The Film (3/5)
After the murder of his wealthy father, Vincent Towers (Michael Harris) discovers that he has a twin brother named Clay Arlington (Dennis Haysbert). So worried that the police suspect him of killing his dad for his massive inheritance, Vincent attempts to kill Clay in order to fake his own death. Now the film follows Clay as he is recovering from injuries sustained from Vincent’s incredibly elaborate fake suicide attempt. He has amnesia and everyone assumes that he is Vincent Towers.
While plastic surgeon Dr. Renee Descartes (Mel Harris) is trying to repair his face, the two fall in love and begin an affair. Meanwhile, psychiatrist Dr. Max Shinoda (Sab Shimono) is working to help him recover from his amnesia. Suddenly, Clay’s memory returns and he hesitates to tell anyone that he’s not Vincent Towers. When the police detective (David Graf) on Vincent’s case finally has to give up for lack of evidence, the real Vincent shows up to take his life back.
As far as thrillers go, Suture’s plot is as by-the-numbers as they come. The double curveballs here are 1) this film is incredibly stylish, practically to the point of abstraction and 2) the “twin” brothers are played by Michael Harris and Dennis Haysbert, a white actor and a black actor who look nothing alike, even if you squint. This enigmatic and odd little movie makes for some thought provoking viewing with heavy ideas on race, class, dreams, and identity though it sacrifices pacing while it works through all of this stuff.
The black and white cinematography of Suture looks razor sharp on Arrow’s Blu-ray. There’s a lot of grain but that’s to be expected considering the original film stock. Trust me, once you see the vast amounts of detail captured on this transfer, you’ll love the way this looks. The audio is next to perfect. There’s a lot of quiet dialog in this film and a strange minimalistic music score but it’s all balanced very well.
The extras on this release are pretty fantastic. The documentary about the film, “Lacerations: The Making of Suture”, is over 30 minutes long and really, really excellent. It tells the story of two first time directors (in their own words) who just jumped into feature filmmaking and immediately got in over their heads. Obviously, they came out on top and made a great film but this doc is just so well done that I was just riveted throughout the whole thing.
There are some unrestored deleted scenes with audio commentary that don’t add much to the story but are worth a look. The audio commentary with McGehee and Siegel and Steven Soderbergh (who was an executive producer on Suture) is really good. There’s a great deal of excellent filmmaking talk here with the origin story of how these directors got into movies as well as their inspirations for this film. There’s some trailers for Suture, an early short film by the same directors, a production still gallery, and a cool booklet with a piece by Philippe Garnier and a reprint of the original promotional material for the film in Sight & Sound.
With humor so dry, you’ll need a glass of water to wash it down and a central conceit so heavy-handed you’d quite literally have to be blind and deaf to miss, Suture isn’t going to be for everybody. This is masterfully edited and shot and strange enough to make it a very cool movie but I was really glad that this wasn’t too much longer than 90 minutes. This is definitely a showcase for one of the most handsome dudes with one of the sexiest voices in the industry. Yep, I’m talking about Dennis Haysbert. Who’s got a man-crush? Me, that’s who.