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Kinsey - DVD Review


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</script></div>{/googleAds}Alfred Kinsey was a very controversial scientist in the mid 20th century. But the controversy didn't come from his extensive studies of the non-stinging gall wasp. Rather, it arose from his fierce curiosity as to why our society was so ignorant about such a significant aspect of human existence? Perhaps he was as astonished as I to learn that at one time in our country's short history, Americans were having sex without knowing how babies were conceived. Although it sounds like an issue straight out of the dark ages of medieval Europe, this ignorance was actually a reality in America as late as the 1950s! The same generation that had the intelligence to unlock the mysteries of human DNA, harbored equal blindness so as to teach its teens that babies come from a woman's navel.

Writer/Director Bill Condon brings us Kinsey, a portrait of a man whose scientific research proved to be even more than he himself could comprehend. But as much as Kinsey is a biopic of Alfred C. Kinsey (Liam Neeson), author of 1948's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and the man who exposed America to the fact that people have sex, it is equally an expose of the blind ignorance of a society that not only refused to talk about human sexuality, but also knowingly misinformed its young teens.

Although Condon confronts numerous potent issues, his main emphasis stays focused on two important subjects... the inscrutable Dr. Kinsey, nicknamed "Prock", and the unexpected impact his groundbreaking research would have on a public not yet ready for such delicate subject matter. Condon unfurls the film much in the same way Kinsey performed his research without taking sides and never passing judgment. Just as Kinsey always remained objective towards his interviewees so that he would garner a true and honest assessment, Condon presents to us the complex Kinsey, warts and all. It is left to us, the viewer, to formulate our own opinions.

Condon's Kinsey is an extremely complex and intricate man. He was a husband, a pioneer, a protagonist, a thinker, a teacher, and even a radical. But most importantly he was a scientist who questioned authority. The success of the entire picture rests on the importance that his character is portrayed as an unemotional figure mired in the banality of the life of a scientist that conversely has trouble connecting with the unpredictable emotions and subjectivity of real life. This is a very difficult persona to pull off, so who better to rely on than the seamless and flawless Neeson. The physical similarities aside, his ability to capture all the intricacies of Kinsey's psyche is phenomenal. In a 1950 Alfred Kinsey, I'm reminded of a 1990 Jack Kevorkian. Although their ideas are unquestionably ahead of their time and seem to produce equal amounts of controversy, their studies definitely have enough merit to be looked at with curiosity. In one particularly detestable scene we see Kinsey continue to collect data from an interviewee (smugly played by William Sadler) even after the subject admits to having sex with hundreds of children. It's this ability to maintain the facade of scientific objectivity in the face of contention that makes Alfred Kinsey both an object of disgust and a pillar of respect.

Although the supporting characters never get much of a chance to shine, several performances do stand out: Laura Linney as Kinsey's wife and Peter Sarsgaard as his research assistant lend memorable performances. And John Lithgow makes the most of his limited screen time as Kinsey's preacher/conservative father who evangelizes wholesome values on Sundays yet can't manage the decency to attempt a connection with his son. Lithgow's acting abilities really stand out in one scene when he allows his son to interview him about his sexual history.

As the end credits of Kinsey rolled, I was overcome by a curiously lascivious feeling. As if I had just seen something that wasn't meant for general public consumption. Although I understand and respect the importance of Kinsey's research to the fabric of our society, I'm just glad I didn't have to do it.


DVD

DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1

Subtitles: English; Spanish; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailer; director's commentary; deleted scenes; alternate ending.

* Commentaries:
o With Bill Condon - Writer/Director
* Featurettes:
o "The Kinsey Report: Sex on Film" - 83 mins.
o "Sex Ed: At the Kinsey Institute" - 30 mins.
o "Tendency for Sexual Excitation and Exhibition" - 45-question interactive sex survey.
* Trailer: Original theatrical trailer for Kinsey plus teaser trailer. Also a trailer for What the Bleep do We Know?
* Deleted Scenes - Total of 20 deleted scenes (with optional commentary) that didn't make the final cut.
* Gag Reel - Goofs and bloopers.

Number of discs: 2 disc Special Edition - Keepcase packaging.

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