The untimely death of Tony Scott yesterday marked the end of a career that has been a major influence on contemporary cinema. While Scott had his detractors who would dismiss his films as "music clips", it's certainly not unrealistic to say that his work helped define the modern action movie.
While his films will no doubt be re-scrutinised and re-evaluated as a now-closed body of work, here are our suggestions for the five essential Tony Scott films worth owning on Blu-ray. Let's hope that further releases of his films will include a much-needed Blu-ray version of The Hunger.
Love it, loathe or find it unintentionally hilarious to the modern eye, Top Gun has become a pop-cultural touchstone inspiring any number of imitations and parodies, in addition to launching the action career of Tom Cruise. The Blu-ray includes a DTS-DH 6.1-channel soundtrack that will challenge any home-theatre set-up.
Tarantino originally wanted to direct this himself, but — so the story goes — he eventually lost interest in getting it made, and sold the script instead. According to the commentary track, however, Tarantino was pleased with what Scott did with his film, and it has remained a popular film that's notable for some stand-out performances, including, of course, a young Brad Pitt.
Taut, tense and terrific, Crimson Tide proved that Scott could switch from over-blown action scenes to directing almost literal locked-box dramas. Dariusz Wolski's cinematography seems wonderfully constrained by the submarine setting, adding to the overall feel of claustrophobia and fear. It's best viewed in the original 2.39:1 aspect ratio, which is preserved on the Blu-ray.
Originally a futuristic techno thriller, the slow march of time has proven to be frighteningly prescient in some areas. A stellar cast bolsters the 1984-style paranoia that infects the film, and the sharp-eyed should look for snippets of Seth Green and Jack Black in small (but amusing) roles. And if Will Smith's dialogue seems to have a familiar cadence at times, just remember that Aaron Sorkin is said to have been an uncredited writer on the production.
The last film that Scott directed, Unstoppable was seen by some reviewers as a return to form after lacklustre offerings like Domino and the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. Unstoppable picked up an Oscar nomination for its sound (eventually losing out to Inception) and the Blu-ray release is the best hope for experiencing something similar to the theatrical audio work.