Evenhand

Evenhand

Director: Joseph Pierson, Bill Sage, Bill Dawes, Io Tillett Wright

Cast: Joseph Pierson, Bill Sage, Bill Dawes, Io Tillett Wright

     
 

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An intimate and refreshingly personal independent police drama that sadly went neglected during its theatrical run, director Joseph Pierson's Evenhand makes an impressive DVD debut thanks to the folks at Hart Sharp Video. Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the transfer is clean and the colors are well-balanced. Even skin tones and little evidence of

Overview

An intimate and refreshingly personal independent police drama that sadly went neglected during its theatrical run, director Joseph Pierson's Evenhand makes an impressive DVD debut thanks to the folks at Hart Sharp Video. Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the transfer is clean and the colors are well-balanced. Even skin tones and little evidence of edge enhancement make the transfer easy on the eyes and round out a solid visual presentation. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is solid without being overly dynamic, and former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty's score rings through with quirky authority. One might not expect many extras on a DVD for such an obscure film, but a director's commentary track, a deleted scenes vignette, and an interview with Doughty offer entertaining insight on almost every aspect of the production. Though the deleted scenes are indeed entertaining and by no means throwaway bookends, their exclusion from the film seems to have ultimately had a beneficial effect in terms of pacing; still, it's fun to watch stars Bill Dawes and Bill Sage interact in some fun outtakes. The interview with Doughty finds the composer walking the viewer to his apartment, playing samples, and revealing how he became involved in the production. The director's audio commentary is the only problematic aspect of the extra features, and it's not due to lack of information (on the contrary, Pierson offers a wealth of useful information for independent filmmakers), but simply poor audio mixing. Though Pierson's commentary is interesting as he discusses such things as the "false economies" of independent filmmaking, long stretches of silence are unfortunately punctuated by a complete lack of audio on the film soundtrack. Case in point is Pierson's informative input concerning the characters' dialogue. Though it's interesting to hear how the actors were encouraged to improvise, the audio fades to complete silence following Pierson's comments, making it difficult to put his thoughts into perspective. It's also lamentable that certain, seemingly pivotal, scenes are not commented on by the director at all.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
Occupying a peculiar plane somewhere between Super Troopers and Training Day, director Joseph Pierson's compelling exploration of the more monotonous aspects of life as a police officer succeeds on many levels, thanks to a solid screenplay, memorable performances, and a unique approach to life on the beat. Both a revealing and original view of law enforcement, the film captures the sensory-dulling repetition of life as a small-town cop, and balances that with enough humorous moments and wonderful, telling details of character development to draw in viewers without making them consciously realize how much they are beginning to care for the characters. Though Evenhand is certainly by no means what one would refer to as a "comedy", Pierson's frequent use of humor serves well to both endear and disarm viewers, making the more weighty moments all the more effective. If, as stated in the film, people really do hate cops or view them as little more than badge-carrying bullies with a power complex, Mike Jones' smart script effectively conveys that the conflict and emotional baggage brought on by a life in law enforcement can have a hardening effect on even the most caring and devoted "peace officer." While, in some respects, comparative to Training Day, Evenhand goes a step further by offering a cop (masterfully played by Bill Sage) who isn't simply a one-dimensional monster, but a deeply conflicted man who fears caring so much that he has built a near-impenetrable wall of sarcasm and aggressive authority between himself and the public. In the rare instance where Sage's character is forced to act with lethal force, the heavy toll that it takes on him is both unmistakable and devastating. Standing in stark contrast, Bill Dawes' endearing portrayal of the idealistic transfer who gets teamed with Sage's weatherworn cop isn't just a fresh-faced newcomer eager to prove himself, but a conflicted divorcé whose self-doubt threatens to consume both his caring disposition and his entire career. Director Pierson has stated that more shots are fired in the average action scene of the typical police drama than in the entire running time of Evenhand -- in which only 11 shots are fired -- and this, no doubt, has a strong impact of the film's human drama. By focusing not only on the acts of the characters but also on the repercussions that follow, and backing those actions up with endearing, subtle character nuances, Pierson delivers a sadly neglected indie police drama that truly deserves more attention than it received.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/20/2004
UPC:
0829567008522
Original Release:
2002
Rating:
NR
Source:
Virgil Films
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:34:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Director's audio commentary; Deleted scenes; Mike's music: Former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty talks about his Evenhand music

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bill Sage Ted Morning
Bill Dawes Rob Francis
Io Tillett Wright Toby
Irene Pena Carla
Hector Garcia Victor
Lee Stringer David Mather

Technical Credits
Joseph Pierson Director,Producer
Alex Albanese Editor
James Borrego Asst. Director
Fernando Cano Producer
Mike Doughty Songwriter
Jon Glascoe Executive Producer
Joel Goodman Score Composer
Allen Greene Sound/Sound Designer
Susan Jasso Casting
Mike Jones Screenwriter
Gary Ledyard Production Designer
Kim Moarefi Casting
Tim Orr Cinematographer
Yvonne Wilburn Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Officers on Scene [5:26]
2. Can't Be Everybody's Friend [11:57]
3. Getting Adjusted [9:55]
4. Lunch Club [4:23]
5. Fender Lizards [3:28]
6. Police Work Ain't Easy [6:29]
7. Watching Practice [3:19]
8. He's the Devil [2:49]
9. Take These Cuffs Off [9:17]
10. Can't Drive Without a License [4:29]
11. He's Got My Gun [4:10]
12. A Close Encounter [4:09]
13. The Hit & Run [7:48]
14. Beer on Sunday [3:17]
15. The Last Dance [8:38]
16. End Credits [3:22]

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