Blu-ray Review: Indecent Proposal

June 18, 2009

indecent-proposal-blu-rayI’m not exactly sure why but I get a kick out of reviewing films on Blu-ray I saw in theater 10-15 years earlier. Nostalgia I guess, or perhaps its just fun to see if they’ve aged well with time. I saw Indecent Proposal back during the spring of 1993. I remember the trailer featuring Demi Moore sporting that short bob haircut, wearing the now-famous black cocktail dress and well, being a twenty something year-old male, that was about all the reason I needed.

I also recall some of the controversy surrounding the films plot, most of the outrage was misplaced if not completely disingenuous in my opinion. The idea of being bought and paid for (pivotal to the movies plot) was nothing new, but portraying it onscreen, to this extent was I suppose. Still, much of the outrage rang a little hollow, the premise of ‘Indecent Proposal’ was hardly the most shocking thing ever portrayed onscreen.

Plot: Strip away all the really, really good looking people (copyright Zoolander) and at its core, Indecent Proposal is a story of love, trust and ultimately regret. Take one young, attractive couple, mix in some financial problems, add a dash of aging billionaire playboy looking for love and you get the gist of the film; an indecent proposal indeed. To be quite honest, this once “controversial” film seems tame by today’s standards. But I suppose anything looks tame after a decade plus of Jerry Springer.

In some regards 1993 could be yesterday but in others it might as well be a hundred years ago. The film feels a bit dated but not entirely irrelevant by modern standards. On one hand, the couples win or lose it all together moments still feel endearing but the 1990’esque musical interludes / music video scenes felt decidedly passé. One subject decidedly un-dated however was the recession (at least the one portrayed) in the film. It plays a pivotal role in the dilemma the two main characters find themselves in.

Sound and Image: Indecent Proposal feature’s a workable True HD 5.1 soundtrack that provides nice bass response and average spatial effects for the films genera, but don’t look for active rear channels and or effects that pan channel-to-channel. Well that is unless you like looking for things that aren’t there. While nothing in particular jumped out at me as being “wrong” with the audio track, nothing struck me as particularly remarkable about it either.


The transfer, I’m sad to say, was hardly reference quality. As a mater of fact, it was somewhat disappointing, heavy grain (the ugly kind) appears throughout the film, for clarifications sake we’re talking about the kind of grain that manifests itself as noise rather than the prototypical film grain.

Of course anytime I give such an opinion, keep in mind that I have no insider knowledge as to the condition of the master, the budget or the time frame dedicated to the Blu-ray mastering process. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not an entire loss. Some of the scenes look quite nice and rarely does the video severely detract from the storyline.


One interesting aside with regard to the image quality was the marked difference between daytime and evening scenes, the majority of the offending scenes all occur at nighttime. Most of the daytime scenes however were much easier on the eyes even if the noise and grain were still present, particularly Demi’s scene in the garden wearing that floral dress… sorry mind wandering, back to the review.

Extras: The only real extra on the disc was a commentary with director Adrian Lyne. The commentary meanders through the usual talking points we’re all familiar with and while the track was adequate as commentaries go, it hardly justifies the lack of extra features overall.

Overall: Ultimately Indecent Proposal aims for lofty goals the otherwise implausible story line just cant deliver on. Woody Harrelson hits within striking distance of a tortured soul but the scenario providing the torture was put in motion by his own hand. So in the end, the character is pretty hard to empathize with even if Harrelson does deliver an admiral performance in the process.

Demi Moore, while charming and certainly able to deliver impactful lines, also falls short of the mark in driving the believability of Indecent Proposal home. That said… and given the proceeding lines it may sound hard to believe but I stilled enjoyed the film. All it really took was just treating the film like a stage play with multiple acts, acts that didn’t necessarily have to be coherent or ultimately tell an empathetic story.


Blu-ray: Indecent Proposal
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Video: MPEG-4 1080p
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Studio: Paramount
Theatrical Release Date: April 7, 1993
Blu-ray Release Date: June 9, 2009
Run Time: 116 minutes

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Blu-ray, Reviews