Director Ridley Scott’s Academy Award-winning 1991 Americana buddy movie gets a fresh digital makeover and returns to the high definition format in Thelma and Louise (Criterion, rated R, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 129 minutes, $39.95).
Two very close and fiercely loyal friends — Louise Sawyer (Susan Sarandon) and Thelma Dickinson (Geena Davis) — turn a weekend road trip into a fugitive getaway after Louise kills a man for attempting to rape her best buddy.
The waitress and housewife are now on the run in a vintage turquoise 1966 Thunderbird convertible as they escalate their criminal hijinks across the Southwest while in pursuit by Arkansas police detectives.
Of course, the two actresses dominate (both nominated for Oscars for their roles) as they embrace the movie’s dark comedic elements and action with the extreme feminist message of tough female anti-heroes outsmarting some violent sexist male in full play.
The supporting cast empowers their efforts led by Michael Madsen as Louise’s aggressive but caring boyfriend, Christopher McDonald as Thelma’s overbearing husband, Harvey Keitel as a sympathetic Arkansas State Police detective and Brad Pitt as Thelma’s fleeting love interest picked up on the road.
This new transfer was created from the 35mm original camera negative, which was scanned in 4K resolution and supervised by Mr. Scott.
It consistently highlights beautiful Southwest panoramas and those unforgettable rock formations of Monument Valley and sunsets in the region. The overall visuals offer a very clear and crisp presentation, pure of color and with only a hint of grain to respect the original source material.
Best extras: As expected from any Criterion release, “Thelma and Louise” get a well-deserved supply of bonus content, some new but most culled from previous releases.
Viewers first get a never-seen-before 2022, 22-minute interview of Mr. Scott conducted by film critic Scott Foundas.
The director focuses on his early career professing to be a die-hard camera operator, mentioning his work with famed documentarians and the BBC, and then offering memories of “Thelma and Louise” as well as his love of American cinema.
The interview is then reinforced with the chance to watch his first short film from 1965 titled “Boy and Bicycle” and one of his many commercials, the 1977 “Ploughman” (an ad for Guinness beer).
Also, the writer of the Academy Award-winning screenplay Callie Khouri looks back for 20 minutes in a solo segment from this year.
She talks about crafting the characters and story and the overall production touching on its influences and Ms. Khouri even remembers such nuggets as providing a mix tape to key cast and crew to fully embrace her spirit of the film.
The 4K disc also offers a pair of mandatory and vintage optional commentary tracks. One with Mr. Scott recorded for the DVD release in 1996 delivers a fair number of details on the production, but an even better and more entertaining track offers Ms. Sarandon, Ms. Davis and Ms. Khouri recorded in 2001.
The three women, especially Ms. Davis, very much enjoy revisiting the outlaw epic as she mentions watching the film many times, and often adding details between the laughs and memories.
Next, move to a second Blu-ray disc to find an in-depth, three-part, hourlong documentary from 2001 made for the film’s 10th anniversary.
The documentary does a well-rounded job of covering the story, cast, productions, and the film’s reception and ultimate legacy featuring words by nearly every key cast and crew member including Mr. Scott, Ms. Khouri, Ms. Davis, Mr. Pitt, Mr. McDonald, Mr. Madsen, producer Mimi Polk Gitlin and composer Hans Zimmer.
Also on the disc, check out 34 minutes of extended scenes (including an alternate ending with Mr. Scott’s commentary) and 15 minutes of deleted scenes.
The package includes a full-color, 36-page illustrated booklet featuring essays by film critics Jessica Kiang and Rachel Syme and journalist Rebecca Traister, as well as technical details on the restoration.