The Yards Exclusive Unrated Director's Cut—Miramax

Video: 3
Audio: 4
Extras: 3

The Yards is a moody little film noir that, while pretty to look at, doesn't become the movie it desperately wants to be. It's cut cleanly from the Mean Streets cloth, as it tells the story of Leo (Mark Wahlberg, barely making eye contact with anyone), a recently paroled thief. Leo's attempts to go straight run afoul by his Uncle Frank (James Caan, sporting a nice mustache) and best friend Willie (Joaquin Phoenix), both shady characters involved in the corrupt world of railroad contractors. There's also some creepy sexual undertones between Leo and his cousin Erica (a pre-Oscar Charlize Theron). The visuals (in anamorphic 2.35:1) seem kind of foggy, which seems to be the director's intention but does not look very good. The Dolby Digital 5.1 is the highlight of the entire package, providing a rich soundscape that achieves what the film as a whole could not.

The special features on this edition are full of backslapping and self-indulgence. There's a brief behind-the-scenes featurette, a look at the visual inspirations behind the design of the film, a round-table discussion with the actors, some deleted scenes, and a commentary track. All are just as dry as the film itself. But it sure is swell to see these filmmakers all getting along for a film they all believe in—several times over. The film is nice to look at but adds nothing new to the genre.

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