Review by Michael Jacobson
O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonauer, Jason Mewes
Director: Kevin Smith
Audio: Dolby Surround
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 94 Minutes
Release Date: June 29, 1999
Clerks is pretty
much Biblical truth to anyone who’s ever worked as one, and I would guess that
includes most of us. Kevin Smith,
in his first feature film, has created one of the funniest and most biting films
The plot is simple…it follows Dante (O’Halloran) and
Randal (Anderson), a convenient store and video rental clerk respectively, over
the course of a singe day. They
both offer scathing commentaries of love, life, sex, and even the Star Wars
films. They also make nice
opposites. Dante is the one who
attempts to maintain a semblance of managerial responsibility, while Randal
comes and goes as he pleases, even closing the store in the middle of the day to
rent a video from another store.
The script is crass and crude…in fact, it came close to
garnering an NC 17 rating just for the dialogue (there’s no actual sex or
nudity in the film). As such, this
movie will offend a few of the more delicate sensibilities out there.
But for those who don’t offend easily, there is much to appreciate in
the brutally honest and scathingly funny script.
There are very few sets in the film, and not a lot in the
way of camera movement. Many of the
shots rely on the strength of the cast, as they simply go on and on without cuts
as they speak their dialogue. It’s
also a 16 mm black and white film. In
other words, very low budget—in fact, Kevin Smith paid for the movie by
selling his comic book collection. But
it’s an inspiration to anyone who ever dreamed of making their own film.
You don’t need a lot of money, if you have a good script, a clear
vision, and a dedicated cast.
Considering the limitation of the source material and the inexpensive film stock used to make the movie, this is a terrific, though non-anamorphic, transfer. It’s a bit grainy, but that’s the way it was shot. It’s not the fault of the DVD.
The soundtrack is in Dolby surround, though it mostly only
comes into play with the terrific songs used in the film, which really give the
audio its dynamic range and its multi channel usage.
I am eternally grateful that Miramax released this as a
Collector’s Edition disc. It’s
highlighted by a commentary track with Smith and his cast and crew, which is
funny and insightful. It also
includes the trailer, a number of deleted scenes introduced by Smith, the Soul
Asylum video (directed by Smith), and the very surprising alternate ending.
A terrific features package.