The Criterion Collection Movie •••½Picture/Sound •••• Extras ••••
Steven Soderbergh's magnum opus - a taut, understated epic about the U.S.-Mexican drug trade - gets the Criterion treatment in this spectacular two-disc set. The DVD transfer displays the film's various looks to perfection, from the blue-hued courtrooms of Washington, D.C., to the sun-drenched Southwest and the grainy, yellow-tinged Mexican scenes. When the film calls for it, the picture provides all the grit required. Elsewhere, the more glamorous scenes are bright, crisp, and richly detailed. At Soderbergh's request, dialogue is pinned to the center channel, with effects and music spread around the room. Of the three crew commentaries, the one with Soderbergh does the best job of balancing anecdote, reflection, and critical analysis. The second disc includes 25 deleted scenes that nicely fill in the backstory, uncut footage shot from multiple angles, and a few fascinating demonstrations of editing. [R] English, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround; letterboxed (1.85:1) and anamorphic widescreen; two dual-layer discs.