's Musical Misery Tour is a fifteen minute piece that of course details the infamous score from the film. Good stuff.
If you like learning about 'real' stalkers and the facts behind them, you get 4 short featurettes called Diagnosing Annie Wilkes (8:47) , Advice for the Stalked (4:58) , Profile of a Stalker (6:17) , Celebrity Stalkers"(5:08) and Anti-Stalking Laws.
Other than that, you just get a few trailers.
Misery on Blu-Ray is a fantastic way to watch a fantastic film, but Misery loves company and it's a criminal shame to cop-out with the extras. Take it or leave it folks, although this gets great points for the transfer, the lack of proper attention left a bad taste in my mouth.