Welcome to my column dedicated to the appreciation of physical media supplements called: Feature Presentations. The goal of this column is not to say whether a film is good or bad and worth picking up or not—I would like to highlight the discs that go the extra mile and provide film fans with enough tasty tidbits to satisfy even the hungriest of cinephiles. With all that out of the way, today’s article will focus on Rush from the After Dark Neo-Noir Cinema box set from Imprint Films. My review of Rush is part three of my series chronicling each film within the box set.
Memory is a weird thing. Rush came out when I was young, and I don’t recall seeing any promotional material for the film except for one fleeting image. There used to be a drive-in close to where I lived in Southern California. I would hit that place up as often as possible—heck: I don’t recall half the films I saw, but I know I went plenty of times. During one of my drive-in adventures, I remember glimpsing a movie poster for this 1991 crime drama. For whatever reason, the image of seeing it at my local drive-in has stuck with me to this day. And yes, I don’t recall which movie I saw during this time.
Years later, as my taste in film grew, Rush was a film that had been on my must-see radar but, for one reason or another, it never hit my physical media collection until the After Dark box set. And after giving it a view, I’m disappointed in myself that it took me so long to check it out. Dark cop thrillers are my jam, and this fit right up my alley. Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Leigh do outstanding work as undercover narcotics officers who cross the line between cop and addict. If you have yet to see Rush, please make sure to give it a watch!
Moving on to the special features, Imprint Films sat down with Jason Patric for the interview, “Not for Beauty’s Sake.” Patric briefly touches upon how he came to work with director Lili Fini Zanuck and his interactions with the cast. A large majority of Patric’s interview focuses on how he approaches the craft of acting. Your mileage will vary on “Not for Beauty’s Sake,” depending on how you feel about an actor talking about their job. Patric is serious about acting, and “Not for Beauty’s Sake” presents his feelings front and center.
Next up, “Going to Work” is a sit-down with director Lili Fini Zanuck. The interview starts a bit scattered as Zanuck talks about how she was able to get in the position to direct Rush. Once Zanuck gets into the nuts and bolts, the interview picks up steam as she recounts her appreciation of Sidney Lumet, shooting a film as a first-time director, and her status in Hollywood after the movie hit theaters. Zanuck can be a bit scattershot, but I enjoyed what she had to offer and appreciated the honesty throughout “Going to Work.”
“Psychologically True” is a Zoom-conducted chat with the author of the book that Rush is based, Kim Wozencraft. Hearing Wozencraft talk about her time as an undercover officer and how she transferred that experience into a novel adds an extra layer of enjoyability to the disc. Wozencraft traces the book to the Hollywood adaptation and has mostly positive things to say about the feature film adaptation.
“She’s Got An Edge to Her” is a video essay on Rush by Chris O’Neill—told in voiceover over clips of the film: this feature didn’t work for me. O’Neill touches on themes, ideas, and story structures detailed better in other features on the disc. I always advocate for more bonus materials on a disc, but sometimes they miss the mark. “She’s Got An Edge to Her” might appeal to others, but for me, I won’t be revisiting this video essay.
Next is “Filming Rush,” a vintage featurette concocted during the film’s production. As one might expect from a feature of this ilk, more time goes into selling the film. We hear from Jennifer Jason Leigh and Sam Elliott, which is a plus, as they are absent from all other aspects of the disc. Also, hearing from the late Gregg Allman is an additional highlight, especially listening to him talk about trying his hand at acting. This feature also offers glimpses of behind-the-scenes footage, which is always a bonus! Most of what is said are regurgitated across the other extras, but “Filming Rush” is better than your standard EPK. Need another reason to check this out? You get to briefly hear from Eric Clapton about him continually turning down the prospect of scoring the film.
Imprint Films also included not one but two feature-length audio commentaries. The first track features the director, Lili Fini Zanuck, discussing various aspects of her directing debut. As with her interview, “Going to Work,” Zanuck offers honest assessments about the final product and what she feels is done well and not so well. Highlights include Zanuck talking about a regret she filmed during the opening scene, Jason Patric using an actual needle during an injection scene, and how Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” found its way into the feature. Lili Fini Zanuck makes for a compelling listen, and I appreciated how open and honest her comments were over the commentary and interview. And it’s a damn shame Rush remains her only directing credit as of this writing.
The second commentary track features entertainment journalist and author Bryan Reesman. Reesman speaks with a rapid-fire delivery, firing off facts, stories, and other nuggets of information associated with Rush. Early on, Reesman quickly touches upon the actual police history which formed the novel and the film. While quick and brief, it’s nice to have a grasp on the true story. Reesman also talks about Rush being a throwback to the gritty films of the late ’60s and 1970s. He contrasts the storytelling and compares it to the glitzy and slick movies of the 1980s and early ’90s. Reesman sets the pace from the opening moments and never lets up as he weaves tales and facts about the film, Eric Clapton’s contributions, the history, and the actors in the production.
And speaking of Eric Clapton, Imprint Films was kind enough to include his music video for the song, “Tears In Heaven.” Rounding out the supplemental material is the film’s theatrical trailer.
And there you have it! 1991’s Rush spoke to my sensibilities and is a film worth seeking out. I’m excited that Imprint Films chose Rush for inclusion in the After Dark box set and stacking the release with plenty of detailed and in-depth bonus features to satisfy all fans of this film. While I found myself underwhelmed with the films of Mortal Thoughts and Flesh and Bone, this entry changes everything! I highly recommend Rush for those seeking a crime thriller with a dark edge.