A solid film that has a pretty ambiguous ending for a studio project.
Okay, the most interesting thing about Rising Sun after all these years is that I am still not sure how much I understand its plot. That said, I find this movie to be a very enjoyable experience, even if there always reaches a point where I don't know what is going on. So here goes...
The backdrop to Rising Sun is a business deal between Microcon, an American electronics company and the Nakamoto Corporation, who are based out of L.A.. One night a woman is found murdered and John Connor (Sean Connery) and Web Smith (Wesley Snipes) are called in to try and figure out what happened. Rather then become a conventional whodunit, this film explores Japanese culture and business while also shining a little bit of a light on America as well. We are taken into this merged business world where eventually it seems like money and power can forgive everything.
Alright, this might be an oversimplification as there is more happening in this movie. There's a whole subplot with the Tom Graham (Harvey Keitel) character, as well as videophile Jingo (Tia Carrere) who actually has a piece of footage that just might make who the killer is in this maze of a case.
No Extras came with this Blu-ray disc release.
1.85:1 - Widescreen. 1080p HD Resolution. There is an ominous darkness that seems to hang over this film; in it's tone and even in the look of the movie. In fact, it's the look of the film that director Philip Kaufman has achieved that plays like another character here. It informs almost every aspect of this movie because there always seems to be something sinister around the corner. At the same time, this movie doesn't play that up. It is its by the book nature that really works well for it because no matter what our main characters keep investigating, however, they have no idea just how big the forces are working against them.
English: DTS HD 5.1. Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0. French: Dolby Digital 5.1. This soundtrack is loud when it needs to be, but in an audio sense this movie seems to be sort of a stretch to come out on Blu-ray disc. It isn't like this movie doesn't sound good, it just doesn't seem to have the audio/video assets that would benefit from being in this format. I have never seen this movie on DVD (I had only screened it in the theater before this), and while I think that it looked and sounded good, I guess I just don't think it needed to enter the next generation realm.
Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes share this front cover which has the Los Angeles skyline behind them, and an image of the sun spread out around that. The back of this Blu-ray cover gives us some more pictures from the film, it offers up a description of what Rising Sun is about, and it also gives users the disc's system specs so they can properly calibrate their machines.
So as you can see I have an affinity for this film. I might not understand Rising Sun completely, but I do respect this movie enough to know where it's coming from. Having never read the Michael Crichton book upon which this film is based, I did some internet research and discovered that there is a decent amount of divergence in the two stories. Part of me has always wanted to read the book because I loved the way this movie feels. Even though it takes place in Los Angeles, that it focuses so heavily on Japanese/American culture and business and practices makes this film seem like it takes place somewhere else. It is as if the story is from another time and the fact that the people in it behave in this way puts them in another place somehow.
The most telling moment for me is the almost Chinatown-type ending that this film has. After all the investigations, after all the evidence is compiled, after a case is made for just who the murderer might be... none of that matters as money and power can in fact make you above the law.
Rising Sun was released July 30, 1993.