It’s been so long since we’ve had a good, light-on-its-feet buddy-cop movie that I forgot how much fun they can be. Credit the easy chemistry and rapid-fire dialogue delivery of Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg for making 2 Guns, out in a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy format today, work.
Director Baltasar Kormákur understands the genre and has a nice, twisty screenplay by Blake Masters (based on the graphic novel from Steven Grant) that thankfully doesn’t take itself too seriously. From my original review of 2 Guns:
“Washington has his usual swagger and toothy grin, while Wahlberg is in his hyperactive and confident mode, but behind it all are two guys desperate for a win. It’s actually pretty fun rooting for the bad guys until it’s eventually discovered that neither are the petty criminal they’ve led the other to believe they are. Much of the rapid-fire dialogue has an improvisatory feel, and 2 Guns gets a lot of mileage out of forcing them apart, knowing the audience wants them back together again as soon as possible.”
The Blu-ray includes an informative audio commentary from Kormakur and producer Adam Siegel, plus 8 deleted/extended scenes that fit the bill, but the real surprise is the 30-minute making-of doc Click, Click, Bang, Bang: The Making of 2 Guns. Sure, it’s a slick studio-approved piece with the usual amount of b-roll and interview footage, but like the movie, it’s also surprisingly faced-paced and entertaining. This release pretty much defines the term mindless Hollywood fun, but so often the “fun” part doesn’t apply. Here it definitely does.
Joanne Woodward won a Best Actress Oscar and her portrayal of Eve White, a Georgia housewife with three distinct personalities, created an entire subgenre of dramatic stories that has been explored in a similar way since. Woodward herself played Sally Field’s psychiatrist in the 1976 multiple personality drama Sybil.)
Based on the true story of Chris Costner Sizemore as written by her psychiatrists Corbett H. Thigpen and Hervey M. Cleckley in their book, The Three Faces of Eve starts out very clinical indeed. No less a trusted authority than Alistair Cooke opens the film with a direct address to the audience where he explains that everything depicted actually happened. Now multiple personality disorder is a staple of books, movies, and TV shows, but in 1957, people were still reluctant to accept something this strange as based in fact.
Woodward is solid and the entire film turns on her performance, which gets deeper and more convincing as the story opens up a bit. At first, writer/director Nunnally Johnson‘s script follows the utilitarian tone of Cooke’s narration. When Eve walks into a psychiatrists’s office with a problem, we’re already way ahead of her, and it takes a while for her husband to catch up. But things evolve from there, as does Woodward’s differing mannerisms (hindered sometimes by some really obvious music cues when she “changes”) and her evolving relationship with her doctor (Lee J. Cobb).
The Three Faces of Eve deserves credit for playing out in a down-to-earth fashion what could have been considered a sci-fi premise in its time, even if it starts out a bit stagey. It was kind of a weird choice to go with an uber-realistic tone and then film the movie in the ultra-widescreen CinemaScope format, but it brings some aesthetic beauty to the story and the transfer to Blu-ray looks incredible.
A nice extra feature shows Fox Movietone newsreel footage of Woodward accepting her Oscar, along with some quick flashes of other stars that attended the event. In addition, there’s a feature-length commentary from film historian Aubrey Solomon that contains interesting historical factoids about the making of the movie and its place in film history.