Panic (2000)
Artisan Entertainment
Cast: William H. Macy, Donald Sutherland, Tracy Ullman, Neve Campbell
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Biographies, Trailers

Occasionally a really good movie is released on DVD that flies entirely under the radar of the public. I would consider ’Panic’ such a film, a first rate noir film that is now available on DVD courtesy of Artisan Home Entertainment. It is the story of Alex (William H. Macy), a man who has spent his entire life serving the family business. Now, in his midlife crisis, Alex wants a change and do something else, but the profession he used to be in doesn’t simply let people go, because Alex was a hitman. One day he falls in love with a young woman and from that moment on his life spirals out of control.

Artisan Home Entertainment is presenting ’Panic’ in a beautiful 16×9 enhanced widescreen version on this DVD. The image is clean and without blemishes. Virtually free of grain or noise and without scratches or dust marks that distract from the movie experience, the bold color reproduction of the DVD helps bring the images to life. Blacks are deep and shadows very well delineated, giving the image good dimensionality. The compression is also very well done, without introducing distracting artifacts in the presentation.

’Panic’ comes with Dolby Surround audio tracks in English and Spanish. Both are well produced and presented on this release. The audio has a natural quality as a result of the wide frequency response. The dynamic range is also very good, making sure to safely accommodate every moment of the film, from the most silent moments to scenes of uproar.

Artisan has also added some bonus features to the release, like an informative commentary track by director Henry Bromell. He manages to add a lot of behind-the-scenes information in this commentary track and always manages to maintain a level that is entertaining and informative at the same time. Five deleted scenes can also be found on this DVD, as well as cast and crew biographies and trailers.

Chances are you have never heard of ’Panic’ but let me assure you that this is a film you may want to give a try. It is a thrilling experience and a very intelligently and sensitively done film.