by David S. Lane

The movie that launched the career of Academy Award® nominee Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk, Fight Club)  comes to DVD and Blu-ray in the new Primal Fear: Hard Evidence Edition on March 10, 2009 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Movie Synopsis:
A high profile slaying becomes the case of an ambitious attorney's career in this legal thriller based on the novel by William Diehl. Richard Gere stars as Martin Vail, a famed defense lawyer who volunteers his services to Aaron Stampler (Norton), a Kentucky teenager charged with the murder of a Chicago archbishop. Vail uncovers evidence that the archbishop was involved in a corrupt land scheme and may have molested young parishioners, and is further complicated by a psychologist´┐Żs diagnosis that Stampler suffers from multiple personality disorder. Now the cynical, opportunistic attorney is faced with a daunting prospect, a client who may actually deserve his best defense.

Primal Fear  was released to theatres in 1996 and originally came to DVD in 1998. However, it was a movie-only edition that solely included its theatrical trailer as a bonus feature. Now in 2009, Paramount's new "Hard Evidence Edition" is being released simultaneously on Blu-ray and standard-defition DVD.

Upon review, the first thing you will notice is the very creative packaging. The disc is housed in a standard plastic case, but that case comes inside a Crime Scene Investigation "evidence" style ziplock bag. It's a very clever packaging design and fits the theme of the movie perfectly!

The DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced format and Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround. Paramount has remastered the 130 minutes of film for this "Hard Evidence Edition". It is a vast improvement over the original release and includes many bonus features (see below).

- A Star Witness: Edward Norton = a brand new interview with Norton and fellow cast members as they reminisce over his role as Aaron Stampler.

- Audio Commentary by director Greg Hoblit, writer Ann Biderman, producer Gary Lucchesi, executive producer Hawk Koch (as Howard W. Koch Jr.) and the casting director Deborah Aquila

- Primal Fear: The Final Verdict = presents a "making-of" package constructed around interviews with the filmmakers.

- The Psychology of Guilt = Judges, psychiatrists, and psychologists discuss the disorder and its relation to the film.

- Original Theatrical Trailer = including other Paramount releases.

The movie is a skillfully-made thriller with a great cast. Overall this new DVD release provides great entertainment and it worth adding to your collection. Check it out, even after thirteen years - you will enjoy the plot twists whether you've seen the movie once or a dozen times!